Three Dozen Denver School of Nursing Students Cook for 40 Ronald McDonald House Families

Over three dozen Denver School of Nursing (DSN) students raised money among themselves for food, cooked and then served dinners for over 40 Ronald McDonald House-Denver family residents and staff, said Mike Ruschival, DSN director of student services (

DSN’s Student Nurse Association has committed community outreach and service hours on a regular, ongoing basis for the two Denver-area Ronald McDonald Houses, said DSN student Alex James, community event coordinator for the DSN Student Nurse Association (SNA).

Over the past four years, DSN’s Student Nurse Association has involved over 200 students donating over 500 hours of time to serve meals to nearly 300 families residing at Ronald McDonald House Denver and Aurora.

“For us students, it’s important to be able to provide for the families who are going through such a difficult time with a loved one,” James said.  “It’s an honor to be able to be of service to them.  We saw how it was such a relief for the parents to get away from the hospital floor with their children and just have some time for themselves to relax and have a hot meal. For example, we were able to connect one-on-one with each family, including one who moved to Denver from Choctaw, OK, whose 14-year-old son is being successfully treated with medical marijuana for an extremely rare epileptic encephalopathy, Dravet Syndrome.”

For the past 36 years, Ronald McDonald House® Charities of Denver has offered a loving home away from home to families needing to be near their seriously ill or injured children while they're being treated at metropolitan area hospitals.

In 2016, Ronald McDonald House-Denver opened its new wing to accommodate an additional 44 families, increasing the total number of families accommodated to 73. The Denver and Aurora Ronald McDonald Homes usually are at full capacity.

“The Ronald McDonald House’s mission is to provide a ‘home away from home for families of children being treated at area hospitals and to support community programs that serve the needs of children.’ One of the ways our community helps is to provide family meals. Parents of in-patient children spend their entire day with their child in the hospital, which is isolating and stressful. When families come back to the House in the evening, being served a warm meal and having time to sit and talk to other families is richly rewarding.  I have had families tell me how much they have enjoyed talking to our dinner providers and how nice it is to know someone cares about them,” said Sandra Wiersma, Denver house manager, Ronald McDonald Charities of Denver.

DSN students who participated included: Adrianna Adams, Lauren Bleil, Leah Boisseaux, Kimsey Cornelison, Danielle Cleary, Yenissey Cruz, Bri Essman, Jacklyn Fish, Cecily Fuller, Christine Fisher, Kristen Grivas, Madison Hams, Chelsea Hancy, Brittany Hauben, Nicollette Heman, Lauren Humphrey, Kelly Irish, Alex James, Kayleigh Jaquet, Ally Johnson, Mackenzie Kerr, Michelle Martinez, Anna Maynard, Steph Massano, Caley McManus, Susan Mellanathan, Meaghan Mitchell, Jenn Morgan, Cassandra Rodriguez, Lindsay Robinson, Brittany Rosner, Whitney Rothe, Leela Sennungs, Michela Spandler, Jason Swarringim, Sandra Toussaint and Emily Wilson.

About Denver School of Nursing (DSN)
Denver School of Nursing, 1401 19th St., Denver, is a private, post-secondary college that provides educational programs and training for nursing professionals. The college specializes in offering rigorous curricula, clinical site-based academic programs toward associate and bachelor degrees in nursing and distance-delivered academic programs toward a bachelor degree in nursing. DSN is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), ( (800-621-7440). Its associate and baccalaureate programs are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), 3343 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 850, Atlanta, GA 30326 (404-975-5000). DSN is granted full approval for its associate and bachelors nursing programs by the Colorado State Board of Nursing. National Council of State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA) approval is maintained through the Colorado Department of Higher Education. For more information, call 303-292-0015 or visit