15 Aug The Importance of Play
Children love to play. But for children with serious illnesses, playing can be more difficult because of health limitations. Ronald McDonald House Houston serves families best by allowing kids to be kids, no matter their health situation. That’s why we offer programs and activities that help kids feel a sense of normalcy during such a disruptive time in their lives.
We aim to create spaces that feel like home for our families by providing outdoor playgrounds, indoor play areas, and a sports lounge. We also plan fun family field trips throughout the year to museums and local sports games. For children and siblings staying at our 50 bedroom Holcombe House, we offer an on-site interactive summer camp program.
That’s why when On Point Custom Homes approached us with the crazy idea – to build a custom playhouse for our kiddos and have it craned in – we were thrilled. The new playhouse would be wheelchair-accessible as well, so more of our kids would have access to the new play space. “Ronald McDonald House becomes a home away from home for so many of the residents here, so we wanted to do something that made being at the Ronald McDonald House a little more fun. Many of our On Point employees are parents, so taking care of families and making children happy is very personal to us. This playhouse was a way to make a kid’s day a little brighter when they are away from their home,” John Leggett, founder and CEO of On Point.
For Heather McCord, Mom to energetic 3½ year old, Zachary, and seriously ill newborn, Matthew, these play spaces provided relief after long days at the hospital. “Even though Zachary was good all day, it was very hard for him not to be energetic,” Heather explains. “It was so nice to be able to take him ‘home’ so he could burn off energy. The playroom downstairs was great because I could sit down in the dining room and catch up on medical and insurance paperwork for Matthew, while watching Zachary play.”
Mom spent every moment caring for Matthew and Zachary, while Dad continued working in their hometown to provide for the family. “Zachary still talks about his friends there,” says Mom, who shares that they could think of at least 20 different families with whom they connected with during their time at the Holcombe House. This was especially important for Zachary who had a quiet personality, and he learned how to make friends, which was important for his social development.
For their family, the Ronald McDonald House wasn’t simply a place to stay at night. It was a place where Zachary made friends, learned to ride a bike, and could be a child for a few moments each day, allowing Mom to rejuvenate and channel all her energy into caring for little Matthew when he needed it most.
Heather McCord and baby Matthew (left) at the grand opening party for the new playhouse, generously donated by On Point Custom Homes.