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UNF Leadership Institute and Women’s Tennis support Ronald McDonald House Charities

Womens Tennis player painting for the Be Strong virtual painting event.The University of North Florida has formed a unique partnership with the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Jacksonville (RMHC Jax) through its Taylor Leadership Institute (TLI) to engage University  students in education outreach, leadership and service by mentoring pediatric patients in the local Jacksonville community.

As part of this ongoing partnership, the UNF Women’s Tennis team recently hosted a "Be Strong" virtual Zoom meetup and paint event with a group of RMHC Jax children. The UNF student-athletes highlighted the many strengths of the children through their artwork, which will be displayed in the TLI in Frederick H. Schultz Hall, Building 9, Room 1103, through spring 2021. An auction will take place for the art pieces after being displayed with all proceeds going to support the RMH arts programs. Action News Jax shared the story. 

Dr. Matthew Ohlson hosting the Be Strong virtual painting event, talking with patients via Zoom.“The collaboration between TLI and RHMC Jax has become one of the most meaningful experiences for our students as it exemplifies the importance of leadership as an opportunity to create a positive influence on campus and in the community,” said Dr. Matthew Ohlson, TLI director and newly selected member of the RMH Charities of Jacksonville’s Board of Directors. “Not only are our students putting their leadership skills into practice, they are also making a difference in the life of a child and family that will last for generations.”

Ohlson helped establish the partnership between the TLI, UNF’s CAMP Osprey and Northeast Florida Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Center for Education (NEFSTEM) to bring leadership and learning resources to the children and families of the RMH through the Learn2Lead program. 

In the Learn2Lead program, a select group of UNF students in Ohlson’s Leadership Practicum course serve as leadership mentors at Jacksonville’s RMH once a week. The goal of this partnership is to provide the children and families with encouragement and support during trying times while equipping UNF students with real world leadership and mentoring experience. 

“With every week, the UNF student leadership mentors grow more confident and develop highly creative ways to bring their energy and passion to the mission of RMHC Jax,” said Diane Boyle, RHMC Jax executive director. “Our families benefit in immeasurable ways and eagerly await the return of the UNF students every week. I look forward to continuing this program with enthusiasm and an openness for all that is possible.”