Spending time in the hospital can be hard on anyone; but for sick and injured children who have hardly ever spent a night away from home or their families, it can be especially difficult. It’s the knowledge of this and desire to make long-term hospital stays more comfortable for children on which Dec My Room was founded at Texas Children’s Hospital in South Central Houston in 2007. In the years since, the organization has expanded to other hospitals in Houston, as well as to others in Texas and around the country.
A non-profit that provides volunteers with the opportunity to make a tangible difference in the lives of others and benefits their community, Dec My Room is a natural partner for the AMLI FAMLI Volunteer Program.
History of Dec My Room
Dec My Room was founded by mother-daughter duo Susan and Kendall Plank at a time when they sought to make a young family friend’s stay at Texas Children’s Hospital following a bone marrow transplant warmer and more inviting. The result of the efforts of these two women were so deeply appreciated that they decided to found Dec My Room in the hope that as many children as possible can enjoy stays in hospital rooms that are decorated specifically with them in mind.
About Dec My Room
Children and young adults whose hospital stays are expected to be three weeks or longer qualify for Dec my Room participation. Typically, volunteers are given information about a child patient’s likes and interests in advance of their arrival. In a matter of a few days, volunteers are expected to shop for decor based on those likes and interests or hold a donation drive to get supplies for the hospital room makeover. The goal is to “create a healing space” for the young patient. Once the patient has healed, he or she can take the toys and hospital room decor home.
AMLI Residential is committed to serving the communities where it has a presence. Non-profit organizations such as Dec My Room give AMLI apartment residents and staff the chance to connect with the community and help individuals in less fortunate circumstances. On June 5, after holding a donation drive to collect toys and lively decorative items for two weeks, volunteers proudly teamed up with Dec My Room and Shriners Hospital for Children to decorate the rooms of 25 pediatric patients. Split up into small teams, the volunteers enhanced the atmospheres of the hospital rooms with personalized wall decals, bedding, books, stuffed animals, and games. Seventy-seven volunteers from all seven of AMLI’s Houston communities (AMLI River Oaks, AMLI Uptown, AMLI City Vista, AMLI Memorial Heights, and AMLI 2121) participated. The results of the the teams’ efforts were dramatic, and will surely brighten the lives of the 25 brave children moving into the recently decorated rooms.
What it Takes to Volunteer
Dec My Room welcomes volunteers who have compassion for others, previous community service experience, and the desire to brighten someone’s day. Volunteers are also expected to be flexible and capable of meeting a quick turn-around time, as rooms often need to be move-in ready for a patient within a few days.
If you live in Houston and would like to help make the community a better place and improve a child’s hospital stay, you can download the Dec My Room volunteer info form from the organization’s website. AMLI Residential apartment residents looking for more opportunities to serve the community can explore the AMLI FAMLI portal on AMLI’s website to explore opportunities available in their area. The AMLI FAMLI already has another Dec My Room project in the works, a Casino Night, to take place sometime in August.
Do you have experience volunteering in Houston? If you have a recommendation for a community service project or non-profit organization, please share in the comments!
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