Special Stories

The Tale of Teddy at Providence House


cute child with teddy beareProvidence House gave me my best friend, my new teddy. We go everywhere together! When I wake up we shuffle into the little kitchen where I meet my new friends for breakfast before school.

My teddy even waits for me atop my very own bed while I’m at preschool. Mommy gets to go to school here, and sometimes she’s here when I get back! She says I’ll be coming home with her soon, but I don’t mind the stay here. I know basically everyone here now, and the nice ladies tuck Teddy in with me every night. We’re nice and snug and safe.

My favorite part of the day is when Teddy and I get to try yoga. He’s not very balanced; he always topples over. The teachers make it so fun! I’m not sure why they call it yoga; they should call it safari. I get to crawl around and pretend to be an elephant or a lion.

You’d never guess, but Teddy has an eye for art! Whenever I’m making a new drawing he’s there to help me pick the perfect colors. I think that’s why they make it on the fridge. We aren’t much for painting, there’s too much paint on us, Ms. Jenny says. Art day is a perfect kind of messy, but Teddy was too excited…now he has a blue splotch on his ear.

Ms. Jenny said I should be going home in a few days. The last few weeks with the other kids were so fun, but I’m excited to go home. Mommy and I have learned a lot, and with Teddy around I know we can make it through anything.

Grant funds from Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeastern Ohio, Inc. helps fund the mission of Providence House. 

March 18th, 2017|Special Stories|

Reach Out and Read with Neighborhood Family Practice


I can’t believe I’mOpen book in a bright doctor’s office! I’ve spent years hiding in that dark dusty box in little Jimmy’s basement. He stopped reading once he became big Jim, tucked me away.

Yesterday he brought me to the Neighborhood Family Practice (NFP), where I get to see lots of kiddoes again! There is no greater fulfillment for a children’s book than to be read to a child. I’ve been told I am a “classic in two languages.” I just know I get to teach the children and their parents all about different worlds.

I tell the story of the brave Caperucita Roja, Little Red Riding Hood, who overcomes grave dangers, and comes face to face with a wolf. Maybe some do not see the importance of such an unrealistic story…but a book is more than its fancies and frills. I am an entertaining means that drives children’s imagination and strengthens their minds; that’s what it means to read.

A children’s book makes the rigid symbols across the pages come alive in their minds as they form words, sentences, a story. Maybe I can reconnect a child to their family as they read with their kid, as their kid recovers.

Jim said I am perfect for the Reach Out and Read Program here at NFP. I think he’s right. The Neighborhood Family Practice is a community health center that provides affordable primary care to families in the Cleveland area. I can’t think of a better way to add to primary care than nurturing a child’s reading skills, and their relationship with their parents.

Grant funds from Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeastern Ohio, Inc. helps fund the Reach Out and Read program at NFP.

March 18th, 2017|Special Stories|

Youth Challenge’s “Vanzilla”


I am Vanzilla, conqueror of obstacles, masterSpecial needs van side view of transportation, and now one in the fleet of 9 lift-equipped vans in the Youth Challenge Transportation Program!  Youth Challenge, located in Westlake, is where children with physical disabilities enjoy sports and recreation.  The children we serve load me full of their specialized equipment, such as hand-cycles, boccia ramps, and sports wheelchairs, and soon we are on our way to experience their grand and challenging adventures.

Sometimes I feel the stamp of mud from their nature walks and horseback rides, a spritz of water from their water adventures, or a bit of snow from a ski trip as I transport my precious cargo where they need to go next."Vanzilla" rear veiw

Most of all, I love to hear the children laugh with their friends as they face new challenges, learn new skills, and succeed socially and in adapted sports.  When I take them home from their activities, I can sense their joy from the energy they bring.  They are able to experience the world in all possible ways.  Teen volunteers help them participate in sports and recreational activities so our children can experience life to the fullest.

I’m amazed by how much my kids appreciate me, so much so that they designed the sign for me to wear.  They laid down the sign and the kids put paint on the wheels of their wheelchairs and rolled across it. I am proud to wear the mark of their wheels; it has become my cape. It makes me feel like a super hero, for without me they would not be able to travel or live as every child should.

There isn’t a better job for a van like me, transporting children with physical disabilities is my calling. I’m incredibly grateful for all the people involved in placing me with the fleet at Youth Challenge.  My purchase was made possible with grant funds from Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeastern Ohio, Inc. (RMHC-NEO) and is just one more way they are Keeping Families Close.

"Vanzilla" trailer

March 16th, 2017|Special Stories|

Dentist visits can be terrifying the first time


Child smiling with missing teeth and two thumbs upThe first visit to a dentist can be terrifying.  Thankfully for Bobby*, the familiar face of Ronald McDonald® comforted

One afternoon, the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile® visited the Cleveland Christian Home to provide dental services to children.  Bobby had to be brave for his first step to a healthy, smiling mouth and teeth.  As he walked up the steps of the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, he tried his best to hide his anxiety and fears. This is no ordinary dental clinic – this one is on wheels!

The moment Bobby saw Ronald McDonald’s likeness welcoming him at the door, he regained his confidence. The Ronald McDonald Care Mobile dental team made sure Bobby felt safe and secure throughout all of his procedures.  He was thrilled to be able to watch videos during his examination and treatments amidst the brightly colored cartoon figures on the walls.  Bobby could relax, and maintain his enthusiasm during the several visits it took to complete his treatment.

The Ronald McDonald Care Mobile remained Bobby’s source of dental care throughout his treatment.  Bobby’s mother was able to bring him back for treatments whenever the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile visited. Without the services provided by the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile, Bobby’s mom would not have been able to afford his dental care.

Bobby left a more confident kid, no longer afraid of the dentist.  His positive experiences of the caring team of dental professionals has left a lasting impression on Bobby’s outlook about future visits to the dentist.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeastern Ohio, Inc., provides financial support to the Ronald McDonald Houses and to other children’s charities.  Helping support and fund the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile is one way we are keeping families close.   Our mission is to support programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children, and the Ronald McDonald Care Mobile certainly showcases caring for children – not only for their health care needs – but for their well-being beyond the care.

(* not his real name)

March 13th, 2017|Special Stories|