By: Blake Scott

What happens if you eat yeast and shoe polish for breakfast?
Every morning you’ll rise and shine!

What make chef’s so mean?
They beat eggs and whip cream!

Did you hear about the race between the lettuce and the tomato?
The lettuce was a-head and the tomato was trying to ketchup!

All of these jokes and many more have appeared on a joke board that my sister, my grandma and I posted at the Ronald McDonald House. When we visit every two weeks, we bring 14 jokes with us. That’s enough for one joke to be posted each day until we come back two weeks later.

This all started about four years ago when we brought bouquets of flowers to the House for Easter. That was when we learned about the volunteer program. Grandma had just retired and I got out of school early every Wednesday, so it sounded like the perfect project for us to share together. Once Brooklyn was old enough to volunteer she started coming with us as well.

Our first experience with the charity was about 8 years before that, when my baby sister Jolie Jean was diagnosed with CDH (congenital diaphragmatic hernia). I was only two at the time and Brooklyn wasn’t even a thought, so neither of us really remembered the stay. I do remember what my mom and grandma have shared with me though, and it was a pretty scary time.

As a volunteer, I’ve gotten to see how tough it is for other families too. At the time we started volunteering, there was a rule that children couldn’t volunteer when the risk of communicable disease was high. I was challenged to think of a way to continue supporting the families even though I couldn’t be there for a few months. That’s when I came up with the idea of starting a joke board, because I think laughter really helps people. It takes their minds off of the fears and uncertainty, and gives them a little happiness when they need it most. I know because of what my family went through and, while a joke won’t solve the problem, a good laugh can at least make the situation more bearable.

We have learned a lot of other things from volunteering too, like hard work, the power of a group effort and the importance of giving back. We’ve also made a lot of friends with the staff and other volunteers, and have heard inspiring stories from the families. It’s been a great way to give back to the organization that provided us with so much support and has also made my connection with my grandmother even stronger. She also wrote a story about our time together here.

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