Embracing Healing as a Joyous Experience
An Interview with Kymberly Wolff, President & CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Washington, DC (RMHCDC)
RMHCDC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families with a sick child stay together and close to the medical care their child needs at leading local hospitals. RMHCDC programs not only provide access to quality health care; they enable family-centered care, ensuring families are fully supported and actively involved in their child’s care. RMHCDC helps families struggling with problems like how to stay near and support a hospitalized child, how to afford to stay together in another city while a child is undergoing treatment, or even how to get basic medical care in a vulnerable community.
Below, Spur Local speaks with Kymberly Wolff, who joined RMHCDC as President & CEO in November of 2021, bringing more than 25 years of leadership experience in the global and national nonprofit sector. Her experience includes a decade of serving the global nonprofit sector and leading international development teams at Habitat for Humanity International and CARE.
Q: What led you to RMHCDC?
KW: My very first job was working at my local McDonald’s, and I had the pleasure of volunteering at a Ronald McDonald House for ten years before I accepted the incredible opportunity to lead RMHCDC as President & CEO. Informing the innovation and collaboration I bring to my current role is more than 25 years of leadership experience in the global and national nonprofit sector.
I am passionate about increasing access to family-centered healthcare and community program support; and as a mom, I have a special place in my heart for children, so it has truly been a natural and fulfilling fit.
Q: Can you share a little more about RMHCDC’s focus on family-centered care?
KW: Family-centered care is an approach to healthcare that is viewed as critically important in providing health care to children, especially those with serious medical conditions. In the family-centered care of children, the patient’s family members are fully involved with health care providers to make informed decisions about the health care and support services the child and family receive.
The McFadden family have been with us for 330 days and counting. Chloe is eight years old and staying with us while doctors treat her Farber’s disease. Her mom, Zondria, says that Chloe is 1 in 20 in the United States with this ultra-rare disease for which there is no known cure. We have been able to provide her family with the ability to be close to her as she receives treatment at a nearby hospital.
Q: How have you seen things change since RMHCDC was founded?
KW: RMHCDC started in 1980 with a single Ronald McDonald House program in Washington, DC. We have since expanded to add the Ronald McDonald House of Northern Virginia, and other programs to meet the unique needs of the communities we serve.
From 16 guest suites to 56, we continue to grow to better deliver our mission to ease the hardship of childhood illness on families and children being treated at nearby hospitals.
Q: Where do you find meaning and impact in RMHCDC’s work?
KW: We believe in building a global community that finds strength, hope and courage in embracing healing as a joyous experience. It never ceases to amaze me that most of our funding comes from individual donors giving as generously as they can to help lessen the burden and ensure thousands of families a year have the stability and resources they need, when they need it most.
When a child is facing a life-threatening diagnosis, nothing matters more than precious moments with their family. It takes a special person to comfort sick children and their families, and I am so grateful for all those in the DC, Maryland, Virginia area who show up for the families we serve. You may never meet the children and families you help, but they are so grateful for you.
The Yarsiah family wanted us to share, “We are appreciative of the lodging, staffing, and all of the services rendered to families like ours who find themselves going through some of the most trying times and yet have to be focused and strong. Thank you.”
Learn more and give at RMHCDC’s website, or follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. They also have a year-end Share A Night campaign that allows you to help a family stay at Ronald McDonald House while their child receives critical care.