Ronald McDonald Family Room© fosters connection during first holiday seasonPosted on 12/21/21 11:25:am
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The holidays can be a difficult time of year for many, but especially for families supporting a loved one in treatment for mental health and addiction. To help ease these struggles, the Ronald McDonald Family Room, located in the Ladish Co. Foundation Center on Rogers' Oconomowoc campus, is bringing the holiday spirit to families of those in treatment.
"When a loved one is in crisis requiring this level of care, it impacts the entire family," explains Kelly Levenhagen, manager of the Family Room. "Especially over the holidays, our goal is to bring a small sense of normalcy to families who are experiencing a difficult time. We hope they'll look back on their time together while their loved one was in treatment and have positive and happy memories."
Bringing the holiday spirit to Family Room guests
In the Family Room's first holiday season, efforts to bring joy to guests began with Thanksgiving. Making use of the onsite kitchen, families were able to make all the staples of a Thanksgiving dinner – from stuffing to sweet potato casserole, and of course a classic pumpkin pie. The home-like environment of the Family Room provides the ideal environment to not only carry on holiday traditions, but also to strengthen family connections.
"We've received overwhelmingly positive feedback from families who are grateful to have a fun and safe space while they are on campus. When it's time to check out of the Family Room we often hear kids of all ages asking 'When can we come back?' in addition to adults expressing their gratitude in our guest feedback surveys," Kelly says.
Like Thanksgiving, employees and volunteers at the Family Room understand the importance of celebrating the December holidays and have put great effort into making the space as festive as possible.
"Families are always excited when they walk into the Family Room and see the decorations and holiday-themed activities. We know that families have limited time together, so we want to provide them with as many opportunities to connect and have fun as possible. We're so glad the Family Room can provide a warm and welcoming environment for the entire family and support system," says Kelly.
The Family Room is filled with cheerful décor, including a bright and beautiful Christmas tree to set the scene for festive cheer. In the days leading up to Christmas, families have enjoyed classic holiday movies, cookie decorating, and other delicious seasonal treats. Additionally, guests have been enjoying the chance to exercise their imagination by creating holiday cards, ornaments, and other holiday crafts in the creativity room.
How to get involved
To learn more about the Family Room, check out our FAQ and an overview of amenities. Opportunities are also available to volunteer in the Family Room. To learn more, visit the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Eastern Wisconsin website.
Additionally, the Rogers Behavioral Health Foundation accepts donations to support patients and their families during the holidays. Though the donation period for 2021 has passed, efforts will soon begin for 2022. To learn more, visit the Foundation's website.