December 14, 2016

Since opening in 1984, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Florida has served as a home-away-from-home and source of respite and resources for more than 20,000 adults and children. Originally built as a 6-bedroom facility, they underwent 2 expansions before opening a brand new 26-bedroom House at 5200 Bayou Boulevard in Pensacola, Florida on August 23, 2010.  We visited this House and had a chance to talk with some of the staff and tour this beautiful facility. Many families travel far from home to get treatment for their seriously ill or injured children.

The Ronald McDonald House program provides a “home-away-from-home” for families so they can stay close by their hospitalized child at little or no cost. Their philosophy is simple – nothing else should matter when a family is focused on healing their child – not where they can afford to stay, where they will get their next meal or where they will lay their head at night to rest.  They believe that when a child is hospitalized the love and support of family is as powerful as the strongest medicine prescribed.

Families not staying at the facility overnight can take a break from the hospital through their Respite Care Program and use the common areas of the house (kitchen, courtyard, playground, living and dining areas).

HaitiChildren, long-time partner of The Peace Fund, is a U.S. based non-profit organization providing care and education to abandoned, orphaned and disabled children in Haiti. Since 1994, they have cared for Haiti’s most defenseless children and established a reputation for excellence in their community-based programming. They take abused, abandoned, and disabled children from a vulnerable state of being hurt and broken and provide comprehensive care until they become independent and thriving.  In today’s show we talk with Robin Hamill, HaitiChildren President, about the work being done for these vulnerable children.

There are approximately 400,000 disabled children and young adults in Haiti and only 5% of these children are enrolled in educational or therapy programs. HaitiChildren raises their children in a healthy environment and works to bring about systemic and lasting solutions for this overlooked population. Our skilled staff nurses these children to health and then provides food, shelter, education, and most importantly, a loving environment that builds character and integrity.

Actor Mark Ryan joined The Peace Fund’s Interactive Storytelling Program when he visited a group of Kindergarten to 5th Grade children at Watts Willowbrook Boys & Girls Club in Los Angeles.  The club provides a wide range of programs to the youth they serve.  Mark entertained the kids with his reading of “Aladdin”, providing the children with their own copy of the book to take home.

Mark is known for his work in Black Sails, Robin Hood and of course for his role as Bumblebee in Transformers.  He originated Nasir for the cult British TV series Robin Of Sherwood and has appeared in dozens of films and television series both in the US and UK. He is also an accomplished author and has written for DC Comics and created The Greenwood Tarot for Harper Collins.  Mark also toured the US with original Monty Python member: Eric Idle, performing at Carnegie Hall and the Hollywood Bowl.