Published : Sunday, February 18, 2018 | 6:16 AM
When a fire broke out earlier this month at the Wonder Inn at 2855 E. Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena, Daisy Scout Julianna Lembeck, 5, wanted to help the potentially displaced residents and the firefighters battling the blaze any way she could. So she asked her father, Jim, for advice.
“We decided the best thing to do would be to get them (the residents and firefighters) some cookies. So, Julianna figured out how many boxes of cookies she could buy with her money,” he said.
The duo, who live close by, walked over to the motel where residents watched and waited as the firemen did their job and “started handing out cookies to everybody.” People initially thought they were for sale, but Julianna reassured them otherwise. After a while, everybody was eating cookies watching the fire department work. With this small act of kindness, Julianna diffused a tense situation for everyone involved.
Jim said, “I talked to one of the firemen and he said, ‘You know, usually, at this point, we’ve got a parking lot full of crying children, hysterical families, and upset property owners, and now we’ve got people trading cookies. It’s kind of surreal. I don’t know if you can feel it, but it’s slowed time down.’”
Julianna’s charitable nature isn’t isolated to that one event. Every Saturday, she and her father travel to South LA to volunteer as part of project Red Eye. Together, they mentor for children in the Imperial Gardens housing project. She’s also visited Elizabeth House, a home for unwed, homeless mothers, in Pasadena where she gave out toys—and hugs. When Jim asked her why she wanted to hug the residents, she said, “‘Because hugs are going to last longer than all the toys will, daddy.’ She went around and said this to a room full of crying, pregnant, homeless mothers. But they got it. And here’s a five-year-old girl who’s whipping out lessons in life like that.”
Girl Scouts of LA senior communications manager Melanie Larsen concurs. “I think what sets Girls Scouts apart is the empathy component, and this was just a great example of a Girls Scout taking charge and showing some real empathy by doing something kind for others who are in an unfortunate situation. Girl Scout law says to help people at all times, and that’s one of the main things that Daisy Scouts like Julianna learn. That’s exactly what she demonstrated by helping those people and making their lives a little better when they were going through a hard time.”
For his part, Jim Lembeck couldn’t be more proud of his daughter. “This isn’t a one off for her, this is just the way she is.”
If you wish to help Julianna and Girl Scouts like her as they continue to promote the organization with their cookie drive, you can find your nearest selling location by going to GirlScoutsLA.org or GirlScoutCookies.org and using their “cookie finder.” Just punch in your zip code.
The Girl Scout cookie drive runs until March 11.