Everett native, Tessa has been volunteering with the Ronald McDonald House for two years.
"A friend of mine was already involved in cancer and advocacy, and she asked me if I wanted to volunteer with her at the House. I said yes - and that's how we started volunteering on the weekends, doing one shift on a Saturday twice a month."
The Ronald McDonald House in Seattle provides 80 families with a seriously ill child receiving treatment at Seattle Children's Hospital with a home away from home. The House provides a room for families, as well as a pantry, volunteer-led meal service, laundry facilities, and more. Tessa volunteers at the Family Resource Center in the House, where families can check out movies, video games, and video game systems. Through volunteering, she's met many of the families and says that it has been fun to chat with kids who stop by.
"We had a 12 year old boy the other day who came up to the desk, and I think he honestly just wanted to talk. He didn't even check anything out!"
Tessa says she feels volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House is one of the easiest ways to give back locally.
"Honestly, you can give whatever time you have," she says. "I do one shift every two weeks on a Saturday. The drive from Everett is just 30 minutes, so it's not a huge time commitment. There's lots of options for things you can do at the House, depending on your ability to participate."
Her volunteer work has also been extremely rewarding. "Sometimes people think that they have to do some huge thing when they're volunteering," she says. "But it's actually really cool to do a small thing that makes a difference." She notes that volunteering always puts her in a better mood.
Tessa also wants folks in her hometown to know that this is a great place to donate used or new DVDs and XBOX 360 or newer video games.
"It's nice to be able to offer families movies that have just come out, but we don't frequently get donations," she says. "Most families who live at the House stay for more than two months and many of them don't have the time to go out and see a new movie. When we have something new in, like Finding Dory, everyone wants to borrow it!"
By Michelle Scharlock, Ronald McDonald House Communications Director