June 28, 2018 by Allison Tardif
Ronald McDonald House DC AV installation
Jack Mayhugh and the team from AVTek Staffing install the
new entertainment center at Ronald McDonald House DC

Recently, AVIXA’s Membership Services Program Manager Aron Abrams visited the Ronald McDonald House in Washington, DC where he saw a great example of how AV professionals can give back in our communities. 

A few months ago, the members of the AVIXA Independent Technical Services (ITS) Council donated equipment and time to upgrading the entertainment area of the Ronald McDonald house in DC. Ronald McDonald House Charities provide the families of hospitalized children with a place to stay close to the hospital at little or no cost.  Entertainment and recreation activities in the houses are an important part of the mission because it helps these families who are dealing with very difficult situations to escape for a short time and relax.

To upgrade the entertainment area, an old 35-inch TV was replaced with a 55-inch interactive touch screen monitor with a sound bar and subwoofer. The new monitor and sound bar were mounted with all the inputs routed through an HDMI switcher for simplicity of use.  Content can be streamed from the family’s choice of a local cable provider, a Blu-ray DVD player, or any of the popular streaming services such as Amazon Prime or Netflix via an Amazon Fire Stick.  They also have a brand-new Microsoft Xbox to play their favorite games, and a live feed from the San Diego Zoo.  In addition to providing entertainment benefits to the families, the system was built to allow the Ronald McDonald House staff to input a laptop and use the new system for meetings.

Ronald McDonald House Install
The new entertainment center at the Ronald
McDonald House DC

Julie Lowe, Director of Marketing and Community Engagement at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of DC, said “Families love the new system! They are gathering more in our living room space, which allows them to spend time with other families that are going through similar situations …  In addition to the comforts of home for the families, the new system will allow staff to host interoffice meetings with our Ronald McDonald House of Northern Virginia due to the new AV capabilities.”

Jack Mayhugh, Chair of the ITS Council and partner at AVTek Staffing said “It’s a great feeling to know you took part in helping these kids and their families experience a little more out of their stay at a Ronald McDonald House … to have the opportunity to make that experience more tolerable and normal as possible is a great feeling.”  Mayhugh also made the point there is plenty of opportunity for AV companies to give back, “It seems like such a natural fit when you walk around one of the shows in Las Vegas or Orlando … all this equipment … you wonder, where does this stuff end up on Saturday? Now when I walk around I will be thinking, I wonder if anyone wants to donate some of this stuff to help out families that are dealing with the unthinkable?”

The council’s next project will be the Ronald McDonald House in San Diego. Learn more about the ITS Council and get involved.

About Allison Tardif

Allison Tardif serves as Industry Advocacy Manager at AVIXA, the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association, where she leads AVIXA’s efforts and initiatives to raise awareness of the power of AV in dynamic markets such as higher education, design, transportation, sports, and hospitality.