Casa Ronald Palidoro in Rome
It was an eye-opening experience to be able to visit Casa Ronald Palidoro in Rome. I went with one other student and the director of residence life at JFRC on a Thursday after class. Upon arrival we were greeted and given a tour of the building, which is small but extremely accommodating for the families who use it. We got to do Halloween crafts with the children and their families, and then play with them for a time afterward. I cannot explain the feeling I got from seeing the kids laugh and smile.
Although I barely know Italian and struggled to speak with the children, they did not care and played along anyways. It was amazing that the kids radiated so much joy and happiness, and that they showed off their personalities, even though they were ill and some even had surgeries the next day. I especially connected with a little girl of about five years who shares the same name as me. She was beautiful and playful and she was fascinated with us Americans. It was heartbreaking to say goodbye to her at the end of the night.
I cannot imagine having an ill child, and Ronald McDonald House allows families to be together during difficult times.
During my experience, I was able to witness and take part in the kindness and compassion embodied in the house that love built. I highly encourage all JFRC students to visit Casa Ronald during their time abroad, if given the opportunity. The visit put things into perspective for me and I definitely want to continue my involvement with this organization upon my return to Chicago in the spring.
—Sofia Thompson, JFRC Student, Fall 2015