The University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service recently surpassed the milestone of 1,000 field service projects. Clinton School students have combined to produce 367,535 hours – or more than 42 years – of civic engagement. Throughout the year, the school will take a look back at some of the long-term impacts its field service projects have created in Arkansas, across the United States, and around the world.
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas has unveiled its new Family Room in the NICU unit at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
The Family Room is now one of three programs operated by Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas (RMHCA) and will serve approximately 1,000 families each year, doubling the impact of RMHCA programs. Through the Family Room program, families with babies in the NICU can remain present and involved in their child’s hospitalization and treatment, while helping them in the healing process. This is the first Ronald McDonald Family Room in central Arkansas.
Two teams of first-year Clinton School students assisted with the research and creation of the room, adding another powerful long-term impact to the school's field service program.
In 2017-18, a Practicum team comprised of four first-year students from the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service – Julie Joy (Portland, Maine), Nicole Kanu (Little Rock, Ark.), Madhav Shroff (Hot Springs, Ark.), and Patrick McBride (Washington, D.C.) – worked on an expansion study to identify area hospital needs, current capacity for Ronald McDonald House to help, and next steps for growth of its programs. Through their efforts, RMHCA was made aware of unmet needs at area hospitals, but particularly at UAMS. A partnership was formed that started with a meal delivery program from RMHCA and quickly expanded into a project to help in a larger way, by building a Ronald McDonald Family Room at UAMS.
“Public service, I think, is this abstract concept,” said Madhav Shroff (’19), a Clinton School graduate who was part of the 2017-18 team. “When you work in the trenches, you don’t see the fruits of what you’re actually doing. Having done this two years ago, it’s just nice to see something come to fruition out of a project that we have done. It’s rewarding in that don’t always get to see the fruits of your labor.”
A second team of students during the 2018-19 academic year – Christian Scott (Mountain View, Ark.), Corinne Kwapis (Fairview Heights, Ill.), Alex Tingquist (Little Rock, Ark.), Zach Baumgarten (Monticello, Ark.) – researched RMHCA's donor motivations. The team distributed hundreds of surveys to current and past donors that covered a wide range of giving levels. As the responses came in, the team identified trends in what motivates the organization’s donor base. Specifically, the team noticed that the organization’s mission of “enhancing the lives of children and their families by supporting programs that directly improve the health of children” as a leading motivator.
"When we first looked at the project, we interviewed families who stayed at UAMS in the NICU who needed a place like this, a place of respite and hope,” said RMHCA Executive Director Janell Mason at the Family Room’s grand opening. “They have been here today and seen the space and the things that they’ve said are so inspiring. Of course, they were excited that the Clinton School was a part of this project.”
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