Playing for a Cause: The Burns School Playhouse Project

April 23, 2014 |


DU Students Build Playhouse for Local Adoptive Family

Scott and Wendi Smith have a family far different than most, with four biological children, Josh 21, Joel 18, Leah 15 and Luke 12 and six adopted children from China with varying medical physical challenges and conditions, including cleft palates, cranial deformities and scoliosis, among others.

In late March, students, faculty and staff from the Franklin L. Burns School of Real Estate and Construction Management worked together to ensure that the children in this family have a happy place to play. This next generation of builders worked together with industry volunteers and the Children’s Hospital to build a 6” x 8” playhouse on the DU campus for the Smith family.

“The purpose of this is really multi-faceted,” said Burns Director Dr. Barbara Jackson. “One purpose is to provide our students with a hands-on, working by doing exercise – a tool if you will – where they really can learn how to make the connection between people, purpose and project. We build the Built Environment and we teamed up with Children’s Hospital who identified the extraordinary Smith family. We were able to use this teaching tool called “The Playhouse Build,” teach our students how to serve the community and provide this family a playhouse who is so well-deserving.”

All materials from the project were donated by local companies, along with volunteer resources and an onsite foreman. The goal was to provide a safe place for the Smith’s children to find delight in the simple act of playing. The result was a learning experience for the students, volunteers, faculty and staff who participated in the project.

After the project, the Burns School received this thank you note from the Smiths:

We thought you all would like a photo of the playhouse with the roof complete!

We actually finished it that Saturday night. It was a fun project for the boys and I to do together. We laid the carpet on Sunday. Don Li hammered all the carpet nails!

Even during the school week, they’ve been busy playing in it. My father will be visiting from Texas in a few weeks and he said he would help us hang some dry wall.

It was great to meet you, the students and the entire DU staff who so graciously supported this project. We will send more photos after we paint the door and hang the flower boxes.

Thanks again for your generosity and kindness to our family,

Scott & Wendi Smith



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