Heart of the House

Posted on June 3, 2015


At the centre of the Calgary Ronald McDonald House, there’s a large office space.  It’s located behind the reception area.  It’s a spacious room with a braided rug and two desks and two wide armchairs.

This central location is our Family Services space.  It’s truly the heart of the House!

When a family is referred to the House, Karen Smith and Chantel Bender, our Family Services Coordinators, are the initial point of contact.  They designate rooms for referrals and provide the instructions to other staff members to facilitate bookings.

For the families in-house, Karen and Chantel are a daily touchpoint.

The families in Ronald McDonald House have travelled far from home to face one of life’s most difficult and worrisome times… the illness of a child.

Karen and Chantel apply ’emotional first-aid’ every day. At the front lines of family care, their work focuses on helping families relieve the extreme stress that comes when a child is in medical treatment. When a family is in need of additional support – financial help or daycare programs –  our Family Services Coordinators seek out community resources and suggest direction and options.

With a listening ear, these two staff provide compassion, validation and advocacy. They welcome families with comforting warmth. They offer hugs and teddy bears.

As one past family shared after a three-month stay, our Family Service Coordinators ‘always seem to know when I need an ear or to be left with my thoughts.’

It takes a dedicated and compassionate spirit to sit in the heart of the House.

Chantel and Karen prefer to work behind the scenes, but they make an extraordinary difference to our families. On Wed Jun 2, Jack FM was in the House to thank Chantel and Karen for the great work they do.

Jack FM introduces their Employee of the Month program like this: “We know you’ve got a ‘rock star” staff member…someone who really goes above and beyond.” Definitely we do! Thanks, Chantel and Karen!

Listen to 96.9 Jack FM Calgary on Thursday June 4 at 7:10 to hear all about it!

Jack FM in Calgary's Ronald McDonald House to celebrate 'Employees of the Month', our Family Services Coordinators, Karen and Chantel.
Jack FM in Calgary’s Ronald McDonald House to celebrate ‘Employees of the Month’, our Family Services Coordinators, Karen and Chantel.

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