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Dr. Harriton Charities: An Interview with Lauren Levy

Scott Blender, Staff Writer

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The Harriton Banner was lucky enough to have the opportunity to speak with Student Council President Lauren Levy to find out more about the charities receiving the $35,000 raised from Dr. Harriton this year: the Ronald McDonald House, American Heart Association, and the Lower Merion Scholarship fund.

Each of these charities represented, demonstrated mutual interests among the officers in their aspirations to give back to the community. Dr. Harriton is an annual fundraiser Harriton puts on and always makes a difference in the community through the incredible amounts the show raises.

HB: How were the the three charities receiving the money selected?

LL: The Lower Merion Scholarship fund was selected because it’s a great way to give back to our local community. Families and students within the area who mind not otherwise be able to pay for college benefit from this charity by receiving the necessary funding to attend college- it makes a difference in their lives. The American Heart Association was selected in large part by treasurer Roshni Parikh as an homage to her grandmother, who lost her battle to heart related conditions in 2015. And, finally the Ronald McDonald House was decided upon as our final charity. Since freshman year, I have been regularly volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House, which gives patients and their families receiving treatment at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia a place to stay if they can not afford a hotel. Seeing firsthand what these children go through made it quite easy to decide to donate money to the them.

HB: You mentioned you volunteer for the Ronald McDonald house. Can you tell us a little more about your experiences and what you do as a volunteer?

LL: At the Ronald McDonald house, I am the playroom coordinator. My job is to manage the kids and make sure they are having fun despite undergoing treatment. I allow the kids to take a break from their health situations have fun. Every Thursday, I make a list of activities the children can choose from to engage in. It sometimes involves running around, playing board games, or doing a variety of other activities. Regardless of the activity, my goal is always to make the kids happy and feel like “normal” children. The simple act of organizing activities and interacting with the kids allows me to give back to these children and make a difference in their everyday lives.

HB:  Dr. Harriton also had the opportunity to cook for the children and prepare meals for the families staying at the house. What was this experience like?

LL: This year Student Council decided to actually visit the house and volunteer to cook dinners for the families. All ten contestants came to the house and bought ingredients to cook dinner for that night, which happened to be the same night as the Eagles playoff game. Once we arrived at the house, Vice- President Valentina and I organized stations where the contestants would prepare healthy, allergy-friendly meals for the Ronald McDonald families. Appetizers, entrees, and desserts were made and undoubtedly brought a smile to the faces of those in the house. The contestants also helped construct packaged meals for the families that were unable to attend the dinner, so they had prepared food the next time they ate. Being at the house with the contestants and cooking for the families demonstrated that any way we can give back to those around us can truly make a difference in their lives and overall happiness.

HB: Some of the money raised from Dr. Harriton went towards funding for a new kitchen in the Ronald McDonald house. What improvements or renovations will the kitchen be seeing?

LL: The house is under renovation and is expanding to support 127 families. Previously, it held 45 families, so this increase in size will dramatically help patients in need of housing and medical treatment. Thus, the new kitchen will be large enough to serve the 127 families. The kitchen will be industrial and feature upgraded appliances and furnishings to accommodate the increase in size. The money we raised during the show allowed us to contribute to the upgraded kitchen. Specifically, we helped fund the snack center in the kitchen where healthy and reliable snack options are offered to the children.

HB: Is there anything else you would like the readers to know about the Ronald McDonald House and its goals?

LL: I would like the reader to realize how it can be hard to appreciate how lucky the people in our community are until you witness what other families go through. Volunteering at the house and helping to make a difference for these families allows us to give back to people just like us who are in need of our help. The goal of Dr. Harriton is to give back to the community, and by making a difference for the people at the Ronald McDonald house as well as the American Heart Association and the Lower Merion Scholarship fund, the show is able to fulfill this goal. Make sure to pay it forward: if you can help someone in need, do it.

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Dr. Harriton Charities: An Interview with Lauren Levy