Acacia Gives back to Veterans through Operation Playhouse

By Lisa Crewe | Posted on October 5, 2022

The hearts and minds of Acacia, now part of Cisco, employees were full last week when we rolled up our sleeves and helped build a playhouse for the children of a local veteran. This work was part of a program called “Operation Playhouse” that is run by Habitat for Humanity Metro West/Greater Worcester. We could not have been prouder to give back to a deserving military family.

The playhouse was presented to two adorable girls ages 3 and 6 from the Ruiz family. Their father is a veteran who began serving our country in June 1990 and over the course of 20 years was deployed to Somalia, Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Operation Playhouse is a program designed specifically for families such as this to provide a special place for family members to bond, play, dream, and think.

The Ruiz Family received a Certificate of Occupancy for the playhouse.

“To see the faces on the Ruiz children as they received their very own playhouse, designed to the Barnyard theme that they chose, was an inspirational moment for all of our employees,” said Victoria Fernandez, Principal Corporate Counsel at Cisco, supporting the Acacia business. “The team had a lot of fun customizing it with creative additions including a silo and coral with lots of farm animals.  We enjoyed it so much that we are planning to continue to raise funds and hopefully build even more playhouses for our local veteran families in the future.”

Building the Dream House
Below are pictures of our employees building the playhouse in the parking lot at the Acacia Maynard Office.

Painting is the first step in the playhouse building process.

Next, the shingles were attached to the roof, and the playhouse was assembled.

Finally, the special touches including curtains made from bandanas and chalkboards were added.

Once everything was ready, the front of the roof was added.

The team also had some fun along the way. These two are hoping for a playdate!

As part of its Operation Playhouse sponsorship, Acacia, now part of Cisco, began raising money to build a playhouse about two months ago.  The team raised more than $3000 and thanks to Cisco, employee contributions submitted through Bright Funds will be matched by Cisco. In fact, Cisco is a long-time supporter of Habitat for Humanity.  Since the 1990s, the company has donated more than $18.1 million to Habitat for Humanity in cash and products to support the development of homes for very low-income families in need of a place called home. The Operation Playhouse program, provided by Habitat for Humanity MetroWest/Greater Worcester, was a natural extension of that long-term commitment.

Once Acacia decided to sponsor a playhouse, Habitat for Humanity MetroWest/Greater Worcester began looking for veterans or military members living in New England with young children up to 12 years of age who would like to receive a playhouse as a thank you for their service. The Ruiz family was soon identified, and their girls were asked to pick a theme for the playhouse. Both girls picked a barnyard theme and the Acacia team got working on gathering the building supplies, decorations and other materials needed to create the best barnyard-themed playhouse possible. It all came together on September 28th when Acacia employees volunteered their time to construct the playhouse in the parking lot of their office at Mill and Main in Maynard, Massachusetts.


Donate or Build a Playhouse!

On behalf of Acacia and Cisco, we want to say thank you to the Ruiz family for all you have done to help protect our freedom. We also urge employees and friends to build a playhouse or donate so that we can keep providing local veteran families with playhouses of their own.