Getting creative with Fran

August 02, 2019
Volunteer has worked in arts and crafts program for 11 years
Fran Richardson

For 11 years and counting, Fran Richardson has volunteered at Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Toronto to help families express their creativity at our weekly arts and crafts program.

Fran began volunteering at our previous House on Gerrard Street after she retired from her job as a nurse at SickKids.

“My daughter worked at RMHC Canada and suggested I volunteer at the House because she knew I missed interacting with kids. I loved it right away.”

Every week, Fran and her long-time volunteer partner, Linda, plan a craft that can be modified for children of all ages. The crafts involve a variety of artistic skills like cutting and pasting, colouring and painting.

“I love seeing the joy on kid’s faces, like when I’m helping a child make a Mother’s Day card and they can’t wait to surprise her, but of course she’s at the other side of the room,” Fran laughs.

Fran has noticed the arts and crafts program is beneficial for caregivers as well.

“Parents usually get involved with the craft, which is a great creative outlet for decompressing. They’ll also talk to me about their situation and I love to listen and give support when I can.”

Over the years, Fran has been a part of many families’ memories and milestones.

“I got to know a two-year-old girl and her mother very well because they came every week. The girl was very shy and wouldn’t talk, but after a couple months, she came out of her shell and started talking. I’d like to think arts and crafts helped her. It’s amazing to watch children like her go through their journey.”

In 2013, Fran was honoured with an Ontario Volunteer Service Award after a RMHC Toronto nomination to celebrate her five years of dedicated service.

“Everyone at RMHC Toronto is supportive and helpful. I feel a part of a team that’s making a positive difference for families.”

Fran and her daughter, Devon Friedman, have taken their support one step further by donating to RMHC Toronto throughout the years. Their generosity has been recognized with the Friedman family tree in our playground.

RMHC Toronto appreciates our long-time volunteers like Fran, whose compassion and commitment creates a warm and familiar environment for the families we serve.

Learn more about volunteering at RMHC Toronto at rmhctoronto.ca/volunteer.