Members of the American Medical Technologists Student Society (AMTSS) on SJVC’s Visalia campus wanted to provide a service to mothers to commemorate Mother’s Day; one that would both help moms in need and provide a learning opportunity for participating Medical Assisting students.
MA instructor, Sujana De Almeida, suggested they cook lunch for families at Valley Children’s Hospital’s Ronald McDonald House in Madera, and follow that service up with a tour of the hospital. The Ronald McDonald House has 18-bedrooms where families can stay if they have a very sick child being treated at the hospital. Families hosted at the house are only required to perform at least one chore each day during their stay in addition to preparing their own meals.
“Our AMTSS members were very excited at the idea of helping moms and wanted to share the responsibilities they had (at the Ronald McDonald House) while their children were in the hospital,” says De Almeida, who helped organize the field trip for May 9th.
Not only did the sixteen AMTSS club students prepare a wonderful spaghetti and salad lunch for fifty people at the House, they also swept, mopped, dusted and cleaned windows before they left.
“It was such a great feeling seeing everyone pitching in – and all for the opportunity for the families there to be able to spend more time with their child,” says MA student Charles Shelley.
Student Yer Vang made a beautifully decorated Mother’s Day card out of a tri-fold board, which was signed by all of the AMTSS club members and given to moms staying at the House.
Jonathan Munoz from the Ronald McDonald House expressed his gratitude in a note to Yer and SJVC’s service club members. “The group members were willing to help around the house in any capacity and it was great to have all their positive energy in our house as well. We left the card up over the Mother Day weekend so our families could read the message,” wrote Jonathan.
After lunch preparation the Club crew went on a tour of Valley Children’s Hospital and got to see first-hand how a hospital devoted to serving children is just a little bit different from the rest.
“All things there are meant for the children,” says MA student Daniel Jackson. “It’s very relaxing with bright colors of art in the ‘kids point o view,’” he says. “It also made me feel that I am a lucky father who has a healthy daughter and son.”
SJVC students were impressed with both the Ronald McDonald House and all it provides to parents who must stay close to their very sick child, and the hospital in the way it surrounds and treats the children in need of their specialized medical services.
“I have to believe that the Ronald McDonald House is just what the parents and families need when they are waiting and wondering about their child’s condition,” says Daniel.
The attitudes of hospital staff and technological capabilities were equally impressive. “Just to see modern medicine working right in front of my eyes, knowing people working in this lab are saving lives; I was so inspired and grateful to be there that day,” says Charles.
Sujana De Almeida emphasizes the level of care provided at Valley Children’s Hospital: “Only very ill children are admitted to this hospital,” says De Almeida. “Our students were really inspired by the nursing staff that shared their knowledge with them and have such compassion.”
Many of the students who left the campus at 8:00 AM that Friday to spend a long day in the service of others, came back more deeply committed to a career in health care – and a life of both professional and personal service.
“I was able to learn many ways that I could volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House,” says Daniel.
Sometimes the more you give, the more you get.