Several years ago, a collection of extravagant playhouses caught the eye of a young Henry Roseman as he left NorthPark Center. The structures were part of Dallas CASA’s Parade of Playhouses, and Roseman had to have one. Year after year, he would buy raffle tickets for the playhouse of his dreams, to no avail.
Today, the 14-year-old is no longer the child longing for a unique playhouse. He’s the creator of one.
The Preston Hollow resident channeled his inner architect and built a playhouse as his Eagle Scout service project. Such projects have to be involved ventures that demonstrate leadership and benefit the community in some way. Roseman saw it as the perfect match.
The Parade of Playhouses is an annual event that raises funds to support the Dallas CASA mission. On average, 2,000 Dallas County children can’t go home to a safe haven at night because of abuse or negligence. CASA steps in by advocating for the best interests of these children, helping them receive proper services.
Beverly Levy, Dallas CASA’s executive director and president, said the event shows what a big heart and a raffle ticket can do to help a child find a safe home. Roseman’s participation is a testament.
“It’s really wonderful when you can get kids involved in helping other kids,” Levy said. “Henry knows why he’s doing this, and it’s really wonderful.”
Roseman’s service project idea was not met with the best feedback at the beginning. His troop leaders were skeptical because it was, in fact, a big project. Under the Boy Scouts’ rules, he could not get help from construction or architectural firms, and the project could not be for commerical fundraising purposes.
Roseman didn’t shy away from the challenge. He drafted his project proposal explaining why building his playhouse would not only show leadership, but also benefit the community. He knew that it could and would be done.
More than 200 labor hours later, Roseman had planned, designed, and constructed a playhouse. Although he sought help from his architect uncle, family, friends, and fellow Scouts, the build was under his sole direction. Parade of Playhouses event sponsor Stacy Lillis agrees that this is perhaps the most unique aspect of Roseman’s playhouse, as most were created by architectural and construction companies.
“Henry has been as professional as any architect or builder could be with everything that he’s done with his playhouse,” Lillis said. “We’re really excited about all the work he has done.”
Roseman, who is about to enroll at DISD’s School for the Talented and Gifted, took an industrialized approach to his design. The playhouse, featuring a butterfly-sloped metal roof and a sitting area, was constructed of two UPS trucks’ worth of milk crates. Roseman used the crates because they allow children to see outside the house.
The project had its overwhelming moments, but Roseman takes pride in accomplishing what some thought was impossible.
“It was a real project,” Roseman said. “It was a real building-and-construction deal. It was a huge project.”
The event has come full circle for Roseman. He looks forward to seeing the children gazing in awe at the dream playhouses as he once did. Realizing that his own creation is in that assortment is priceless.
“I really hope that it will raise a lot of money for CASA and for children who need the help,” Roseman said. “I also hope that the kid who gets it enjoys it a lot — until they’re done with it,” he added with a laugh, “not until it falls apart.”