November Volunteers of the Month – Junior Board of Northbrook

Meet our volunteers! Each month, we highlight stand-out volunteers and how they support families. For November, meet the Junior Board of Northbrook, who have been providing delicious meals to guest families at our House near Comer Children’s for 17 years.

    1. How long have you been involved with RMHC-CNI?
      The Junior Board of Northbrook (JBN) was founded in 2004 by three “boy moms” who wanted to promote a lifelong commitment to volunteerism and philanthropy for their sons. So, they established this group focused on serving one worthy organization – Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana (RMHC-CNI). Every year, 25 boys between seventh and twelfth grades serve as JBN members. When the seniors graduate, new seventh grade members are recruited to join the board the following year. Since being established in 2004, 85 boys have been involved with JBN!
    2. How does your group support RMHC-CNI?
      The group provides regular meals for the Ronald McDonald House near UChicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital. JBN members work in small teams to cook meals for families throughout the year, and volunteers love this opportunity because they often get to interact directly with those they serve. Plus, the experienced, older members gain valuable leadership experience by menu-planning, delegating tasks, and coordinating the meal groups.

      Though the pandemic changed the opportunities for on-site involvement at the House, that didn’t stop JBN! Instead of volunteering in person, the group found ways to feed families by raising funds to support the meal program and by donating restaurant meals. In addition to supporting Meals from the Heart, the board members also participate in one or two fundraisers each year to support their service work.

    3. What are your favorite memories or experiences from volunteering?
      JBN members love the work they do to support RMHC-CNI, and here are some of their unique, favorite memories:

      Lucas: “My favorite memory was eating with one of the families at the House. That sticks with me because the family talked about how they traveled all the way from New York to see a specialist who could help their child. I just thought it was amazing how the House could support families from so many different places.”

      Massimo: “One of my favorite memories was making heart-shaped pizzas at the House one Valentine’s Day. Those pizzas brought a bunch of smiles and happiness to the House that day!”Mason: “I joined the Junior Board of Northbrook when I was going into seventh grade, and I was really impacted by the House tour that I got on my first visit. Seeing the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of how the families are supported and meeting some appreciative guests hooked me for serving in the future.”

      Kyle: “One of my favorite memories was in February 2019 when the guest families were staying in a hotel due to a broken pipe and substantial water damage at the House. We couldn’t use the kitchen while the House was under construction, but we still wanted to help. So, we got creative and made individual, hearty snack bags with lots of wholesome (but tasty!) foods.”

      Nick: “It feels so good to help. It is a rare opportunity to be able to see the impact of your time and service, so helping RMHC-CNI makes you want to do more.”

Thank you Junior Board members for your dedication to helping families get better together!

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