2017 Playhouses

BICF Playhouse Reveal Demonstrates the Power of Doing for Others

“If the power of doing for others can be demonstrated in one afternoon, it would have been the afternoon of March 30, 2017 at the YouthBuild Louisville campus when two deserving children were able to see playhouses designed specifically for them for the first time. The collective synergy of being a part of something so special can be a catalyst for continuing to seek opportunities to do for others, and the experience had everyone there wanting to give back more. The long-standing partnership between the BIA’s Building Industry Charitable Foundation (BICF), Kosair Charities, and YouthBuild Louisville has played a valuable role in the Louisville community, offering special needs children a backyard escape where childhood is celebrated, and limitations are briefly forgotten.

Over the years, playhouses have been built for families selected by Kosair Charities, with guidance from the BICF playhouse builders, and help from eager YouthBuild students who have a chance to get hands-on experience and learn more about the construction trade. Imagination takes center stage in the production of the playhouses, which, through the generosity, time and investment by all three entities, generates transformative experiences for all involved.

Addonis’ Home Away from Home

D.J. Berry, Wehr Constructors, oversaw a playhouse for nine year-old Addonis, whose challenges include autism. Addonis’ playhouse is built to resemble his parents’ house with a front porch and matching exterior. It has a second floor reading loft inside and a kitchen to foster his love of cooking and encourage him to practice life skills. The playhouse includes plenty of details to support Addonis’ love of performing, including a magic/ puppet show stand and an area where he can practice his karaoke. Berry said they also incorporated a phone system where someone in the upstairs loft could call down to the main level of the playhouse so Addonis can practice his phone skills. “We tried to include as many things into the footprint that will help Addonis in his development. Our hope is that the playhouse also gives him some independence,” he explained.

Ryan’s Fairy Tale Castle

Brad Hicks, Bradley Homes, built a playhouse for seven-year old Ryan who has spinabifida and was recovering from a surgery earlier in March. He and his team built every-little-girls’-dream-castle with plenty of room for Ryan to get around in her wheelchair. To further make it accessible, they built a ramp going into it and also poured a concrete sidewalk that goes from the front door of the playhouse to her home. The accessibility component is a huge plus for Ryan. Hick’s described Ryan’s mother recalling how Ryan would watch friends play outside, knowing that her wheelchair would get stuck in the grass and it would be hard to join them. “Her mom was crying and was so thankful. I think one of the biggest things for her was being able to imagine her daughter playing with friends,” he said. Ryan’s castle includes plenty of room for her to navigate and pull her wheelchair up to a craft counter where everything she needs is within reach. Designed with plenty of pink and purple accents, it also includes a table and chairs with a tea set, making it an ideal place to host friends for tea parties.

How Can You Use your Resources and Skills to Help Others?

Bailey noted that the BICF has more opportunities beyond the playhouses to impact the community. “We are in a position to say ‘yes’ to more projects than ever before, and we’re encouraging the BIA’s members to put their name in the hat to say ‘yes’ along with us,” he said. Bailey noted that the Foundation is taking on room makeovers for additional Kosair Charities families that will continue the mission of helping children with special needs. There are other projects as well that extend out to the broader community, including a recent project that helped a blind couple re-organize their laundry facilities so they’re able to function safer and more efficiently. “St. Matthews Plumbing recently stepped up to replace water heaters at the Boys & Girls Haven. There are continual projects that come our way and we need more members who are willing to partner with us to make them happen,” he added.