A past example of one of the many original, custom-built playhouses on view during Dallas CASA's Parad of Playhouses at NorthPark. (courtesy photo)

A past example of one of the many original, custom-built playhouses on view during Dallas CASA’s Parad of Playhouses at NorthPark. (courtesy photo)

In just a few days, imaginative playhouses will parade the bottom floor of NorthPark Center, brightening up the Dallas mall while simultaneously carrying a heavy message. Dallas CASA’s 21st annual Parade of Playhouses offers a chance to win one of the fanciful creations while also raising money for and bringing awareness to the needs of abused and neglected children who are in need of advocates.

Fifteen playhouses, from a house shaped like a block of cheese to an African adventure campsite, will be on display from July 15 to the end of the month. These pieces have been created and donated by local architects, builders and corporations.

Since 1996, shoppers have been wowed with the inventive and clever pieces while making their way through the mall. By purchasing raffle tickets, a lucky few will be able to take these playhouses home while also supporting CASA’s mission of helping children who might otherwise fall through the crack.

Kathleen M. LaValle, Dallas CASA executive director and president, says, “These playhouses represent our hope for abused and neglected children in Dallas. Some children dream of having their very own fantasy playhouses, but abused children dream of having safe and permanent homes.”

Dallas CASA recruits and trains volunteers to work with judges in order to find the best possible fit for a child who has been removed from their family because of abuse or neglect. Without a parent to advocate for their best interest, CASA volunteers fill the void by bringing a stable and reliable presence into the child’s life. In 2015, 2,680 children were served. However, there are still many more in need.

LaValle says, “Sadly, two out of five abused children in protective care in Dallas County do not have CASA volunteer advocates. We look forward to the day when we have enough volunteers for each child to have an advocate.”

Tickets for the raffle can be purchased at NorthPark Center or online here for $5 each or five for $20.