January Volunteer of the Month – Judy Harazin
Meet our volunteers! Each month, we highlight stand-out volunteers and how they support families. For January, meet Judy Harazin, whose welcoming presence each week makes a big difference for families at the Ronald McDonald Family Room inside Edward Hospital.
- How long have you volunteered with RMHC-CNI?
I started on September 1, 2022, so I’m a relative newcomer to the organization.
- Where do you typically volunteer, and what do you usually do?
I’m a Team Volunteer at the Ronald McDonald Family Room inside Edward Hospital in Naperville. I participate there weekly, so you can always find me in the Family Room on Thursday evenings. That particular location is not very large, but it is still very important for families in the hospital. I volunteer for the evening shift from 5-8 p.m., and when things are quieter, I replenish supplies, sanitize surfaces and take out the trash. Even those smaller tasks are important for the upkeep and appearance of the Family Room. When there are visitors to the space I offer food, snacks and toys, and sometimes I just listen to the parents if they want to talk. Regardless of what I do during any shift I thoroughly enjoy every aspect of my volunteerism.
- Why did you first start volunteering with RMHC-CNI, and what keeps you coming back?
I first learned about the organization because I worked at McDonald’s Corporate in Oak Brook for more than 12 years. In fact, I still remember the article in the employee newsletter announcing the opening of the first Ronald McDonald House in Chicago in 1977! A few employees in my department went to the House and spent time with the families, and I can still picture the image of our employees with the kids in the McDonald’s newsletter. I also had friends who were involved with RMHC, so I’ve been aware of the organization and what they provide for families for a long time. It was that familiarity with RMHC that had me jump at the chance to volunteer when I read about the opportunity to get involved at the Family Room. And now I’m just so happy to be involved, and every member of the RMHC-CNI staff has been so thoughtful and considerate. I’m not sure how you have found so many great employees!
- What is your favorite memory or experience from volunteering?
There isn’t one specific experience that stands out, but I just know that when I leave in the evening, I feel good that I’ve helped others in some small way.
- If someone was thinking about becoming a volunteer with our organization, what would you tell them about getting involved?
I think of the Nike slogan: “Just do it.” It’s rewarding. We’re helping families in many different ways during a difficult time. The families and Edward Hospital nurses really appreciate whatever we can provide. Plus, it’s a nice setting, and I find it to be fun. It provides a really neat feeling to be part of something great! It’s also nice to arrive at the Family Room and see the statue of Ronald McDonald sitting on the bench with his legs crossed – he always seems welcoming and happy to see me!
Thank you, Judy for your contributions to helping families feel at home!