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'It's about supporting the kids,' sponsors and nominees needed for Project Playhouse 2021

Project Playhouse 2020
Posted at 9:02 PM, Sep 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-17 22:02:27-04

The Fort Hood Area Habitat for Humanity is getting ready for Project Playhouse. It's a community event that gives free playhouses to local kids, with hopes of inspiring them to one day own a home of their own.

In a little over a month the four pallets of wood at the Ft. Hood Area Habitat for Humanity's facility, will be transformed into playhouses for kids in the community. It may not seem like a big deal, but event organizers say it's so much more than just a playhouse.

Kristin Smith, the Ft. Hood Area Habitat for Humanity, Director of Finance and HR said, "This playhouse is a crucial part of a child’s mindset just them growing up."

It's all about shifting a child's mindset by giving them something to call their own. Last year's Project Playground was a huge success, despite the pandemic, they were able to build 13 playhouses for local kids.

Ft. Hood Area Habitat for Humanity, Project Playhouse 2020

Mick Engnehl has watched his daughter make a year's worth of playhouses in her playhouse.

Engnehl said, "She was really excited about it the whole process and spending time with daddy. My wife and my other son were all also helping build it at the same time, so she was a part of building it."

The selflessness of the community is something this veteran does not take for granted, especially for the sponsors who made it all happen.

"It was just amazing to see her smile and to see a glimmer of hope in some happiness in the mist of all of the uncertainty that we saw last year," said Brittany Harris, a 2020 Project Playhouse Sponsor with Smile Doctors Braces.

Harris and Smile Doctors have returned for a second year and will be sponsors for the 2021 initiative. Harris said giving back to the community in this way is something Smile Doctors are all about.

"We felt like we've really made a difference. To some people, it's just a playhouse, but if you could have just felt the energy and the love and the happiness and just the pride that exuded from all of the kids that were recipients of the playhouses last year, there's no way that you wouldn't want to be a part of that feeling," Harris said.

Ft. Hood Area Habitat for Humanity, Project Playhouse 2020

This year, Smith is trying to come back even bigger than last year by building 20 playhouses, she encourages everyone to apply.

Smith said, "They think oh it’s only for low-income families or it’s only for veterans and their families and it’s not!"

The playhouse symbolizing a steppingstone into the bright future for these kids by encouraging them to stay on the right track.

"It’s kind of building them up to know that the community is here to support them, 'this could be yours one day so, this little mini playhouse, just imagine it on a bigger scale'," said Harris. "You know if you stay on the right path and if you go to school and get a good job and surround yourself with like-minded people, you know you can on your own home one day."

The deadline to nominate a child to receive a playhouse or apply to be a sponsor is Oct. 15th. Click here for more information.

All the proceeds from Project Playhouse go toward the organization's effort to build affordable housing in our area.