Posted by Eric Garton on Feb 03, 2020
Welcome to the Elkhart Rotary Club Meeting on February 3, 2020; Today we welcomed Kierstin Miller, President and CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Michiana. 

President Candy Yoder opened the meeting and introduced Shawn DeBaar who shared positive words, led the Pledge, and Four-Way Test to start the meeting.

Welcome table volunteers were Nick Corpe, Bill Rieth, and Rob LaRoy, who also introduced today's guests including: Visiting Rotarians Ty Wu from Downtown LaCrosse Club, WI, Doug Grant from the Syracuse-Wawasee Rotary Club, and Ryan Demoss, South Bend Club. Guests of Rotarians were James Stevens (Deborah Domine), Greg and Della Fink (Thad Naquin), and Jenna Ellis and Mackenzie Murphy of CAPS (Melinda Konrath-Fielding). Welcome to ALL, we hope you can all join us again some other time!

Announcements and continuing club reminders for February 3:

  • Doug Risser reminded the club about the Every Rotarian, Every Year (EREY) initiative, which supports the Annual Fund, making it possible for Rotary clubs to transform lives worldwide. Your generous support funds local and international projects that advance The Rotary Foundation’s mission. And 50% of your donation stays right here in our District! All contributions to the international fund are spent on quality international Rotary projects. The Every Rotarian, Every Year (EREY) initiative encourages all Rotary club members in a club to contribute (a club average of $100 per member) every year to help us reach our goal to support the Rotary Foundation financially each year. 
  • Marketing Committee Chair Erin Wagler had several quick announcements:
    • The committee is looking for events and volunteer opportunities among our NPO members! Are you a Rotarian who works at a not for profit who needs volunteers or help promoting your events? Let Erin know, the committee will help spread the word through our Rotary Facebook page.
    • The committee is also looking for help managing the club's Facebook page (and seeks others to help out with the Marketing Committee); have some skills and interested in helping?... let Erin know!
  • Moe Jacobson announced that he's participating in a Rotary Exchange, and our club is seeking host families and ideas for activities for the visiting Brazillians who'll be arriving around June 10 for their visit; stay-tuned for more details.
  • Candy announced our Rotary District is looking for nominations for District Governor Nominee Designate - - nominees must have been a former club president.
  • Grant Committee Chair Peter Norton announced this spring's COMMUNITY GRANT APPLICATIONS are now available on our website and will be accepted through March 13. Please share this with not-for-profit leaders you know. This is what we raise funds through weekly fines for!
  • Meeting Reminders: 
    • Rotary Executive Committee, Friday, Feb 7 at 7 a.m. at Baker's Nook
    • Rotary Board Meeting, Friday, Feb 14 at 7 a.m. at Perkins, Elkhart.
    • An upcoming Caring Committee Meeting on Monday, March 16 (third Monday) at 11:15 at the Matterhorn before our Club Meeting.
  • CONTINUING REMINDER: A message from Doug Risser, if you are interested in a Rotary International and Peace Corps Partnership trip that will be occurring April 18-26, please contact Doug directly.
Today's Sergeant was Peter Norton, who utilized yesterday's big football game to lead the group in some trivia - -wrong answers paid up! Kudos to club members who were pretty sharp in answering and cheers to everyone who pitched in their $5 to help us raise some funds! Nice nice job of FUNdraising, everyone! Rotary fun fines are collected weekly and are pooled into a fund throughout the year. In the spring more than $10,000 is distributed as grants to not-for-profit organizations around our county. Thanks, All, for your contributions!

Today's speaker was introduced by Eric Garton who welcomed Kierstin Miller, President and CEO of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Michiana. 
RMHC of Michiana's Mission and Vision: 
We provide a home-away-from-home for families with seriously ill and injured children. We believe that every child deserves a safe and supportive place to grow. Ronald McDonald House Charities of Michiana creates, finds, and supports programs that directly improve the well-being of children and their families to live happier, healthier lives. Hand in Hand with this mission is our vision: “Create smiles and comfort.
Positively impact the lives of children and their families in our community.”
Serving Michiana Families since 2002:
In 2002, under the guidance of our founder Kathleen Sparks, the Ronald McDonald House Family Room was opened inside of Memorial Hospital. The Family Room contained a living room, kitchen, a small library, washer and dryer, 3 overnight bedrooms and 2 restrooms with shower facilities – all within a 1500 sq. ft. space. Between 2002 and 2017, the Family Room helped thousands of families remain close to their child. It became evident early-on that additional space would greatly benefit families as there was commonly a waiting list of more than 6 families a day all hoping to get into an overnight room in order to remain close to their children.
In February of 2017, RMHC of Michiana opened their brand new House inside the Skyway building connected to Memorial Hospital. With more than 15,000 sq. ft. of space, the new House offers 20 overnight bedroom suites, multiple laundry facilities, living rooms, dining rooms, a large open kitchen, pantry, community room and children’s play room. In the new House, entire families can find rest and refreshment together while still remaining just steps away from their child’s hospital bed. Thanks to the vision and leadership of the Board of Directors, the staff and volunteers, and our partnership with Beacon Children’s Hospital, this beautiful new home will give thousands of families precious extra time with their children to help them heal and rest in the comfort of knowing family will be by their side.

