Rosemary’s Wish Kids Make Playhouse Dreams Come True

The nonprofit’s partnership with Bryant University and local high schools supports an exciting program that benefits all particpants

A Cars themed playhouse was delivered to a lucky child in 2021.  It was made entirely by high school students.

Bryant University

A “Cars” themed playhouse was delivered to a lucky child in 2021. It was made entirely by high school students.

Casey Weaver

     No one can imagine the torment of having a child with a life threatening illness, but we can all expect that the dynamic of family life changes dramatically.  Organizations that address these heartbreaking situations are far and wide.  But there is one, based right here in Rhode Island, that has brightened the lives of local children in numerous ways.

     Rosemary’s Wish Kids, founded and administered by Rosemary L. Bowers in Tiverton, grants wishes for people ages three to 21 that are affected by a terminal illness. Rosemary’s Wish Kids and their families have been granted family trips, most commonly to Disney or New York City.  Other life changing gifts have included a backyard basketball court and other fantasy-fulfilling projects. 

     Rosemary’s Wish Kids partnered with Bryant University in 2016 to create Project Playhouse, another non profit organization that brightens the lives of  children with life threatening illnesses. Bryant University called Bowers saying that they wanted to work with her to become a part of a special organization. Bowers says she started Project Playhouse “to provide a special dream themed playhouse for a child between the ages of three to 9 or ten years old.” 

     Project Playhouse works with tech schools throughout Rhode Island and Massachuesettes including Chariho High School, Diman Regional Vo Tech High School, Lincoln High School, North Providence High School, and Pilgrim High School. These high school students work to make elaborate, theme based playhouses that the recipients get delivered to their backyards to surprise the children. Families are asked to provide three themes the child would like, and the high school takes over from there. They select one of the three themes and create a completely unique, decked out playhouse, keeping everything secret from the recipients. The students spend lots of time planning, preparing, and building. 

     The participants at Bryant University go out and purchase materials used to build the houses, tools for building as well as on theme decorations. Project Playhouse has been featured on Channel 10 and Channel 12 news bringing a lot of attention to the program. This brought Navigant Credit Union to sponsor them, as well as Target, which provides generous gift cards to help Bryant volunteers outfit each Playhouse with the accessories, furniture and dress-up clothing it may need. The publicity has helped expand the program in such a positive way, and hopefully more will learn about it with years to come. 

     Project Playhouse has held a yearly reveal to display all of the playhouses created that year at Bryant University. This year’s reveal, however, will showcase the five new playhouses at the Rhode Island Home Show, starting on March 30. 

     It is expected that 2,000 people will see these playhouses on campus. Until this reveal, the information on the 2023 playhouses is very limited to the families, the public, and even Rosemary Bowers. “I can’t wait to see this year because I’ve gotten little hints but they haven’t given me any other information. I have to wait, too,” Bowers said.

  The nonprofit takes applications from families of sick children and uses donations to fund the wishes. You can learn more about this philanthropic organization, as well as donate to the fund, see this Bryant video, or go to 

     The Rhode Island Home Show will open March 30 at the RI Convention Center and run through Sunday, April 2. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors.