Addi Holley, a sophomore at Oklahoma Christian University, is working through the non-profit organization Once Upon a Room to improve the lives of hospitalized children.
Holley said the organization helps the children of Oklahoma and beyond.
“Once Upon a Room is a national nonprofit organization which personalizes and decorates hospital rooms for children fighting serious life-threatening illnesses or acute trauma, often resulting in months of medical treatment and long-term hospital stays,” Holley said. “Once Upon a Room currently serves 20 hospitals across the nation with individuals leading chapters across several states.”
Holley said she first saw this nonprofit organization on social media, which sparked her interest to take action locally.
“After seeing several pictures of the amazing rooms decorated by college students in Ft. Worth, Texas, I quickly reached out to the founders of Once Upon a Room and asked about opening a chapter in Oklahoma City. Within a week, I received a call stating the Integris Baptist Hospital approved Once Upon a Room to serve their pediatric unit.” Holley said.
Holley said she needed reinforcements to make this project truly successful, which prompted her to reach out to her nursing instructor.
“I knew I would not be able to run the Oklahoma City chapter without a strong support system, so I reached out to one of my nursing instructors, Mrs. Taylor Steele,”Holley said. “Taylor and I have spent the past several weeks in online meetings discussing the future of Once Upon a Room and are proud to announce we are opening the Oklahoma City chapter on Oct. 28, 2022.”
For Holley, the impact of this organization moves beyond the children affected through its services; it impacts those who volunteer as well.
“A nonprofit organization like Once Upon a Room impacts everyone,” Holley said. “From the volunteers to the child life specialists, everyone taking part in making a difference is impacted. Being able to put a smile on the faces of those involved brings so much joy.”
Holley said she hopes this organization will foster joy for all the children influenced by its services.
“I hope Once Upon a Room will continue to grow in the years to come. My hope is our actions will show faith and bring joy to the children and families we serve.” Holley said.
Taylor Steele, Registered Nurse and Nursing Instructor at Oklahoma Christian, is working with Holley to expand this project.
“Even though my entire RN career has been in pediatrics, I had actually never heard of Once Upon a Room until Addi told me about it,” Steele said. “When Addi met with me and asked if I would get involved, I knew this would be an incredible opportunity to bring joy and healing to the patients I had worked with for years in an entirely new way.”
Steele said this project enables her to bring joy to the patients she serves in a unique and special way.
“While working at the hospital, my goal was always to leave my patients better than I found them. Once Upon a Room is such a tangible way to bring joy to patients and their families during an extremely vulnerable and difficult time,” Steele said. “For those who volunteer their time or money to get involved, it is pretty amazing to see everything you are doing is for a specific person in your own community. It is an incredible, yet simple way to make a significant impact on someone’s life.”
Steele said she hopes this organization will breach into Oklahoma Christian’s nursing program to create more partnerships in the future with additional organizations.
“My hope is this project will be another outlet for the Oklahoma Christian nursing program to live out our mission of service to those in need, as well as to create new connections and partnerships with the community and surrounding churches.” Steele said.
Steele reiterated we should be more open to serving others whenever we can.
“I would encourage people to think, ‘If not me, then who?’ When God invites you to join alongside Him in service to others, it is always a good idea to say yes.” Steele said.
The Oklahoma City Chapter for Once Upon a Room is set to open on October 28, 2022. For students wishing to get involved, they can reach out on Instagram @onceuponaroom and click the link in the bio.