May Volunteer of the Month – Sandra DiPane
Meet our volunteers! Each month, we highlight a stand-out volunteer (or two) and how they support families. For May, meet Sandra DiPane, whose welcoming presence and helpful spirit make a big difference for families.
- How long have you volunteered with RMHC-CNI?
I started volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children’s about a year and a half ago in 2019.
- Where do you usually volunteer, and what do you typically do?
I volunteer once a week at the House near Lurie Children’s. I help with whatever the House, staff, and families need most during my shifts. Before COVID-19 this included doing laundry, restocking the pantry, working at the welcome desks, assisting with grocery and supply deliveries, and many other miscellaneous tasks. Now, I predominately work at the front desks, greeting and assisting families in the House.
- Why did you first start volunteering with RMHC-CNI, and what keeps you coming back?
I regularly walked past the House downtown when I first moved to Chicago. I was still considering applying to volunteer when I met a family that moved into my building. They had just packed up their life and moved to Chicago when their son was diagnosed with leukemia two months earlier. The mother told me how fortunate they were to be able to move to Chicago and be near Lurie Children’s Hospital while their son underwent treatment. This clinched my decision to become a volunteer. What keeps me coming back is seeing the families together and knowing that, as the organization’s mission says, “We exist so families can get better together.” RHMC-CNI takes care of each family’s needs so that they can focus on each other.
- What is your favorite memory or experience from volunteering?
I honestly don’t have one particular or favorite memory because I just enjoy meeting the families and assisting where I can be useful for them. Though, I do especially enjoy the holiday season at the House. It’s very festive with Christmas trees and holiday decorations around the building. In fact, I think there were 13 trees up one year, and I didn’t even mind helping take them all down!
- What does it mean to you to donate your time to RMHC-CNI?
Giving my time to RMHC-CNI is very fulfilling for me. I am able to help those that are in need of assistance, and I think we all need to regularly perform more selfless acts. The COVID-19 pandemic has really shown me that we’re all in the same storm – different boats but same storm. So, I can and should help if another boat is leaking.
- If someone was thinking about becoming a volunteer with our organization, what would you tell them about what they can expect if or when they get involved?
I would tell them to expect to receive an extraordinary amount of appreciation from everyone. Truthfully, it’s a bit startling to have people appreciate your mere presence so much, and it’s also very humbling at the same time.
Thank you Sandra for your outstanding commitment to helping families get better together!