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Girl Scouts give local hospital rooms a new look

A local Girl Scout troop is painting ceiling tiles at a San Antonio hospital to help bring smiles to sick children in the pediatric unit.

San Antonio — Troop 1335 named the project "Healing Ceilings." The colorful designs are to meant to give kids who are often in hospital beds a different image to focus on than a dull ceiling tile.

"You always think of hospitals as sterile, white, a chemical smelly place. Maybe by adding a couple of paintings there, it may brighten someone's day, helps parents even," troop member Margaret Zentil said.

"My cousin was in and out of the hospital, and she hated it. She would cry every night just wanting to be home. I brought her some toys to make her feel at home. I feel that this would make everybody feel comfortable," Alicia Sells said.

Troop leader Jenna Tebo, who happens to be a pediatric physical therapist, said the bright images can help in the healing process.

"Anything that can help distract you from your illness and be pleasant to look at, it can warm your heart and make you forget that you're sick," Tebo siad.

Troop 1335 is doing this project as part of the process to earn a Silver Award, which is the highest award a scout can earn. This community-service project originated back in August. One of the troop members, Jessa Nelson, suggested they paint the ceilings tiles of a hospital after thinking about her brother who passed away.

In 2005, Michael Joseph Nelson was born with multiple congenital anomalies. He was in the hospital for the majority of his life and passed away at just 18 months old. During the time he was alive and getting treatment, Nelson said her mother, Angel, decided to paint a ceiling tile.

"With permission from the hospital, she took one of them down and painted a butterfly on it and then, she did another with a Superman logo on it," recalled Nelson.

Nelson said the project has a special meaning for her because it's not only to help other kids, but it's done in remembrance of her brother and her mother, who passed away two years ago.

Volunteers of all ages are welcome to take part in Troop 1335's project. The girls will be back at Pinot's Pallette at Alamo Heights on Sunday, June 10 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. They will need to finish the rest of the tiles. Pinot's Pallette is providing the paint, studio time and artist at a discounted price. For more information, contact them here.