TSTC SkillsUSA TeamWorks Group Uses Skills for Volunteer Work

(WACO) – For an area church, it was a gift.

For students at Texas State Technical College, it was a way to give back to the community.

Members of TSTC’s SkillsUSA TeamWorks team volunteered Thursday and Friday to do renovation work at the Word of Faith Ministry in Temple. The students — Belton residents Antonio Hernandez and Andres Zapata, Jacob Dawson of Mansfield and Leonardo Mata of Fort Worth — removed tile, closed in an office wall, opened a portion of another wall and installed French doors.

“This is truly a blessing because I like to see young men at their ages have a drive and something to support,” said Larry Watkins, the church’s pastor.

The work gave the students an opportunity to see how compatible they are away from TSTC, where they practice weekly.

“It’s been pretty good,” said Mata. “Hanging out with them is good. I hope this experience helps us out.”

Dawson said he worked throughout high school individually in SkillsUSA contests, but since joining the construction team he has learned how to trust his teammates’ skills.

“It’s nice to do something different,” he said.

Watkins first met Zapata when he worked at Home Depot and was attending Belton High School. Zapata’s first project for the church was building a podium stage when he was a junior.

The TeamWorks group will have a simulated building scrimmage on Friday, March 29, at the Ben Barber Innovation Academy in Mansfield.

SkillsUSA is a professional organization teaching technical, academic and employability skills that help college and high school students pursue successful careers. Members build these skills through student-led team meetings, contests, leadership conferences and other activities.

For more information on Texas State Technical College, go to tstc.edu.