Monday Musings: Janell Mason

Janell MasonThis Thursday, Janell Mason will be recognized as the Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser by the Association of Arkansas Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.  While she will be recognized primarily for her work with the Ronald McDonald House, she devotes her time to many worthy causes.  One of her focuses each spring is the Sculpture at the River Market show and sale.

Here, in her own words, are some thoughts about her volunteering and her responses to the Nine Monday Musings questions.

I serve on the board of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas. The Ronald McDonald House, located directly across the street from Arkansas Children’s Hospital, is a 28-bedroom home away from home for families whose child is receiving treatment in area hospitals. Families staying there need to be close to the hospital, and are provided with comfortable beds, a hot shower, play space, nightly dinners prepared by community volunteers, and the support of other families in similar situations.  Every day families staying at the House say, “We don’t know what we would do without the Ronald McDonald House.”  Families  stay in the House for an average of 21 days, but some stay overnight while other stay for months while their child receives cancer treatment or a transplant.

I also serve as chair of the Where Hope Has a Home  capital campaign, which is raising funds for  construction of a new House at the corner of MLK and 10th. Of the $8.6 million required to build this 5-story, 35,000 sq. foot home, we need just $600,000 to complete the campaign!  While construction of a new, larger Ronald McDonald House is our ultimate goal, our House and programs are more than just a building. We pride ourselves on providing a home away from home that allows families to be at their child’s side through every step of their healing while allowing them to have a safe, private and, at times, fun place to rest, reflect and comfort one another. The success for us is being able to provide families with what matters most—time with their child.


-My earliest memory was (age and incident)

Very vivid – Go Texan Day. We went downtown to watch the Salt Grass Trail riders parade through town. I was wearing my black cowgirl outfit with white fringe and red cowboy boots. I loved those boots!  Age 3, Houston, TX

-When I was in high school and imagined my adulthood, I thought I would be…

a commercial photographer or journalist. My, how life has different plans for us.

-Star Wars, Star Trek, Battle of the Network Stars, or Dancing with the Stars?  

Star Trek (Live Long and Prosper). Watched it every day after school. I always wanted a tribble.

 -I most identify with the Winnie the Pooh character of…

Christopher Robin

 -The performer I’d drop everything to see is…

Two – Andrea Bocelli and Steve Perry

 -My first paying job was…

University of Houston Bookstore when I was home summer after my freshman year. I stocked shelves and organized. I especially enjoyed the smell of the books in the stock basement; the scent of knowledge.

-A book I think everyone should read is….

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

-My favorite season is…

Fall; it is so colorful in Arkansas!

-We are all geeks (or experts) about something.

My field is Volunteerism.