Bungalow N26 outside County Harbor-UCLA Medical Center is a triple-wide trailer that for more than 20 years has served as the hospital’s Child Crisis Center, where doctors examine suspected child abuse victims. Until recently, Exam Room 1, where children are taken for physical evaluations, was a plainly decorated place with peeling wallpaper borders and an old, dingy floor. The walls hadn’t been painted in at least seven years. But now the room has a new vibe thanks to the efforts of Ali Gomez, a Redondo Union High School student who gave the room a makeover in her effort to receive the Gold Award, a Girl Scout’s highest honor. “It was an OK room before, but now it’s a very child-friendly room,” said Sheri Lovall, a nurse practitioner at the Child Crisis Center. “She performed a service that was much-needed for our clients.” The 17-year-old Gomez repainted the room light blue, put in white linoleum flooring and new blinds, added a shelf for books and sewed – for the first time – 100 cloth bags and filled them with school supplies for the center’s patients to take home. She even got a volunteer muralist to paint a beach scene on the wall across from the exam table. Editor’s note: This is one in a series of stories profiling the community service projects of Eagle Scouts and Girl Scouts earning Gold Awards. Send information on such projects to Lisa Martini, assistant city editor, at 310-540-5511, Ext. 356, or lisa. [email protected] By Laura E. Davis STAFF WRITER Lovall said the mural is a special addition to the room because it provides kids with a distraction while they are being examined. “It makes a big difference with the families,” she said. “It’s very calming, very pleasant.” Gomez knew when she first began brainstorming ideas for her Gold Award project that it had to have a connection with children. “I knew I wanted to work with kids and help in some way with children,” she said. Gomez’s troop leader, Anna Conway, said she was proud of Gomez’s project choice. “She picked something that was out of her comfort zone because she doesn’t really like hospitals or that environment,” Conway said. Gomez proposed her project to the Angeles Girl Scout Council in March, she said, and the council approved it in late April. She began work on the room in mid-July. Gomez said she originally wanted to improve the pediatric emergency room in the main hospital, but she faced too much bureaucracy. The hospital referred her to the Child Crisis Center. There, she met with program director Rosanna Beaumont, who became her mentor. “She helped me and she encouraged me, and she motivated me to do it,” Gomez said. Last year, only about 5 percent of eligible registered Girl Scouts – those in grades 10 through 12 – received their Gold Awards, according to the Girl Scout Web site. Gomez and four other girls with her in Troop 91, which she has been a part of for 11 years, are going for their Gold Awards. Although Gomez logged 81 hours for the project, she is not yet a guaranteed Gold Award recipient. The Angeles Girl Scout Council must review her work and decide if Gomez should receive the honor. Gomez and her mother, Angelica Gomez, said the most frustrating part of the project was realizing that businesses she thought would donate supplies were not willing to help her. “She was thinking she was going to go in there and they were going to say, `Sure, let me see what I can give you,’ and everybody kept saying `No,”‘ Angelica Gomez said. “It was a lot harder than we thought.” Instead, Gomez relied on contacts through her friends and family for supplies and monetary donations. The dental practice where her aunt works gave her $200 for supplies, she said. And her grandfather’s autobody business bought all the materials needed for the room. She knew the muralist through a cousin, and a contractor friend helped install the floor. “It was literally true that Ali did put her sweat and tears into this project,” Beaumont said, since Gomez both cried over her frustrations and sweated during the labor. Gomez did all her work over four or five weekends, when the center is closed, so she didn’t get to meet any of the children she was helping, she said. But when she recently went to drop something off during work hours, she and her mother saw a young boy, about 2 or 3 years old, emerging from the center, holding a social worker’s hand and clutching a teddy bear under his arm. “It made it real for us,” Gomez’s mother said. [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!