As part of NAHB’s 75th Anniversary, we’ve asked members, their companies and local and state HBAs to share their stories on how they’ve made a positive impact in their communities over the last 75 years.
Our first story takes us to Kentucky, where members of the BIA of Greater Louisville (BIAGL) work with Kosair Charities and YouthBuild Louisville to underwrite the building of two playhouses a year for children with special needs. Each playhouse is uniquely designed by a BIA builder member with the child’s specific physical and cognitive needs in mind.
“Wow! Cool!” were the first words out of the mouth of eight-year-old Addonis Thomas when he got a preview of a dream playhouse built just for him.
“He’s a special needs student. He has autism, but he has the heart of a champion,” said Aisha Thomas, Addonis’ mother.
“We talked with his mom about some of the things he enjoys,” said D.J. Berry, senior project manager with Wehr Constructors Inc. “He’s into karaoke, cooking and playing board games, so we tried to come up with a design that allowed him to do that in one area.”
Playhouse construction began in November and is scheduled to be completed in March. Once they’re finished, the children will work with designers to help decorate the interior.
“Seeing Addonis’ smile and seeing how excited he was really made it special to be here,” Berry added. “It’s unique to do something like this. You don’t get to do something like this every day.”
Since the partnership began six years ago, nearly 15 dream playhouses have been custom-built for Kosair children.
Not only does the playhouse give the child a place to progress in their therapy, but by partnering with YouthBuild Louisville, BIAGL is instilling a newfound sense of independence and confidence for the YouthBuild students while they learn skills to help them in the real world – and perhaps inspire them to pursue a future career in the home building industry.
This NAHB 75th Anniversary story was submitted by BIAGL member Jeremy Esposito of Esposito Construction. Learn how you can submit yours.