Wilton High students create 'big girl room' for resident

Anna, a pediatric cancer patient from Wilton, saw her bedroom go from a “little girl room” to a “big girl room” over the weekend, thanks to Wilton’s Art From the Heart team.

Art From the Heart is Circle of Care’s 11-year-old room makeover program that has transformed more than 50 bedrooms for Connecticut children, ages 4 to 17, who are undergoing chemotherapy.

About 35 Wilton High School students currently make up this year’s Wilton team, said Debbie Lafond, an Art From the Heart parent leader.

“There are many levels of participation — from fund raising, idea planning, maintaining the group’s Facebook page, shopping to actual installation,” said Ms. Lafond.

Since “only so many teenagers can fit in a small bedroom at one time,” she said, 25 of the students actually worked on Anna’s bedroom, which was the first bedroom in Wilton to be redecorated by Art From the Heart.

“Anna really wanted … a ‘big girl room,’ and the teens really wanted to make this a reality, so they purchased furniture that would make her feel more grown up,” said Ms. Lafond.

“They painted the room, created a new organization structure for Anna’s bookshelves and closet, and created some new wall and desk art.”

Ms. Lafond said the group also raised additional money to purchase a headboard for Anna’s new full-size bed, as well as a dresser and bedside table.

Ms. Lafond said the redecoration planning process generally takes a few months.

“The teen leaders interview the child to learn what they like and dislike and the kind of ideas that they have for their room,” she said.

“Then, with the help of their teams, the teen leaders work with their adult volunteers to come up with a scheme and a general idea of what the room will look like.”

After the adults on the team purchase the necessary items, said Ms. Lafond, the makeover begins.

The team began working on Anna’s new room after school on Friday, Jan. 30, and revealed it on Sunday, Feb. 1.

“The reveal is a really special time for the child whose room has been transformed and for the teens, who have worked so hard to see their vision happen,” said Ms. Lafond. “There were many smiles in that room.”

Click here to learn more about Art From the Heart.