Cottages for Kids has made a return appearance on the lawn at Rosemary Beach, just in time to make a lucky child's dreams come true for Christmas.
The five cottages are all one of a kind and constructed by local builders, who along with their team donated time, expertise, and resources for this good cause.
Of the five cottages now resting on Rosemary Beach's lawn, some are simple, some are three stories high with multiple choices for activities, but all would make a child's day or year pretty special.
Visitors can buy raffle tickets for the cottages to help other less-fortunate children's dreams come true in a different way.
There are children living in Walton County who don't have health or dental insurance adequate to cover needed procedures.
In 2005 Tricia Northcutt encountered such a child and wanted to help. The encounter led Northcutt and her husband Mark to establish the Children's Volunteer Health Network.
Since its inception, the faith-based 501(c)3 organization has facilitated more than 10,000 medical, dental, vision, and mental health procedures for low income families who are unable to access health services due to the unavailability (or inadequacy) of insurance.
The organization has established a network of more than 95 local physicians, dentists and healthcare providers who donate their time and services.
CVHN also operates a mobile dental clinic that visits local elementary schools and opened a dental clinic this year.
In its sixth year, this annual fundraising event helps fund and continue the mission of CVHN.
This year's cottages and contributing builder teams include:
•Little Hangleton: Corestruction & RW Lowe Architecture. The creation was inspired by the back-drop mythology and setting of Harry Potter.
•Sand Shack: DKM Custom Homes. A cottage that combines home and playground.
•Schoolhouse Rocks!: Davis Dunn Construction and Studio : A : Architecture. The old town schoolhouse comes to life with this creation.
•Torre de Juego (Tower of Play): Heritage Builders with Tanney Design & Merchants of Rosemary Beach. This cottage chock full of bells and whistles is sure to spark imaginative play for hours of entertainment (includes a lookout post, rope ladder, zipline and telescope).
•Up-N-Down-N-All-Around: Randy Wise Homes & Freeport High School Key Club. This cottage has nostalgic character that could inspire a range of play from Harry Potter to a Romeo and Juliet romance.
The builders team up with local businesses and architects to create the cottages, and the team sponsors pick up all the related expenses (materials, supplies, manpower) which are then donated to CVHN for the Cottages for Kids event. Each design is unique, earth-friendly, and the materials must be safe for kids.
CVHN's Executive Director Zach Billingsley said, "We are so grateful to the builder teams and the sponsors that have stepped up to make this event twice as big as last year."
The cottages are all available for viewing and inspection, and even a little play, on the East Long Green in Rosemary Beach along Scenic Road 30A Thanksgiving Day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Raffle tickets are available for purchase at the event and also online. Or, win one of three cottages through an online auction. Buy It Now prices are available onsite and online. Visit online at www.cottagesforkids.org.
The auction ends Nov. 23 at 4 p.m.
Raffle winners' names will be posted at 10 a.m. Nov. 24 at the site and on the website.
Raffle tickets are $5 a piece; five for $20; 15 for $50; and 30 for $100.
"Our goal is to raise $15,000 through the event this year, which will go to sustain the mission of CVHN," said Shaye Smith, marketing and events coordinator.