CASA kicking off fundraiser with chance to win cottage

Employees of 19th Century Restoration, Jim Waddle, front, and Chris Stewart, work on the Casa4CASA playhouse, which is modeled on a fisherman's cottage. Chances to win the playhouse are sold, and the proceeds benefit the CASA program, a nonprofit agency that recruits community volunteers to advocate for abused or neglected children in the court system.

Not often will a dollar possibly buy a child’s dream playhouse.

Where to buy tickets

Tickets for the drawing can be purchased at these locations:¢ Saturday through Wednesday: cash registers at Community Mercantile, Ninth and Iowa streets.¢ Thursday-July 15: Wal-Mart, 33rd and Iowa streets.¢ July 16-18: customer service desk of Hy-Vee, Kasold Drive and Clinton Parkway.¢ July 19: southeast corner of Ninth and Massachusetts streets during the Downtown Lawrence Sidewalk Sale.¢ July 21: Downtown Farmers Market, 800 block of New Hampshire.¢ 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday, July 9-20: Douglas County Court Appointed Special Advocates office, third floor of the county courthouse, 1100 Mass.

But as part of the Casa4CASA annual fundraiser, Lawrence and area residents will have a chance to win a playhouse valued at several thousand dollars.

The playhouse, constructed by Dan Riedemann, owner of 19th Century Restoration, is based on a fisherman’s cottage. The 8-by-8-foot playhouse includes two stories and a small deck on the second floor. Riedemann said the playhouse normally would cost about $7,000.

“It’s just kind of a rustic little cabin,” Riedemann said. “If I was a kid, I’d love it.”

Riedemann has put aside other projects at his business, possibly upsetting customers, and spent nearly $6,000 on material and labor to build the playhouse, but it was a labor of love.

“It’s for a great cause,” he said. “It’s the whole pay it forward idea, and it’s just the right thing to do.”

Kerry Tummons, executive director for CASA, said the fundraiser is the largest of the year for CASA and usually brings in close to $15,000.

Douglas County Court Appointed Special Advocates is a not-for-profit agency that recruits community volunteers to act as advocates for abused or neglected children who are under protection of Juvenile Court.

“They are the only ones that actually speak for the child,” Tummons said. “They interview the children to find out what’s happening in the child’s life, report the information to the court and make suggestions based on their time with the child.”

Volunteers go through a full background check and must serve 30 hours of training before volunteering.

“When you’re working with our most vulnerable youth, you have to be careful,” Tummons said.

The fundraiser begins Saturday and lasts until July 21, when the winner’s name will be drawn.

This is the 15th year of the Casa4CASA fundraiser. Every year a playhouse is built by area construction specialists. Tummons said this year’s playhouse is just as impressive and unique as previous playhouses.

“People are always very excited about this event, this one in particular,” she said, “It will be something that will catch the imagination of children of all ages.”