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Franklin Tech students helping with expansion of new women's shelter

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A local shelter will have its heating and air installed free of charge thanks to about 40 students from Joplin's Franklin Technology Center.

From creating blueprints to installing air conditioning units, some Franklin Tech students have been donating their time and know how to help save Watered Garden's time and money on their new women's shelter expansion.

It's all thanks to Franklin Tech teacher Mark Tyrrell.

"We were having a radio-a-thon to raise funds to get the women's shelter finished off and he happened to hear that and thought 'wow, this is a great way to get my students plugged in, get them some experience, donate some time,'" says Marsha Whitford, the Operations Director at Watered Gardens.  "It was just kind of a win-win partnership really because we had a need and they were able to help."

Tyrrell says his students have helped in the community before but the Watered Gardens project is the biggest undertaking by his students and is something they are very proud of.

"They feel ownership in this now," says Tyrrell.  "They always tell me they have taken their family to see it.  Every time they drive by they have pride in what they've done and will for years in the future too."

"I think that would be a really neat thing for them to see if five years down the road they're going 'wow, because of what I did it helped that person,'" says Whitford.

The students say they are ready to take these experiences and put them toward their future.

"Really a lot of help," says Charles Babb, a student at Joplin High School.  "When I go get a job for doing this I will be way ahead of the curve compared to somebody that's done it when they are in their 30's, 40's, and not having all of this experience."

With Franklin Tech located just down the road from the shelter Whitford says she is looking forward to the partnership continuing in the future.

Watered Gardens says they hope to complete the extended women's shelter as early as this summer.

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