Over the last several years we’ve developed big love for the Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio. You might not know this, but for each project completed at Pixel Park we donate a night’s stay for a family at RMHC. If you’re reading this and we’ve worked together, chances are it’s because of you that we’re able to do so.
We volunteer our time there too, and oh boy do each of us very diligently collect Pop Tabs for their Pop Tab Collection program. It’s a place that means a lot to us, and we want to invite you to get to know RMHC better. So we talked with Ryan Wilkins of RMHC Central Ohio to give you the scoop!
Tell us a little bit about your individual role at RMHC of Central Ohio.
As the Sr. Director of Communications and Facilities at RMHC, I have the privilege to help tell the story of our organization every day, and help lead the effort to keep our building serving guests. I may be the only Communications/Facilities professional on earth. I am a marketing person by trade, and have a great team of folks who help manage the maintenance of our facility. I’m honored to have been here for nearly 13 years, and truly consider RMHC my second home.
What inspires you at RMHC?
Absolutely, the guests that stay at the Ronald McDonald House. I have never seen people go through more challenges while keeping a positive attitude in my life. People often ask me if it’s hard to work here. My answer is always “Not at all. In fact, it is a very hopeful place to work.” It surprises some people. But the truth is that people are here in community together, working to help their child get the care they need to be as healthy as possible. There is so much joy and encouragement here.
How does creativity play a role at the House, and how does that impact the kids?
Creativity guides everything we do. Whether it is coming up with a new way to serve our families, better processes to serve them, or new campaigns to raise support, we are always pushing ourselves to be creative. When it comes to our marketing efforts, creativity is extremely important. We are really proud of what we’ve been able to create as a team, and are very excited to continue to grow, thanks to partners like Pixel Park!
(Well shucks, thanks Ryan!)
To you, what does the energy feel like at RMHC? How would you describe it?
The energy here is so positive. Full of hope. Full of passion. Our team has been together for a decade, and we are all rooting for one another. We are like a family, working hard every day to support families of seriously ill, hospitalized children.
If you were to describe RMHC as a color, what color would you choose + why?
Bright, bright yellow, because of the hope that we provide, like the mercy of every new sunrise.
Tell us about the Pop Tab Collection Program! (You know we’re all about it.)
The story of the pop tab program is fascinating. Back when pull tabs came off of cans, people would collect them. Over time, it became well known that these tabs were valuable. Someone in Minneapolis had the brilliant idea to ask people to collect them as a fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House. It spread like wildfire. And now, it is one of our most well known fundraisers. People from all over the city collect the pop tabs and bring them down to the Ronald McDonald House. We typically see around $20,000 raised from them each and every year!
What’s something really special about the RMHC that you’d like to share with us? It can be something the House does, or maybe an experience you’ve had.
I would absolutely say the community that happens between guests. People from every area of the world, every race, religion, ethnicity, and socio-economic background come together with one common experience – a childhood illness. They gather around tables in the kitchen and share their hearts with one another. It is a truly special thing to watch. That is the greatest thing we could provide to these families.
Who at RMHC inspires you + why?
So many people inspire me, but the ones that stick out to me are the kids. They are facing unthinkable circumstances, and yet they manage to keep a positive attitude. I am blown away by their resilience and their hope for a better day. I have learned over the past 13 years that any of my troubles pale in comparison to theirs. And if they can be so positive, then so can I. They have changed my life.
Thank you Ryan for your time, your commitment and energy!
Check out our Pop Tabs short film and join us in collecting pop tabs – once you start, you really can’t stop. It’s such an easy way to support the Ronald McDonald House on the daily!