Somerset mayor and noted philanthropist Jeffrey Slavin donated a children’s playhouse to the National Center for Children and Families in a ceremony on Friday.
To NCCF Executive Director Dr. Sheryl Brissett Chapman, the two-story mock lighthouse with a slide and a pole is much more than a piece of playground equipment. It’s a powerful symbol to the people of NCCF’s Greentree Shelter, which serves as a transitional home primarily for single mothers with children.
“It’s important to see us really understand that children who come here do need to be inspired by us as a community, to see hope, to see life, to see a way out and that the community values them and their talented gifts,” Chapman said. “This is a very powerful gift and a powerful gift because this will excite them and help them feel the normalcy of childhood that every child deserves.”
Slavin, a real estate broker who runs his family’s Sanford and Doris Slavin Foundation, purchased the lighthouse in May, during a playhouse auction organized by Rebuilding Together Montgomery County. The event raised almost $120,000 for the Kensington-based nonprofit, which provides home repairs and upgrades to seniors or families in need.
All the playhouses were put on temporary display in Wisconsin Place, in Friendship Heights.
Slavin who has no children and said his house was too small for the structure anyway, connected with NCCF to place the lighthouse in the middle of its Greentree Road campus.
“My father was a sailor and he had a boat in Annapolis, and sailed in the bay,” Slavin said. “This is right in our backyard and so now we are dedicating this playhouse to the center so that for years to come the children in our community will be able to enjoy it.”