2015 Playhouse Volunteer Spotlight: Lauren McGee

For the past month, the Williamson County CASA (WCCASA) Annual Twice Daily Playhouse has sat on display at 1164 Columbia Avenue. The 60-square-foot, farmhouse-style mini home—complete with white paneling, red tin roof, windows, electricity and a blue front door—will be raffled off to one lucky family at this year’s downtown Franklin Pumpkinfest on October 24. Until then, it serves as a reminder of WCCASA’s mission: to advocate for abused or neglected children in the court system, many of who do not have a stable home to return to each night. The WCCASA Annual Playhouse Raffle helps to raise awareness for the nonprofit and to secure funds to further its mission. For $20, the public can purchase a raffle ticket in the months leading up to Pumpkinfest in the hopes of winning the playhouse.

The event couldn’t be possible though without the tireless effort of local businesses and volunteers who’ve helped to make the playhouse a reality from start to finish.

Lauren McGee, a senior majoring in interior design at local design school O’More College of Design, has been involved with the WCCASA playhouse for the past two years. Lauren, along with fellow interior design students Kateland Meyer and Stephanie Gorzny, helped to decorate the interior of the mini-home, creating a design that reflects the farmhouse-style exterior.

“We met with Danielle [McMorran, director of development and public relations] at WCCASA and just started throwing out ideas and thoughts to get a feel for what direction everyone was leaning toward,” says Lauren. “We hadn’t seen the house yet, so it was at this meeting that we got our first peek. We were so excited that it was a farmhouse style.”

For Lauren, the design was easy to envision, drawing from her own childhood home in Tulsa, Okla.

“One thing I love to tell people is that I grew up in a barn house,” she says. “When I was a child every once in a while someone would ask the rhetorical question “Did you grow up in barn?!” and even as a child there was a delicious satisfaction in saying, “Yes, yes I did.”…silo and all.”

The group settled on a gender- and age-neutral design that incorporates botany and exploration themes. Using art supplies, gardening tools, nature-themed artwork donated by Plaza Art and a sawhorse table built by the group of student designers, the final design creates an environment that encourages children to examine and explore the outdoors.

“It turned out great!” says Lauren. “WCCASA loved it, and we were so happy.”

For Lauren and the entire O’More design team, working on the WCCASA has been an opportunity to support their community and benefit a local nonprofit doing amazing things for Williamson County children.

“It’s always great to get involved in your community,” says Lauren. “Getting to see the people (Franklin locals) come together to build this house and put everything together in order to help—it's a great example of the Franklin environment. I hope to see this partnership between WCCASA and O’More continue over the years. It’s been a wonderful experience getting to work with them.”

The playhouse will be on display at 1164 Columbia Avenue until it is moved to Pumpkinfest October 24 on 3rd Ave S. in the Church of the City’s children’s area where it will be raffled off.

Raffle tickets are on sale now for $20 a ticket, and can be purchased online here, through the WCCASA offices at 615-591-2699 x 2, by emailing Danielle McMorran at danielle@williamsoncountycasa.org, or on location at the 2015 Pumpkinfest in downtown Franklin.

NewsKat Caire