Event Recap: Children’s Inn at NIH Family Dinner
The Children’s Inn at NIH is a place that exists to make children and families from all over the world more comfortable while the children are going through treatment at the National Institute of Health. It gives these families a place to stay and a place to interact with other families who are going through the same thing as they are, building a community and family away from home.
Every Sunday-Thursday, the Children’s Inn has volunteers who come in to serve dinner to the families who are staying there. SMPS had the opportunity to do this earlier this month and it was an experience to remember. Something as simple as serving dinner for them takes a great burden off of the families and makes their day a little bit easier and their gratitude shows it.
Before dinner, we got to go on a tour of the facility and see all of the different amenities that the Children’s Inn offers to the families who stay there. There are multiple kitchens with personal mini fridges and cabinets for each family, a coffee bar area, multiple lounge areas, a multipurpose room where they typically hold educational events and a drop-off camp during the summer, a game room, a fitness and exercise room, a teen room directed towards the older children who are staying there, and so much more.
This month, our dinner was a fiesta theme and we served the families a build-your-own taco bar. To go along with the theme, we had things on each table to entertain the kids during and after the dinner like plastic maracas, fake mustaches, and a lot of glow sticks. It is great to see the children’s faces light up when they walked in and saw us wearing our glow sticks and fake mustaches to entertain them during the dinner and make us a little more approachable.
This was the second time that I have volunteered for the Children’s Inn dinner and I will definitely be doing it again in the future. Serving dinner and playing with the children is such a small thing to do that makes a huge impact in their life. Even though many of the guests are very far away from their home, the Children’s Inn at NIH gives them not only a place to call home but also does everything possible to make them feel like they are at home.
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