By Sarah Firman
You never know how a chance encounter will point your life in a particular direction….
When the Ronald McDonald House in Saskatoon opened its doors in 1985, my mom thought it would be a great idea to take my younger brother and I on a tour of this amazing new facility. We were wowed by this beautiful home that would accommodate families with sick children. It had baking, VCRs and movies, a pop machine, video games, a back yard play centre, and a huge toy room. I think these were the only things I noticed at the time. The house manager Joyce Brooks was smiling and friendly and warm and I just remember wanting to stay there. So we became volunteers.
My brother and I went once a week to empty the garbage and fill the pop machine. We always got a pop to drink when we were finished. I can only imagine now how we must have been more of a make-work project at the time. But all I remember is Joyce being so happy to see us every week and making us feel like what we were doing at the House was making a big difference. We graduated to bigger housekeeping jobs, to office relief and finally to weekend relief manager. Before you knew it 10 years had gone by and I was leaving Saskatoon and a long term volunteer job with the House.
Another 10 years went by before I was back in a community with a Ronald McDonald House. The pull was still there, and I knew I wanted to reconnect. It had seeped into my soul. Instead of taking on a volunteer role, I was fortunate enough to be hired into a paid position right at the time I was looking to re-enter the workforce after being home with children for many years. My mom had passed away a couple of years before but I felt her support and knew she’d be so proud. Now my own children are learning just what imprint Ronald McDonald House leaves on the hearts of all who enters its doors.