Last year, Melody Woodard and her family worked to receive a Habitat for Humanity home.
On Saturday, the College Station resident brought her four children to a large warehouse in Downtown Bryan to paint and construct a home on a little smaller scale.
“Habitat for Humanity has been so great for us and our family,” Woodard said. “Therefore, when we were informed that one of the playhouses was being donated to us, we decided to come out here to decorate it for the kids.”
The Woodards were one of about 90 families who spent the morning hammering, painting and drilling as they assembled 10 wooden playhouses to be donated to local charities that cater to children, courtesy of the Bryan-College Station Habitat for Humanity.
Jane Sherman, marketing director for Bryan-College Station Habitat for Humanity, confirmed that Habitat recently had surprised the Woodard family with the playhouse. They were able to prepare for Saturday by drawing and brainstorming designs ahead of time. They elected to paint it rainbow colors, with depictions of rainbow fish and a police car sketched by one of the children.
“This has been really fun,” Woodard said. “We have been working as team with no fussing or arguing. Everybody is pitching together. ... The kids will have something to play in when they’re outside.”
For the second year in a row, Habitat’s local affiliate hosted a Youth Playhouse Build, a combined charity work project and fundraising event. Using donated materials from Lowe’s, construction kits fashioned by Stearns Design Build and help from adult volunteers from Arkitex Studio Inc., children and their adult supervisors from across Brazos County spent five hours Saturday morning at Habitat’s warehouse space in Downtown Bryan.
They assembled and then decorated the structures as teams, knowing each of the 10 little houses would be given to such places as Scotty’s House advocacy center, Twin City Mission and Project Unity. Additionally, for the next month these volunteers can work to raise donations online through JustGiving.com, with a goal to accrue a combined $10,000 for Habitat for Humanity.
According to Sherman, eventually that $10,000 will be spent on constructing a real, full-sized Habitat home. The children volunteering at the warehouse on Saturday ranged in age from 7 to 15. Some were working with their parents and siblings, while others volunteered with a school or church group.
“Youth 15 and under don’t often get to do a lot with us, and this is a way for them to engage in our mission at Bryan-College Station Habitat for Humanity,” Sherman said.
Janet Divin of Arkitex Studio said she heard about Youth Playhouse Build and Arkitex’s sponsorship of the event, and she decided to involve her whole family. Divin noted that the event offered the chance for participants to raise money in memory of a person of their choice, and the Divins elected to dedicate their fundraising to one of their children, who died in 2011. She and her children busied themselves working on a playhouse to be given to Aggieland Pregnancy Outreach, partnering with another family to bring it to completion.
“This is a fun family activity that lets our kids give back to community,” Divin said.
Trinity Divin, Janet’s 15-year-old daughter, carefully painted the details into a hot air balloon depicted on the side of the structure.
“I’m having a lot of fun because I like to paint,” she said. I’m putting balloons on the playhouse, and we’re making it in our own style. It’s been fun.”
The family who spent the day alongside the Divins, the Holifields, are affiliated with a fellow sponsoring company, Stearns Design Build.
“I don’t mind getting up early for this,” said 14-year-old Cheyenne Holifield. “I enjoy the painting part of it. It’s my favorite. And it’s easy to talk to the other family now.”
To donate toward the ongoing Youth Playhouse Build fundraiser, visit justgiving.com/campaign/youthplayhousebuild2020. The fundraiser ends March 31.