La Cañada High School

Once Upon A Room Helps Make Hospital Stays Bearable

Once Upon A Room is a nonprofit organization that sophomore Siena Dancsecs helped start when she was in 5th grade.

Students involved in Once Upon A Room visit hospitals to decorate the rooms of children who are long term patients. Once Upon A Room regularly visits four hospitals in LA, three of which are LA Children’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Orange County, and Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA. It is a club as well as a STEP class at LCHS.

Over 800 rooms have been decorated by Once Upon A Room, and Siena has decorated around 400. There is a lot of time and planning that goes in to these rooms. Four to five students are taken at a time when they visit hospitals. It takes one week of planning to make sure the rooms will turn out nicely. Installation takes approximately 45 minutes to one hour, and decoration takes about one hour.

On Friday, May 11, the Once Upon A Room team visited Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Sophomore Sarina Mata said that “Seeing these kids in the hospital really inspires me to go back and do as many more rooms as I possibly can!”

“You can tell you are making a difference when the kids see their room for the first time and their faces light up,” commented sophomore Luke Rushing. “I have been a member of Once Upon A Room for about four years (since the organization was created). I am glad to be a part of it for as long as I have been.”

Siena also started the Junior Room Crew, which is an outside version of Once Upon A Room.

“Anyone that wants to be in the Junior Room Crew can join. Being in the Junior Room Crew is a great way to be involved,” Siena said.

Around 60-70 students at LCHS who are members of Once Upon A Room are also members of the Junior Room Crew. The STEP class is run by Mrs. Kenwood and Mr. McFeat. There are around 150 members in LA.

The Junior Room Crew also has branches in Orange County and San Clemente.

You can join the Junior Room Crew if you are five to 18-years-old, but you must be at least 15-years-old in order to go into the hospitals.

Hats off to Siena for starting two wonderful organizations that bring positives changes to so many people.


Photos courtesy of Siena Dancsecs.