Five-year-old Angelita is paralyzed from an accident. Eight-year-old Teira has problems with her lymph system, thyroid and heart. Seventeen-year-old Monica is an avid hip-hop dancer fighting her second battle with leukemia.
These children — bouncing from one surgery to another, one hospitalization to another — long to rest and recuperate in their own room.
Marzi Heydarian, a junior, and Tuyet Truong, a senior, both majoring in construction management, were inspired by their stories and helped by organizing a playhouse build. An online auction to raise money will be announced soon.
Money from the sale will be given to Room for Joy, a local nonprofit that creates dream bedrooms for chronically ill children. Room for Joy’s mission is to help children heal by providing imaginative, medically appropriate rooms based on each child’s wishes and medical conditions.
Heydarian and Truong are members of Advancing Women in Construction, a program that supports recruitment, retention, and job placement for women students in the Del E. Webb School of Construction, part of the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, one of the Fulton Schools of Engineering.
“Our main goal for this build was to encourage students to become involved in planning and scheduling a build different than your typical construction project,” Tuyet said. “This build gave us the opportunity to give back to the community, something that AWIC likes to encourage.”
The project was the brainchild of Samantha Pinkal, a senior pre-development and marketing manager at The Weitz Company, who supports Advancing Women In Construction. Pinkal met Tory Smock, founder of Room for Joy, and they came up with the idea of sponsoring a playhouse.
The project took more than a year to plan. The students built the playhouse over three weekends in October, and Room for Joy is putting on finishing touches and decorating.
Soon the money will be making a difference. Picture a 7-year-old walking into a fairytale room with castles and princesses, or a 13-year-old opening the door to a Superman adventure. Students in AWIC are making a difference in our community.