AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake This week, about 25 children were staying in the 63-bed emergency shelter with their parents, and an additional 15 were staying in a half-dozen cottages set aside for longer-term stays. The shelter’s fenced playground contains swings and slides and a smaller playhouse built last year by inmates at California State Prison-Los Angeles County. “Our playground is a very safe place where parents and children can go and spend quality time together to enjoy themselves at a time when things aren’t so joyful,” said Kathleen Hamlin, a senior advocate at the shelter. The playhouse, wooden rocking horses and wooden cars and trucks were turned over to the shelter through Antelope Valley Transit Agency’s annual Stuff-A-Bus toy drive for needy local families. The playhouse and toys were created by inmates in the prison’s mill and cabinet shop and in the Arts in Corrections program, working over at least six months. “The men actually consider this a privilege, to make toys for children who are very needy,” said Lucinda Thomas of the Arts in Correction program. “They feel like they’re doing something for kids who need it.” The woodwork-shop inmates built the playhouse and toys and the Arts in Corrections inmates painted them. Thomas designed the exterior scene of squirrels and chipmunks, a mouse, a cat, sky and a pond. The inmates originally wanted to paint cartoon characters. “They wanted to paint Spongebob. To me, the classic nursery rhymes, you can’t beat those,” Thomas said. This was the fourth year in a row that the prison inmates made toys for the Stuff-a-Bus campaign. Future donations could be in doubt because of state budget cuts and changes in how the Lancaster prison will operate, prison Lt. Ken Lewis said. One of the prison’s four sections is being converted into a reception center, to take in newly convicted inmates from Los Angeles County’s jails. They would be there for only 60 days before they are assigned to prisons elsewhere and would not be involved in vocational training. Besides the inmates’ gifts, the shelter youngsters will get Spiderman dolls, games and other toys in a last-minute donation from a man who works at a business across the street from the bus yard. Sam Jensen of U.S. Breakers saw the decorated bus parked outside the bus yard for the playhouse donation and drove in to drop off his toys. “I’ve been collecting this stuff all year,” Jensen said. — Charles F. Bostwick, (661) 267-5742 firstname.lastname@example.orgWant local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! LANCASTER – Youngsters whose parents seek shelter from abusive relationships will get a little special shelter of their own: a 9-foot-tall wooden playhouse handcrafted by state prison inmates. The playhouse, furnished inside with a wooden stove, table and chairs and decorated outside with paintings of animals, blue sky and clouds, will be installed in the playground at the Valley Oasis Domestic Violence Shelter. “This is darling,” said Trish Jones, the shelter’s assistant director. Created in 1981, the Lancaster shelter usually accommodates dozens of children whose mothers – and sometimes their fathers – have fled domestic violence.