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East County Thursday, May. 7, 2009 8 years ago

Braden River Middle students donate picnic tables

by: Pam McTeer

BRADENTON — Avijshon Howard eagerly took a seat at a new picnic table outside Manasota ARC, a Bradenton-based organization that provides services for adults with development disabilities.
With a waterfront view, the spot will be a perfect perch for Howard, an ARC client who likes to come outside when he needs time to himself.

“I appreciate how they donated this table,” he said. “I plan to chill and relax here.”

Students from Braden River Middle School’s Technology Student Association pulled up to ARC’s main office just after 3 p.m., April 15, with the picnic table in tow. After unloading the table, the students paused for a photo with ARC clients.

“It makes you feel like you’re helping someone,” 12-year-old Chris Garza said.

A second picnic table will be delivered to an ARC group home in Ellenton in the near future.

“This is just a wonderful upgrade to what we’ve been using,” ARC’s Interim Executive Director Tré Littlefield said. “We are so appreciative of the contribution from the club members at Braden River.”

While Braden River Middle’s TSA team was thrilled to help people in the community with their project, they hoped it would score well at the state TSA conference April 29 through May 2 in Orlando. Pictures and details about the table were entered in the competition’s Construction Challenge, which requires participants to use their technical skills to fulfill a community, construction-related need. Participants carefully documented each part of the process as part of their contest entry.

The team took a top-10 finish for their entry.

“I thought the kids did pretty great,” TSA Adviser Kirsten Lawlor said. “They worked as a team and they got the job done.”

This was the first construction project that TSA students at Braden River Middle have completed it its entirety, Lawlor said. The group repaired the greenhouse at the school last year and did repair work to a facility in Palmetto the year before that.

Braden River Middle joined 11 other Manatee County TSA teams in the state competition that started April 29. The school had 24 top-10 finishes.

Contact Pam McTeer at [email protected].

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