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University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


UCM, Warrensburg Schools Join Habitat for Humanity to Build Home

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WARRENSBURG, MO (April 30, 2012) - The process to build Warrensburg’s newest Habitat for Humanity home officially began Wednesday, April 25 when board members, administrators and students from the University of Central Missouri and the Warrensburg R-VI School District joined board members from Habitat for Humanity of Johnson County to break ground for the home at 628 West Gay St. in Warrensburg. The ceremony was the first major event of the Building Community Through Education initiative.

The Building Community Through Education initiative gives high school and university students an opportunity to work toward a common goal that will help someone in need. During the next year, students at the high school and university will have the opportunity to help build the house and perform a variety of other services related to the project, including philanthropy and public relations. Many university student, faculty and staff groups have already helped to raise money needed to launch the building project.

Members of the community attended the event, which included remarks from Erica Collins, board president for Habitat for Humanity of Johnson County; Deborah Orr, Warrensburg R-VI superintendent; Scott Patrick, assistant superintendent; and Walt Hicklin, president of the UCM Board of Governors. Also in attendance were several students from UCM and the Warrensburg school district, who participated in the groundbreaking ceremony as earthmovers.

UCM students were among those participating in the Building Community Through Education initiative groundbreaking ceremony April 25.

Those in attendance witnessed not only the groundbreaking, but they were also able to meet the new homeowners. Dawn Ybarra and Josh Franklin and their children participated in the event.

“I’m so overwhelmed and it’s so surreal,” Ybarra said. “It’s so exciting to know that so many people want to help and donate to this cause. There are some people out there with good hearts.” Wednesday was the first time the children saw the lot for their new home, which Ybarra described as “very exciting and a good learning opportunity for the kids.”

“This is something that will tie our school district together with the University of Central Missouri and Johnson County Habitat for Humanity,” Patrick said. “I thank Habitat for giving us the opportunity as a school district to get involved with the University of Central Missouri and allowing our students to have an active part in all of this.”

The large number of people in attendance enjoyed watching the first step to building the home. Those who had the unique chance to be an earthmover described the opportunity as exciting.

“I like to use the skills I’ve learned with my construction management major to give back where I can,” said Paige Becker, a senior at UCM and the student construction manager for the initiative. “It was nice to be an earthmover to be recognized for all the work I’ve done so far. This project will have a huge impact on people and it’s nice to be able to see a project through from start to finish.”

"You know you always look at a university and want to see things that students get excited about,” Hicklin said. “I have not seen so much excitement, except for a championship basketball season, than has been generated on our campus the past year. The things that students have done on our campus for this particular event are outstanding.I praise them and I praise the people who are here."

University President Charles Ambrose was instrumental in obtaining needed support from constituent groups that included the school district. His efforts were recognized among the guest speakers.

“When Dr. Ambrose approached the school district about partnering with the university, we jumped at the opportunity, as Warrensburg does so well, to come together to provide a safe, warm home for a loving family with children,” Orr said. “It warms my heart and it warms the heart of all those educators who are here.”

For more information about the Building Community Through Education initiative, please visit or contact Shari Bax, UCM vice provost for student experience and engagement, at “Like” Building Community Through Education on Facebook: and follow us on Twitter @BuildThruEd.