RMHC Toronto App Wins Top International Award

August 30, 2018
Prize honours work with Flybits Inc. on “Virtual Front Desk” mobile app
Kim Hill Award
Arriving at Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Toronto for the first time can feel a little overwhelming, especially if the big city is new to you.

That’s one of the reasons we created “Virtual Front Desk” last year, a mobile app designed to give families an introduction to the House and neighbourhood and to make them feel at home.
 
And last week, we were named the recipient of the top international award from the global body representing more than 350 RMHC Chapters around the world for creating this app
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RMHC Toronto team at RMHC Global Awards.

 
The prestigious Kim Hill Award recognizes the innovation and impact Virtual Front Desk is having on families at RMHC Toronto. The app, the first of its kind among Ronald McDonald House Charities Chapters worldwide, was developed in partnership with Flybits Inc.
 
Virtual Front Desk serves as an innovative supplement to the face-to-face support and information that families receive at the Front Desk. It includes a calendar of activities at the House, a neighbourhood guide with information and real-time directions to local resources, FAQs about the House, a House floor plan and a staff directory.

Importantly, Virtual Front Desk also includes real-time broadcast messaging capabilities, allowing RMHC Toronto to instantly send text notifications to families about, for example, the evening’s dinner menu or free baseball tickets that are available.
 
Using contextual-based intelligence and targeting, the app also has the ability to send personalized notifications, making it possible to, for example, send a message to a family member as they arrive at the House in the evening to wish them a good night’s rest.
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A few screens on Virtual Front Desk.

“Virtual Front Desk improves how we communicate with the families we support,” said Sally Ginter, RMHC Toronto CEO. “It helps them get the information they need, when they need it, regardless of where they are.
 
“Arriving in Toronto and coming to Ronald McDonald House for the first time, especially after receiving a life-threatening diagnosis for your child, can be overwhelming. Virtual Front Desk helps to ease that journey for families,” added Ginter.
 
"The entire team at Flybits is honoured to have been able to partner with RMHC to help ease the stay for families during this incredibly challenging time in their lives. We are so proud to have contributed in a meaningful way and are thrilled to see the Toronto House receive this amazing global award," said Dr. Hossein Rahnama, CEO of Flybits.
 
“Local RMHC Chapters are investing in groundbreaking initiatives that best support the needs of children and families in their local communities,” said Sheila Musolino, president and CEO of RMHC (Global). “We could not be more proud of the work to expand reach of services, strengthen the resources provided to families or mobilize support for local organizations.  We believe these efforts underscore the vital role that RMHC plays in enabling family-centered care and providing programs that help keep families together when they need it most.”

The app is available for free download on the App Store and Google Play, if you are interested in checking it out. Just remember though, that if you enable the notifications, you have to be living at the House to be eligible for any free tickets you read about or to enjoy one of our wonderful Home for Dinners. Our families are special!

The Kim Hill Award honours the daughter of Fred and Fran Hill, who inspired the creation of the world’s first Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia in 1974. The award is presented at RMHC’s global conference once every two years. RMHC Toronto is the first Canadian Chapter to receive it.