Raffle offers a chance for charity

May 10, 1994|By Ivan Penn | Ivan Penn,Sun Staff Writer

Hey kids! Here's a hot piece of real estate for you: a free-standing, custom-built house with features that could include skylights, copper roof or Greek and Roman-style columns, all in your parents' backyard, for just $5.

Voices For Children, an Ellicott City-based children's advocacy group, plans to raffle off four such deluxe playhouses at $5 a chance, as part of a fund-raising effort for its Court Appointed Special Advocate program.

These aren't ordinary backyard clubhouses, the kind that sit in a tree and have three-foot ceilings. The architects designed these playhouses to fit in with Howard County's more luxurious homes.

"I think somebody's going to be pretty lucky," said 14-year-old Liana Kaufman, an eighth-grader at Dunloggin Middle School in Columbia, wielding a paintbrush as she helped put finishing touches on a Greco-Roman style playhouse called "The Monument."

The idea for the fund-raiser, called the CASA's for Kids Playhouse Project, came from a similar project in Montgomery County, where playhouses were auctioned.

"The reason we decided to raffle the tickets for the playhouses was because we wanted to give everybody a chance," said Pamela Grady, Voices for Children's director of administration and organizer of the raffle.

The four houses go on display at the Mall in Columbia on Monday, fully decorated and in a landscaped setting.

"It'll look like a little village," Ms. Grady said.

Ms. Grady said she hopes to raise as much as $25,000 through the raffle to help train more Voices for Children volunteers, who work with judges, lawyers and social workers in Howard County's child abuse and neglect cases.

The three-year-old private, nonprofit organization, which currently has 42 active volunteers, helps an average of three to four children each month. The volunteers provide services similar to those of a social worker during abuse cases.

Builders and students who volunteered to build the playhouses said that they got involved because of their concern about abused children.

"Making a contribution is what it's all about," said Dave Buschman, president of Buschman Design-Build in Marriottsville.

Mr. Buschman's remodeling company joined with interior decorators and with students at Mount View Middle School in Marriottsville to build a one-room, Victorian-style home that stands 10 1/2 feet tall, has 9 feet by 6 feet of floor space and a front porch. It probably would sell for $8,000 to $10,000, Mr. Buschman said.

The other three houses include:

* "The Traditional Playhouse," built by Patriot Homes, of Columbia. The house has cedar paneling, a wooden shingle roof, 8 feet by 6 feet of floor space and stands about 11 feet tall.

* "The Lighthouse," built by Goodier Builders, of Columbia, which includes features from various Maryland lighthouses. The 8-foot-by-8-foot structure, 14 feet tall at its peak, has a large doorway, a copper roof and skylighted cupola.

* "The Monument," built by BYC and Williamsburg Builders, of Ellicott City. The house stands about 13 feet tall, has 8 feet by 8 feet of floor space, two skylights and Greco-Roman style architecture.

Students continued to put finishing touches on the playhouses in the last several days.

Yesterday, John Gordon, 12, a sixth grader at Mount View Middle, sanded a piece of wood on the Victorian playhouse and said he felt good about helping to raise money for the children's advocacy group.

"It's going to help the children," he said. "This will cheer them up."

And some students saw some practical benefits in working on the project. "I want to get out of math," said Kristin Norris, an 11-year-old sixth-grader, who was painting wooden siding for the house at Mount View Middle.

Raffle tickets can be purchased at Center Court in the Columbia mall. The drawing will be held May 25.

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