The children’s playroom at the New Haven Ronald McDonald House was uninspired until the team of Pilgrim Furniture City, Ronald McDonald Junior House Council, the Silver Family, Mary DeCroce, and local contractors totally renovated and transformed the ordinary playroom to extraordinary, bringing life into the once typically cluttered playroom. “We were first approached by artist, Mary DeCroce to participate in the renovation of the children’s play area at the Ronald McDonald House,” says Mike Albert, President and Owner of Pilgrim Furniture City in Southington. “We have been looking to extend our outreach program to the Greater New Haven area. This gave us the perfect opportunity,” says Albert. Pilgrim Furniture City has recently begun its own charitable foundation, and the Ronald McDonald House was the next move. “We believe that, as a company, we have the duty to improve the quality of life in our local communities, as well as to our state,” says Albert.
“We at Pilgrim Furniture worked with the Ronald McDonald’s House Junior Council and Merle Silver and family, who take part in the Adopt- A- Room Program, to give this outdated playroom order,” says Albert. This revamped playroom gave the old Victorian Ronald McDonald House a sense of nature, as if the same trees surrounding the house made their way inside. The light green flooring resembling the grass, a corner table with real tree stumps as its legs, the apple tree and bluebird mural, apple knobs on the cabinets, and the bright red plush loveseat provided by Pilgrim Furniture City, give the once chaotic room structure. The ongoing theme of the outdoors makes this room bright, cheery and playful, enticing all kids aged toddlers and up to do some serious playing. The first room to be completely renovated and transformed in the New Haven Ronald McDonald House is now multifunctional filled with books, XBOX, costumes, board games, and toys that allow the kids to travel to a world where they can escape the stress, tears, and fears of illness and act like the young boy or girl they are- laugh, smile, and dream.
The once messy playroom with the primary color, pin-stripe wallpaper; and worn down parquet floor was filled with miscellaneous toys, including beanie babies hanging from the ceiling. “It always looked messy and uninviting,” says Janet Hanscom, Director of Operations at the New Haven Ronald McDonald House. Mary DeCroce, a local freelancer, gave life to the room by painting a mural that brought the nature of the outdoors, indoors. With the combination of apple trees and bluebirds flying among the walls, the Ronald McDonald House wanted the children to feel like they were outside as they approached the playroom. For those kids stuck inside due to their illness or those whose siblings are getting care at nearby hospitals, this room provides a sense of freedom. The “over the rainbow” painting among the many bluebirds flying within the mural gives the message that “dreams are attainable and just keep going,” says DeCroce.
The Ronald McDonald House provides a home away from a home to families with children who are seriously ill that are receiving medical care at hospitals nearby. The program began in 1974, with this simple idea and since then over 10 million families worldwide have benefited from the Ronald McDonald Houses. The Ronald McDonald House offers both the comfort and support so that all members of the family can feel as close to home throughout the worrisome situation. In a perfect world, we all would never have to see the inside of this house, but all 275 houses worldwide bring smiles in light of unfortunate, frightening circumstances.
For the all members of the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House, it is a hard time in ones life, but with the collaboration of all who dedicate themselves in the Ronald McDonald House these families can feel as if they are at home. A welcoming feeling of genuine love and concern hits everyone who enters the New Haven Ronald McDonald House. Although those families staying at the house are there in quite unfortunate circumstances, these families receive such an overwhelming amount of generosity that they walk out with a family much larger than when they arrived. The newly revamped playroom design of “bringing the outdoors indoors,” sparkles to the eye and draws smiles to all families who enter. You can see light beaming into the room, all children, including the parents whose eyes lock in on the flat screen TVs with XBOX, want to kick back and let the games begin!
Thanks to the kindness of Pilgrim City Furniture and all the local businesses who took part in bringing back some life and spunk, the once dull playroom is no more! There is now some meaning for the phrase “Its Playtime!” Just enter the Ronald McDonald playroom “over the rainbow,” that’s filled with apple trees, where bluebirds soar among the sky, and the grass is definitely green and you’ll find yourself in a cheerful place with no rules but to have fun!
If you would like to support the Ronald McDonald House and/or consider becoming a volunteer, please contact Janet Hanscom, Director of House Operations at 203-777-5683 or by email at email@example.com.
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