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LAPD officers, nonprofit remodel home for Watts family

LAPD and nonprofit team up to remodel home for Watts family
LAPD and nonprofit team up to remodel home for Watts family 02:17

It may be a rare sight when a bunch of cops pour over Ikea furniture instructions, but that's what members of the Los Angeles Police Department's Southeast division, along with volunteers, did when they made over the home of the Johnson family in Watts. 

After the makeover, the nonprofit The Healthy Room Project team delivered and assembled furniture for the seven kids, whose family moved to LA from New Orleans last fall. 

The children's dad is the sole income while their mom returns to college. 

"Things are expensive," mother Samiyah Selmon said. "Without this, it would've gotten done, but it would have been done in portions."

The family recently met Officer Gabriel Perez when he came to their home during a call for service. He noticed the children only had air mattresses and bags instead of dressers to store their clothes. 

"When I was a kid growing up, I called myself the couch kid because I did not have a bedroom. I was always in the living room," Perez said. 

Through his supervisor, he learned about the Healthy Room Project and nominated the Johnsons to furnish the kids' rooms with beds, dressers, and desks.

Former Hawthorne police officer Mark Kirunchyk and Janet Crown founded the organization, which was funded through grants and donations.

"For an officer to come in, it is not an enforceable experience; it is a community experience," 

It was a surprise the kids got when they came from school. There were bunk beds. The family's 6-year-old, Zoey, liked the new desk the most. 

"I like the desk," 6-year-old Zoey Johnson said. "I can study and be smart. I love it."

Perez said getting a desk at his childhood home motivated him to do his homework. 

"It was for the living room, and it had a computer and everything," he said. That motivated me to sit down and do some homework."

The kids thanked all of the volunteers. However, the true payoff came from the 6-year-old's reactions. 

"I'm the queen of everything!" Zoey yelled as she stood on her new bunk bed.

The Healthy Room Project impacts families in 16 cities by making homes a bit sweeter.

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