“We can do no great things. We can only do small things with great love.” -Mother Theresa.
Meet our Volunteers of the Month, Sylvia and Lisa. They volunteer at our House every other Sunday and bring so much joy to the families they serve. These sisters give selflessly and have a true passion for Ronald McDonald House. Thank you for all you do for our families and congratulations on becoming Volunteers of the Month!
1.Your name and a little bit about yourself.
My name is Sylvia Echeverria, I have been working for the City of Fresno for 16 years as a secretary. I have two adult children, Emily and Christopher Echeverria. My daughter lives and works in Orange County and my son is in the Air Force. In 2013, my sister Elizabeth Pena came to live with me when our mother passed away. My sister has Down Syndrome and I became her caretaker. She keeps me busy but we enjoy our time together. We go for walks, shopping and on outings to amuse ourselves.
2. How did you start volunteering with our House?
I was talking to my son one day and I was telling him that I needed something to do on weekends. He advised me that I should find a place to do volunteer work because it is important to help others. I searched online looking for a place where I could volunteer along with my sister. I found the Ronald McDonald House website and after talking to Sven, my sister and I took an orientation tour of RMHC and it seemed like a great fit.
3. What type of things have you done while volunteering?
I enjoy coming to RMH every other Sunday. I like working at the front desk, answering phones and providing supplies to guests. I also enjoy vacuuming the big living room, somehow I find it relaxing. I always thought riding a golf cart seemed like fun, but I never had the opportunity to drive one. I came here and I love giving shuttle rides. not only are the short trips fun, but I am glad that the family members don’t have to walk all the way to the hospital. On my trips I have met very quiet people who I am sure have many worries going on. I have also met people that are very talkative and who tell me how much they appreciate all the services RMH is providing them. I have become an expert at finding fingerprints on windows and cleaning them to ensure our House looks presentable to our guests.
4. What is your favorite part of our House?
The whole House is great! It is in a great location. The view from the patio area is wonderful. The little play area in front of the office seems cozy and safe for children to enjoy.
5. What is your favorite part about volunteering at the House?
My favorite thing about volunteering at the Hosue is that I feel needed. A paid job is necessary for paying bills, but volunteering at RMH reminds me that there are many people who are struggling and in need of help. I am happy to be here to assist in any way I can.
6. Tell us something fun about you that we don’t know. Hidden talent, funny story, favorite pastime, etc.
I love the ocean, anytime I can go to the beach, I make sure I get in the water. It doesn’t matter how cold or breezy it is, if there is an ocean, I am getting in. My sister Lisa loves the movie “Jaws”. She watches that movie multiple times a month. When we go to the beach she likes to yell out “Shark, Shark!”, then she laughs when I run out of the water. She says she is not afraid of sharks and she calls me a chicken. However, she is afraid of dogs. So when we went to Carmel Beach last year, I scared her. She yelled “Shark, Shark!” and I yelled “Dog, Dog!:, and she ran way from the dogs at the dog-friendly beach.
Our favorite pastime is walking and shopping. We combine the two activities by going to the Riverpark area and going in and out of every store window shopping. When Lisa is tired of walking she requests we go to Target so she can buy a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Once she has her candy, we are ready to go home.
I have really enjoyed my volunteer work at RMH for the last year. The year went by very quickly. I hope to continue to serve RMH and its families for many years to come. I am thankful to RMH for accepting me along with my sister Lisa and I am thankful to the wonderful staff at RMH. They make this Home a happy place to be for the family gueysts and for volunteer members who come to fill a need and find fulfillment in serving others.