BYLINE: Angelita Faller

A group of senior nursing students from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock volunteered at Ronald McDonald House to honor the late daughter of a fellow nursing student.

Nursing students who are a part of Alpha Delta Nu, the nursing honor society, volunteered at Ronald McDonald House in Little Rock April 24 to honor Kyla Fowler, the late daughter of Sarah Fowler, a UA Little Rock junior nursing major.

Fowler and her family spent more than 160 days in different Ronald McDonald House locations across three states as her daughter received care. After Kyla’s passing last year, Fowler was inspired to give back to the community that supported them by starting a fundraiser to bring awareness and support to the local Ronald McDonald House.

“We have received firsthand and have seen firsthand the impact of Ronald McDonald House,” Fowler said. “Kyla was such a bright and beautiful soul. She never did anything small. We thought the best way to honor that was to give back to the community who gave so much to our family.”

In an expression of solidarity, 13 members of Alpha Delta Nu rallied together to contribute their time and efforts to the Ronald McDonald House. These students include Kandice Doyle, Collin Eggers, Madison Elliot, Sara Foster, Brittany Keisler, Rhonda Ortiz, Valarie Owens, Pearl Pharr, Caitlin Pipkin, Brandon Poole, Amber Sandner, Paige Siegler, and Shelby Stanton. 

Members engaged in tasks to enhance the facilities and support the families staying at Ronald McDonald House. The nursing students diligently cleaned over 80 air filters, ensuring a healthy and comfortable environment for residents. Additionally, members tidied and organized the children’s playrooms, creating welcoming spaces for young patients and their siblings. Several residents spoke with members about what brought them to the Ronald McDonald House, their fears, and their hopes for the future. Alpha Delta Nu offered their time and hearts to be emotional pillars for families in need.

“It was such a wonderful experience to get to spend a few hours helping out at Ronald McDonald House in honor of Kyla Fowler,” said Collin Eggers, nursing student and member of Alpha Delta Nu. “It’s an incredible organization that serves patients and families in such a tangible way during their time of need. It was an honor to get to help out with taking care of the facility and to take some of the cleaning and organizing burden off the staff. Everyone was so welcoming and thankful for the work we did.”

The volunteer efforts of Alpha Delta Nu not only exemplify the core values of the nursing profession but also reflect the strong sense of community within the UA Little Rock School of Nursing. By extending their compassion beyond the classroom, these nursing students demonstrate their dedication to making a positive impact in the lives of others, embodying the mission of both Alpha Delta Nu and the Ronald McDonald House.

“Our hearts are so full,” Fowler said. “This became bigger than we could have ever imagined, and it wouldn’t have been possible without Alpha Delta Nu.”

The Ronald McDonald House Charities is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing a “home away from home” for families with hospitalized children. Founded in 1974, the Ronald McDonald House has become a beacon of hope and comfort for families facing the challenges of pediatric illness or injury. There are over 370 houses worldwide with the Arkansas Chapter serving families from UAMS, Baptist Health, and Arkansas Children’s Hospital since 1981. 

UA Little Rock students completed this volunteer project as their capstone project for their final two nursing courses. Additionally, they are promoting donations for Ronald McDonald House locations in Tennessee and Florida, the other two locations where the Fowler family stayed while Kyla received treatment. 

“As Alpha Delta Nu faculty mentors, we meet with the students initially to welcome them and let them know what it means to be a part of the group,” said Joshua Young, a nursing faculty member who serves as an advisor for Alpha Delta Nu along with Jenny Bridges and Preston Molsbee. “Once we explain the requirements of their capstone project, we encourage the group to choose an initiative that they will find fulfillment in. From there, it is all the work of the Alpha Delta Nu cohort. The impact made on the Fowler family and the Ronald McDonald House was thanks to the sole effort of our students.”