Thank you so much for visiting my website. If you would like to know a little bit about how Julia Builds a Playground came to be, my story, and general information, keep on reading! If you want to know more about specific projects continue on the projects tab.
My name is Julia Calaway, and I am a Senior at Saint Agnes Academy in Houston, Texas. I discovered my passion for volunteer work and social justice during middle school. In sixth grade, I began working with children at an after school program for at risk inner city youth. I realized I loved helping my community, and especially helping children. I hoped to work on a long term project that could potentially be a part of both my childhood and adult life. When I began to reflect on what I, as a sixth grader, could do I considered something I had taken for granted my whole life, unlimited access to playgrounds or even more simply a safe, communal space to play. I never thought that this idea, or relection, would develop into a non profit. After sharing this idea with my family, my mom suggested I look into an Eco Lodge they had stayed at in Costa Rica. The lodge supported the communities around it with their own non profit funded by the guests and tourists. On the Lapa Rios Eco Lodge's website, there was a wish list composed by the children of the Carbonera School of what they needed, hoped, and dreamed of for their school. On the top of this 'wish list' was a playground, and thus the begginings of Julia Builds a Playground came.
I first began by contacting the Eco Lodge. I asked dozens of questions about what they would need, how much the playground would cost, and in all how would I do this? First, I had to set up a bank account to store donated money, so I set up a meeting with a bank agent. Second, I had to begin sharing my project with friends, family, and classmates. Third, I had to begin fundraising. Now, as a sixth grader, my fundraising consisted of lemonade stands, bake sales, and small donations. Once I started to recieve more donations from my school community, I needed to legitimize my project in order to grow and have larger scale fundraisers. Towards the end of sixth grade, I began researching how to start your own non profit. Summer going into seventh grade I did all the necessary research, filled out all the paper work, and sent in my applications to the state of Texas for my non profit status. Once I received my non profit status a few months later, I applied for my 501 3C status, a status allowing donators to write off their donations to Julia Builds a Playground on their taxes. This was all completed by eighth grade.
Since then, my non profit has grown and has developed a strong, clear mission statement as seen above. I have held creative and fun fundraisers that have been succesful due to the leadership of my friends and the support of my classmates, showing that Julia Builds a Playground is a youth driven project to support other youth. Please continue onto my fundraisers page and projects page for more specifics and information!
Julia Builds a Playground strives to provide playgrounds or play sets to underdeveloped schools and communities in Central and South America. I hope to do this by providing sustainable and local materials to build playgrounds as well as construction opportunities for local workers. Julia Builds a Playground wants to create a safe space to allow kids the freedom of fun and play.