Submitted by Izzi Stalder
MARIPOSA – Once upon a time there was a beautiful little girl named Bryn. She had long brown hair, dazzling brown eyes and the sweetest smile.
Little Bryn was only six years old, and there was something very special about her – something magical.
After six months of ticket sales and over $4,500 raised for foster children in Mariposa County, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Mariposa and Lawson Construction are pleased to announce the winner of the Dream Playhouse!
At 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 4 at the Mariposa Art Park, an audience volunteer pulled winning ticket #925. To everyone’s amazement the ticket holder was in the audience! A little girl with a big heart on her dress and an even bigger smile ran up to the stage. Six year old Bryn was holding the winning ticket for the Dream Playhouse graciously built and donated by Lawson Construction.
Bryn’s first words of excitement and gratitude were, “who can I share this with?” She couldn’t have been more beside herself as she began playing in and around the elaborate flowers and butterflies that adorned the playhouse.
What’s most amazing about this story is not only that she was one in over four hundred entries, but that Bryn’s personal story stresses the importance of organizations like CASA of Mariposa , which was the entire purpose behind the raffle.
“Bryn lives a blessed life, because she is blessed,” her guardian told CASA staff. “The Lawson Construction playhouse makes it all the more so.” However, Bryn’s life has not always been so lucky.
Bryn’s guardian Suzanne met Bryn when the baby was just six month old and living in a Transitional House with her mother. At the time, her mother was battling drug addiction and struggled to care for Bryn. After two years it became obvious that Bryn needed to be rescued. With the help of Lilliput, a non-profit agency that works to ensure every child is safe and nurtured within a family that has a life-long commitment to the child (whether that be the birth, foster, kinship or adoptive parents), Suzanne was granted guardianship.
Suzanne, her husband and her son hope to soon adopt Bryn with the help of Lilliput. “That little girl,” Suzanne said, “has made us all better, happier people. Her winning this playhouse is another affirmation of what a sweet miracle she truly is.”
This story is a perfect example of the enormous difference one person can make in the life of a child – whether that be as a guardian, a foster parent, an adoptive parent or a court appointed special advocate.
If Suzanne and Bryn’s lives hadn’t crossed, Bryn would most likely have ended up in the foster care system and would have needed a court appointed special advocate to speak up for her rights in the court system.
Thanks to the Lawson Construction playhouse and the $4,500 raised, CASA of Mariposa will be able to recruit and train more volunteer advocates this year and therefore help a greater number of foster care children in Mariposa County gain their right to a safe, loving and permanent home.