December Volunteer of the Month – Bridget Leiser
Meet our volunteers! Each month, we highlight stand-out volunteers and how they support families. For December, meet Bridget Leiser, who after nearly a decade of volunteering, is an essential member of our volunteer team.
- How long have you volunteered with RMHC-CNI?
I have been actively involved as a proud volunteer and supporter of RMHC-CNI for over 9 years now!
- Where/how do you typically volunteer, and what do you usually do?
I have been volunteering through the Meals from the Heart Program for the entire 9 years, which has been one of my favorite experiences! I often cook at the Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House near Advocate Children’s Hospital, but I have now been lucky enough to cook meals at all five Houses.I have also had a chance to participate in various giving events and fundraisers through my company, True Group, Inc. Over the years we held fundraising events, collected Wish List items, and served meals for families staying at local Ronald McDonald Houses.
More recently, I have been lucky enough to become a part of the Annual Gala Steering Committee. Getting to partner with this outstanding group of dedicated RMHC-CNI Supporters has been so much fun, and we are extremely excited for the return of this amazing event.
I am also a new member of the Red Shoe Society – another amazing group of individuals dedicated to this great organization that gives back so much!
- Why did you first start volunteering with RMHC-CNI, and what keeps you coming back?
I was first introduced to RMHC-CNI through my company, True Group, Inc. I am extremely lucky to work for an organization like True that is deeply connected to and believes so strongly in the mission of RMHC-CNI. As part of my role with True, I have been able to create various fundraising events to support RMHC-CNI, including our Annual 5K Walk, “True Take-Over Weeks” (where our team cooks a meal at all five Ronald McDonald Houses in one week), Floors for the Families, and various Wish List collection drives, to name a few!What keeps me coming back isn’t just one thing, it is a million little things. It is getting to meet the amazingly strong families staying at the Houses and hearing their stories. It is seeing the dedication and generous hearts of the RMHC-CNI staff in action. It is the smiles you get from young kids when you serve them a little extra dessert. It’s being able to tour the Houses and taking in all the amazing things that RMHC-CNI does for the families they support. It is the pride I feel in being part of a mission that provides a little extra care and comfort to families in need.
- What is your favorite memory or experience from volunteering?
In addition to getting to interact with the families served by RMHC-CNI, I think my favorite memory of volunteering are the “Aha! Moments” I witness whenever a person sees the RMHC-CNI mission in action for the first time. Every time I cook a meal with a first-time volunteer, my favorite part is watching their eyes open as they take in just how much this organization does. Many people are familiar with Ronald McDonald House Charities in general, but to visit a House and take it all in…that is when things really click for people.People are often in awe at how much the Ronald McDonald Houses feel like home, how many services are available to families, and how much volunteer support exists. I love getting to see people experience this mission for the first time, knowing that I am watching them commit to becoming a future volunteer and supporter of RMHC-CNI.
- How have you engaged others in supporting RMHC-CNI?
I am lucky to work for a company that believes as strongly in supporting RMHC-CNI as I do, so I have had ample opportunity to introduce my colleagues and to encourage them to volunteer. One of my very favorite parts of volunteering is the opportunity to invite others to join me and support RMHC-CNI.I have also engaged family and friends in supporting RMHC-CNI through Meals from the Heart, collecting Wish List items, and making donations.
- What does it mean to you to donate your time to our organization?
To me, it means everything to be able to give back to an organization like RMHC-CNI that does so much for those in need. I have been very fortunate in my life and am beyond grateful to be able to give back. I genuinely enjoy every moment spent supporting this organization because I know I am playing a small role in a much larger effort of giving back. I appreciate the variety of ways RMHC-CNI allows you to give back – whether cooking a meal, collecting pop tabs, or making a donation – everything adds up to an amazing goal. I look forward to continuing my support of RMHC-CNI and introducing as many people as possible to this outstanding organization.
Thank you Bridget for your dedication to helping families get better together!