14 Sep Volunteer Spotlight: Early Morning Shift Helps Couple Make a Difference and Have Fun
Twice a month, John Brothers and Sunny Williams get up early Sunday morning to help clean house. Not their house, our Peachtree-Dunwoody House.
“My husband John and I are morning people and get up early even on weekends,” Williams said. “When we participated in the volunteer training, it was clear there was a need for morning volunteers. Since we are up, we might as well be doing something worthwhile.”
Brothers agrees, “Neither of us likes to sleep in on the weekends so it’s a way to motivate us to get up there in the morning and get the day started.”
Getting the day started means they help to put the House back in order for guests on Monday. Brothers prefers to tending to the teddy bears while Williams tackles the kitchen, particularly the fridge.
“I don’t want to take too much credit. We only come every two weeks, but it’s great to know that we’re helping out these families in need,” Brothers said. “It isn’t a huge time commitment, but it makes a big difference to the House.”
As for the teddy bears? “The kids seem to love the bears and play with them a lot,” Brothers said. “They get somewhat scattered around and dumped in odd piles together. It makes me happy to get them all back into place and looking good.”
The couple got involved when Williams, the 2018 teacher of the year at Dickerson Middle School in Marietta, started looking for activities to involve her students. Her research lead her and Brothers to getting involved themselves, as well as her students.
“When my brother battled cancer several years ago, people reached out to help him, his wife, his children and our parents,” Williams said. “I’ll never forget their kindness in my family’s greatest time of need and I want to pay it forward. Hopefully, those at the Ronald McDonald House will one day be able to pay it forward again.”
As a teacher, Williams loves seeing her students get excited about helping the Charity. Now, other teachers help out too with preparing meals and volunteering with Santa’s Workshop.
“We have had two annual pop-tab drives and travel-size toiletry item drives. We’re excited because we already have our third annual drives on the calendar for this year,” she said. “It’s wonderful to see the next generation learning to do nice things for others and help them learn that being kind doesn’t require huge gestures or lots of money.”
And, lest you think it’s all work and no play, Brothers is determined to get the high score on the Guardians of the Galaxy pinball machine. “The high score is 120,000,000. My high score is 12,385,000. So, I have a ways to go.” However, after Sunday, he’s now at 22 million, so progress.
“The people really are what make the Ronald McDonald House special,” Williams said. “Whether it is a family member staying at the House, an employee, or another volunteer, it is always special to have conversations with them. It is nice to be reminded that as different as we all are from one another, we really are all very similar too.”