Service Team makes a difference for tamariki at Ronald McDonald House

Date: 12 Jun 2023

Every second Wednesday, the Dilworth Ronald McDonald House Service Team, Arhan Hāte, Leo Andersen and Sam New, along with Service Co-ordinator, Mrs Hibbert - battle Auckland’s after school traffic and head to Ronald McDonald House (RMH) to volunteer. RMH is located close to Starship Children’s Hospital and provides an incredible service, a home away from home for whānau, while their children are in Starship Hospital.

When the Dilworth team get to the house, their job is to entertain the tamariki and rangatahi who are staying there. Some children are patients, others are siblings - some are there for a short stay and others can be resident for weeks, even months. Ronald McDonald House gives them all a sanctuary away from hospital life and a place to unwind from the stress they are facing. The role of the Dilworth RMH Service Team is to have fun through playing a variety of PE games - board games on a wet day, outside games and Drama when it is fine.

It’s a beautiful evening on the day we visit which means outside games today. The boys start to set up and as they put the gear out, today’s team start to trickle in. We meet Blessing first who comes out to shoot some hoops with Arhan, then triplets Alex, Catherine and Ben join in, followed by Kuki, who is a teenager. They are all incredible kids, starting out a bit shy -  not knowing each other or the Dilworth team – but by the end of the first game, they are clearly loving the drama-based games and bonding with each other.

During the games it was so cool to see how each of the Dilworth RMH Service team interacted with the children in their own way, taking time to show a child how to throw a ball, to share, how to lose a game gracefully (and not to look between your fingers in Grandma’s keys!) - having fun but quietly mentoring throughout.

We talked to the team about how they saw their role as part of this team. Arhan Hāte said  “I spend time with the kids and try to role model things like good behaviour, how to be brave and how to be encouraging”. This was pretty insightful, especially for a Year 9 student, and Arhan mentioned that he drew on his own experience with his younger cousins to help him relate to the younger tamariki and reach them on their level.

Leo Anderson, a Year 11 student, commented that this role was a ‘cool thing to do’ and went on to say “it keeps them (the children) entertained and allows them to be a kid again and not to have to worry”.

Our session ends with a rousing round of Happy Birthday for the triplets, Alex, Ben, and Catherine, who will be six the next day.

Some tamariki will still be here in two weeks when the Dilworth team return to Ronald McDonald House – food for thought.

Dilworth’s Service team made a difference tonight.

 Dilworth’s Service Team

Arhan, Leo and Sam represent the Dilworth Ronald McDonald House service team, an initiative of the Dilworth Service Committee.

The role of the Dilworth Service Committee is to get out and support the community.

See more on the incredible service offered by Ronald McDonald House here.

Dilworth will be proudly supporting RMHC with a fund-raising event early next year.