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The playhouses were on display in Downtown Wellen from its Model Home Showcase event in February until they were distributed in June.

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Playhouse Style - A Testament to Creativity & Community

Wellen Park & Partners Contribute to Habitat for Humanity of South Sarasota County's Cottages for Kids Program

Earlier this year a wonderful partnership was ignited when Wellen Park, along with select area developers, built and donated more than 15 imaginative playhouses to the Cottages for Kids program at Habitat for Humanity of South Sarasota County (HHSSC).

Wellen Park also gave $15,000 in support of the nonprofit’s mission to build homes, develop communities, and support children and families. As Rick Severance, Wellen Park division president notes, the match was fueled by shared ideals and goals: namely a belief in the power of home and community. 

During the check presentation in June 2023, selected families supported by Habitat for Humanity were present to receive the playhouses that Wellen Park and its residential and commercial partners had built earlier in the year. These donated cottages brought smiles and happiness to the Habitat families, further strengthening the partnership between the two organizations.

“We are honored to partner with Habitat for Humanity to host the Cottages for Kids build and support this program for future builds,” says Christine Masney, vice president of marketing for Wellen Park. “It has been wonderful seeing how many residents, guests and children have enjoyed the cottages while on display in Downtown Wellen (from February to June 2023). This project gave Wellen Park development partners a chance to come together to support a worthy organization,” she adds.

The Cottages for Kids program has a profound mission – to raise awareness for affordable housing and broaden support to raise sustainable funding. For the young recipients of these playhouses, the experience has been overwhelming with joy and gratitude, as many of them have never had a real home to call their own, let alone a playhouse.

The idea for the program originated when Rick Severance, CEO of Wellen Park, reached out to Christina McCauley, CEO and Colleen Donahue, Donor Relations at HHSSC, proposing a collaboration to build playhouses. After several meetings and discussions, a plan was put in place, and the lucky recipients of the playhouses were chosen through a lottery.

“Habitat is so grateful to Wellen Park and the many generous builders that contributed to this unique program,” says Christina. “Without solid community partners like Wellen Park, we could not accomplish our mission of providing safe, affordable forever homes to hard working families and individuals in our community. We look forward to future collaborations and growing our partnership,” she adds.

The playhouses themselves are a testament to creativity and community spirit. Meticulously designed by Wellen Park and its development partners, each 6-by-6-foot structure is unique in terms of styles, paint colors and details, yet they all display a unique home-like charm. 

Wellen Park built two playhouses: one with a "cute seating area inside and outside painted with bright blue and yellow colors," and a second one with designed to look like a barn, with "bundles of wood, fruits and vegetables, and stuffed animals such as a chicken."

One of the developers, Mattamy Homes, also built two playhouses: the first with different murals painted on every side of the playhouse, including "a beach scene" and another barn-style "cottage" with painted images of a dog and a car.

Other entries included Ryan Companies, which created a playhouse styled after modern buildings with large floor-to-ceiling windows, and "Sam's Coffee Cafe," a faux-cafe built by Sam Rodgers Homes, complete with a menu, a kitchen, and seating area.

Another one of the developers, PulteGroup, went with a "nontraditional route," according to the press release; instead of building a playhouse, the PulteGroup team created "a swing set with a slide and rock-climbing wall" for kids to enjoy.

Building on the success of the program, Wellen Park is already planning another Cottages for Kids buildout later this year. The new round of cottages will grace Downtown Wellen as part of Wellen Park's holiday series, expanding participation to Wellen Park neighborhoods and residents. To further support the cause, a Cottages for Kids auction is scheduled for December, aiming to raise awareness and funds to continue supporting Habitat for Humanity of South Sarasota County's mission.

The partnership between Wellen Park and Habitat for Humanity South Sarasota County exemplifies the power of collaboration and the impact of aligning visions. Together, they have created a ripple effect of positive change in the lives of families in need, proving that building dreams and communities can go hand in hand.

As the Cottages for Kids program continues to flourish, its impact on the community will be immeasurable. Wellen Park and Habitat for Humanity serve as an inspiration to other organizations, showing what can be achieved when working towards a common goal. Through their dedication and generosity, they are bringing hope, stability, and joy to families, one playhouse at a time.

  • Christine Masney (L), Wellen Park VP of Marketing presents Habitat for Humanity South Sarasota County’s CEO, Christina McCauley with Wellen’s $15,000 donation.
  • The playhouses were on display in Downtown Wellen from its Model Home Showcase event in February until they were distributed in June.
  • This playhouse, by developer Lennar, includes its own putting green so kids can practice their golf swing.
  • Selected by lottery, these lucky winners of playhouses are all recipients of houses from Habitat for Humanity South Sarasota County.
  • Wellen Park donated the playhouses to Habitat for Humanity South Sarasota County.
  • PulteGroup (l) and Mattamy Homes playhouse cottages on display in Downtown Wellen.
  • Sam Rodgers Homes’s playhouse features "Sam's Coffee Cafe," complete with a menu, kitchen, and seating area.
  • This one (of two) Mattamy Home playhouses was designed as an animal friendly barn.

Businesses featured in this article