A Place to Call Home
The new 15,000 sq. ft Ronald McDonald House is a beautiful space that is meeting the needs of more families than ever before. Whether a family needs the support of Day Services or Overnight accommodations, RMHC of Michiana offers the following amenities for all of our guests:
  • 20 Overnight Guest Suites
  • 2 Fully Stocked laundry facilities
  • Fully Stocked restrooms and showers for day guests
  • A hot meal prepared and served each evening at 6 p.m.
  • Multiple living rooms with comfortable couches, TVs and DVD players
  • Children’s playroom for siblings and outpatients
  • The Coffee Cart, which visits Beacon Children’s Hospital daily to offer refreshments and comfort to patients and families
  • The Hospitality Kiosk at Elkhart General Hospital is available for families of Pediatric patients
Additional Programs:
  • EASTER EGG HUNT - Current and past patients and families are welcomed to the house to meet the Easter Bunny, play games, make crafts, decorate cookies, and hunt for hidden Easter Eggs! The eggs are filled with tickets that may be traded in for treats or toys, depending on the child’s needs or any dietary restrictions. The Easter Egg Hunt is a “Hopping good time” for the whole family!
  • SPOOK-TACULAR HALLOWEEN - We open the house up to patients to come for a “Spook-tacular” Halloween party. Everyone gets to wear their favorite costumes and is welcome to participate in the different Halloween themed stations. 
  • NORTH POLE - For one week leading up to Christmas, we fill a room from floor to ceiling with brand new toys for children of all ages. Parents are invited to come to the house and pick out gifts for each of their children. Our very own North Pole helpers wrap each and every present so it can be delivered to the hospital room. It is an incredible week of joy and generosity.
Did you know?...
One-quarter of all RMHC stays are from Elkhart County Residents.
About Kierstin Miller
Kierstin Miller is the president and chief executive officer of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Michiana. It oversees the Ronald McDonald House, a home-away-from home for families of seriously ill or injured children. Miller most recently served as assistant director of prospect management at the University of Notre Dame, serving as a consultant to fundraisers. She previously worked as a senior manager for Ruffalo Noel Levitz in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Miller has a Bachelor of Science in Public Health degree from Indiana University with a concentration in health administration. She serves as a volunteer for Young Professionals Against Poverty and Young Leaders of Notre Dame.
Thanks, Kierstin, for a very informative presentation about Five Star Life! If you'd like more information or interested in getting involved at RMHC of Michiana, visit their website.
About Rotary:
Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, community leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and act to create lasting change – across the globe, in our local communities, and in ourselves. The Elkhart Rotary Club was founded in 1917 and serves its community through volunteerism, providing grants to not-for-profit organizations, sponsoring, and participating in service projects such as ringing bells for the Salvation Army, twice-yearly roadside trash collection, and are the originators and continuing supporters of Wellfield Botanic Gardens. Elkhart Rotary Club’s membership consists of approximately 150 dedicated individuals from various professional backgrounds and diverse interests. Membership in the Elkhart Rotary Club is by invitation. We welcome guests to attend any of our meetings and hear from our great lineup of weekly presenters.
For more information on the Elkhart Rotary Club, visit or email Like and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook/ElkhartRotaryClub to stay current on meetings, upcoming events or speakers, and initiatives in the community.
Upcoming Meetings and Programs:
Join us for our next meeting:
All meetings are at noon on Mondays at the Matterhorn Banquet and Conference Center, 2041 Cassopolis St. in Elkhart IN, 46514. In months that include a FIFTH Monday, the Elkhart Rotary Club holds an alternative meeting or activity.