I have always had a special place in my heart for helping others and when I became a mom that spot continued to grow, I began to see through the eyes on my children and appreciated their innocence and love for every single person they would see. I can think back to one instance when we were walking past a homeless woman and my mom and I gave her the cash we had on us and my daughter began to ask a lot of questions, I answered them the best I could but continued to think the rest of the day, on how I could help her to better understand the value of helping others in times of need.
It was through a conversation with a friend that it hit me that my daughter was old enough to actually get involved in activities that could help the community. I did my research, and you can find my complete list of ways to get your kids involved, here. We picked the Ronald McDonald House because I have a personal connection with them and felt like that was where we as a family were supposed to go.
Emmalyn loves to cook and bake so this was really fun for her. We arrived about 10 minutes before our shift and found out that they had overbooked their kitchens (yay!!! for having so many volunteers) and asked if we would be willing to bake in one of their suites. These suites are normally reserved for families but this one happened to be free that night. It ended up working out perfectly. We headed upstairs with all of our ingredients and started to unload while we let the oven preheat. We started with rice krispie treats and set them off to the side while we made peanut butter blossoms, we made about 6 dozen of those. Our time was up before we knew it. I was really nervous how my kids would do for three house but they did wonderfully. Baking kept us really busy and when we weren't mixing dough or getting cookies out of the oven we were exploring the Ronald McDonald House and explaining who stays there and why. The suite we were baking in was right next to an amazing stairway funded and designed by the Columbus Blue Jackets. It has a tunnel that even adults can crawl through, hockey sticks everywhere, and some fun stairs with a great view of Children's Hospital. I'm a huge hockey fan, so I was really excited to explore the stairway with my kiddos.
It was a great experience for us and I would encourage anyone who is looking to volunteer with their kiddos to check into the baking opportunities at the Ronald McDonald House. They have day and evening options. You can find the schedule on their website. We were so busy that I didn't get a chance to snap a lot of pictures but here are a few from our first experience. :-)