Volunteers recognized for outstanding 2023 service to RMHC of Alabama families

Volunteer Appreciation Event

Thursday, January 11 was International Thank You Day and the perfect time to show gratitude to RMHC of Alabama volunteers.

Volunteers were invited to a special dinner and recognition of service ceremony at Vulcan Park & Museum.

Please join us in congratulating the volunteers who earned special recognition for their service in 2023! Read more about each award winner and view photos of the night’s event on our Flickr.

2023 Volunteer Appreciation

On behalf of RMHC of Alabama staff and guest families, we give heartfelt thanks for each volunteer’s gifts of time and talent! Feeling inspired? Visit our Volunteer Page to learn more about joining our wonderful group of volunteers!

 

Two women wear red t-shirts with the word volunteer on the front

Meals & Activities Group of the Year – Martha Hill & Ann Claire Johnson, “The Baking Ladies”

Affectionately known as The Baking Ladies around the House, this dynamic duo comes in every month on the first Tuesday, bringing with them heaps of ingredients, creativity, and love for our families.

We always look forward to seeing them in the House, smelling the wonderful things they’re baking, and seeing the faces of kiddos when they get to pick a specially made treat.

 

Five women pose for a photo

Alpha Delta Pi Chapter of the Year – Kappa Chapter at Samford University

Also known as ADPi, this social sorority champions the RMHC mission on university campuses across the United States.

We are lucky to have 4 chapters in Alabama supporting our House – Samford University, the University of Alabama, the University of Montevallo, and the University of North Alabama.

We’d like to thank each of your chapters for all the work you’ve put in during 2023 to supporting our guest families.

This year, one chapter truly stood out. They volunteered with empathy and compassion, hosted a creative Chili Cookoff campus fundraiser which raised more than $14,000 for RMHC of Alabama, made Hallopalooza a huge success with fun costumes and their upbeat energy, and supported our families in dozens of other ways.

 

A mom helps her daughter pet an animal assisted therapy dog.

Community Group of the Year – Hand In Paw

Community organizations across Birmingham and throughout the state make an impact on guest families too.

Whether providing Meals & Activities or other family programming, or hosting community events or donation drives, community groups are the true definition of “neighbors helping neighbors.”

One group has been a friend of the House for a long time – even celebrating their 10th year of service in 2023. Families always look forward to their twice-monthly visits, the kids eager to tackle the four-legged companions they bring.

 

A group of people with American Eagle shirts

Corporate Group of the Year – American Eagle

American Eagle has led the way in showing just how impactful corporate giving and volunteering can be. Throughout 2023, this group has done it all, hosting Wish List supply drives, donating $5,000 to our mission, volunteering at the annual RMHCA Golf Classic and Heart of the House Gala, and supporting our Pop Tab Parties.

 

Two women at a gala

Allyson Harris (right) volunteers at Heart of the House Gala with another longtime volunteer, Maranda Pruitt (left).

Outstanding Advocate – Allyson Harris

For staff, seeing volunteers who are incredibly passionate about our mission is always a deeply humbling experience. Meeting volunteers who care so much that they spread the word is even more meaningful.

Allyson Harris has been involved with RMHC of Alabama for around 8 years, and in that time has been a true champion for our families within her communities. She’s always just a phone call away, ready to activate and bring a few friends with her. She’s invaluable at our Red Shoe Run and our Gala. She shares every Facebook post, purchases extra wrapping paper for Ronald’s Workshop just because she saw it on sale, and has encouraged her daughter to become an advocate as well.

 

A man and a woman post for a photo

Special Events Volunteer of the Year – Shane Slaughter

Shane has a played an integral role in making our Signature Events successful in 2023! Each of our signature events – the Red Shoe Run, Golf Classic, and Heart of the House Gala – have a volunteer committee behind the scenes helping staff brainstorm, plan, and execute the big event.

Serving as Co-Chair of the 2023 Red Shoe Run, Shane brought unparalleled enthusiasm to the table and the energy to innovate and improve.

 

Two women volunteer

Hannah (left) and her mom Amber (right) have volunteered together since 2022.

Student Volunteer of the Year – Hannah Harbison

With individuals like Allyson and Shane leading the way outside the Ronald McDonald House, we’re also incredibly lucky to have a core group of individuals who ensure everything inside the House is taken care of.

Many of these folks are students – both college and high school – who balance studying with volunteering. Hannah really stood out! She and her mom began volunteering in October 2022 and have been helping families every other week since.

Last spring, she took the next step and applied to our Student Leadership Council – an organization of high school students from all over the Greater Birmingham area who fundraise, volunteer, promote, and advocate for our mission. She was subsequently elected by her peers to a leadership position within the group, and she leads with kindness and compassion while maintaining her bi-weekly in-House volunteer service.

 

A volunteer helps arts and crafts

New Volunteer of the Year – Christian Herndon

2023 was a fantastic year for new volunteers to join the team, and we saw dozens of new folks coming out to make a difference for our families.

One of these volunteers actually came to us from one of the Atlanta Ronald McDonald Houses, which at least partially explains the ease and speed with which he jumped in and connected with our families.

Hosting the Art Cart every Tuesday, Christian has a heart for making guest children and parents alike feel comfortable and included. He’s always got a silly dance, a fun craft, or a listening ear – whatever that family needs the most, and we’re grateful he helps make the days just a bit brighter for our families.

 

A woman adds an ornament to a Christmas tree

Overall Volunteer of the Year – Cynthia Stewart

Cynthia has made a tremendous impact on RMHCA guest families and staff through her dedicated service. She’s reliably in the House 3 times a week, always with a huge grin, a giving heart, and a helping hand.

She does a little bit of everything – restocking donations, cleaning up around the House, assembling special event materials, and more. It is impossible to quantify her impact, but I will quantify her time: she has dedicated 340 hours of service to the House in 2023 alone.