71° Fort Worth
All TCU. All the time.

TCU 360

TCU 360

All TCU. All the time.

TCU 360

Delaney Vega, a TCU journalism junior, is painting a school in Belize. (Courtesy of Teja Sieber)
“The week of joy”: Christ Chapel College’s annual trip to Belize
By Ella Schamberger, Staff Writer
Published Apr 23, 2024
174 students, a record number, went on this year's trip.

‘Once Upon a Room’ makes students and patients smile

Students+gathered+to+make+chemo+bags+for+children.+%28Elle+Wood%2FStaff+Writer%29%0A
Elle Wood
Students gathered to make chemo bags for children. (Elle Wood/Staff Writer)

What started as a gesture of friendship has developed into a nationwide program that decorates the hospital rooms of children who stay for a prolonged period of time.

Senior communication studies major Siena Dancsecs was 12 years old when she founded a charity that decorates hospital rooms for those in need in Los Angeles, California. 

Dancsecs said her driving force for starting Once Upon a Room was her friend Josie, a conjoined twin. Siena would decorate Josie’s room throughout her long hospital stays.

The goal of Once Upon a Room is to “help as many kids as we can, while also empowering TCU students to give back to their community by giving them the opportunity to give back to kids in need,” Dancsecs said.

Members visit children at the hospital and decorate rooms for patients who will be there for an extended stay. Students are not just decorating; they are getting to know patients in a special way during a difficult time. Once Upon a Room directly impacts patients, families and hospital staff and hopes to bring joy to their lives.

Dancsecs wanted to expand the organization’s reach out-of-state, so she partnered with TCU in 2018 to start a student-run chapter that serves Cook Children’s Medical Center.

“One of my favorite memories was when we traveled to Shreveport, Louisiana, to decorate a room for a young boy who was in need,” Ariana Sanchez, a senior nursing major, said. “His mother was crying while thanking us for decorating his room, and it truly touched my heart.”

On Feb. 11, around 45 students met in King Family Commons to put together goodie bags and collect chemo bag donations for the organization.

“The hope is that one day there will be a Once Upon a Room chapter in all 50 states so that anyone who is in the hospital and is in need of a smile can have their room decorated,” Dancsecs said.

More to Discover