“No way!” Daniel Patyrak cried out excitedly. Daniel’s wife, Staci Patyrak, had just been announced as the winner of the Imaginasium playhouse, one of 17 playhouses being raffled off at NorthPark Center on Sunday, July 28, to benefit Dallas CASA. The Patyraks had snapped up $40 worth of raffle tickets earlier in the day. And the fanciful toy house by Ridgmont Commercial Construction and Gensler was just what their daughters Lyla Patyrak, 7, and Hayli Patyrak, 6, had been hoping for.
As the raffle was about to get underway a little earlier—tickets had been sold for $5 apiece, or five for $20—Dallas CASA CEO Kathleen LaValle said she was very pleased, since ticket sales had been high this year and there was “a lot more buzz, because the top builders and contractors in the city got involved.” Firms like HKS, Balfour Beatty and KDC energized their employees on behalf of the cause, Kathleen said, resulting in more playhouses and greater ticket sales this year than in 2018.
With that, Kathleen’s husband Michael LaValle began calling out the name of each playhouse up for grabs, a short drum roll was heard, and then Mike announced the winner’s name with a flourish. One by one, the little houses with playful names like CASA Critter, She Shed and Jumpin’ Gym Jamboree were awarded to the lucky ticket-holders, most of whom were not present in the throng stretched out in front of Mike.
Alas, not everyone could be a winner. Seven-year-old Nolan Brown had strategically planned which house his family had the best chance to win. Not only had it been a little off the beaten path, it was the Browns’ favorite and, after examining the raffle drum, Nolan believed it had a smidge fewer tickets in it than the others. But, unfortunately for the Browns, their name was not announced as the winner. Nolan, naturally disappointed, nonetheless bravely stood his ground while mom Jennifer Brown consoled three-year-old Ryder Brown. Instead of heading right home, though, the Browns stayed — and Nolan and Ryder even stepped up to help pull chances for the other playhouses.
Standing to one side with her cellphone recording the action was CEO of the Dallas Mavericks Cynt Marshall, wearing a Mickey Mouse T-shirt. Cynt has been a member of the Dallas CASA board since 2014. Her timing was perfect. She had intended to just get a photo of all the playhouses and hadn’t realized that the raffle pull was taking place.
The next morning, the little mansions were loaded onto flatbed trucks and taken to their new home grounds.
All proceeds from the playhouse raffle are designated for the support of Dallas CASA, which is short for Court Appointed Special Advocates. The nonprofit provides volunteer advocates to help abused children have safe, permanent homes where they can thrive. More than 1,300 Dallas CASA volunteers served more than 3,100 children in Dallas County last year.