This grandmother is building a new life -- literally

CINCINNATI -- Joanne Richardson, a mother of four and grandmother of three, needed a change after 15 years of working in customer service. She knew she wanted to become a homeowner and gain practical skills, and her desk job wasn't getting her there.

So she picked up a hammer.

Richardson is one of 27 Avondale residents receiving construction skills training through a program partially funded by Children's Hospital. RWB Construction has provided classes to the group since mid-September, teaching them carpentry, framing and the proper way to operate heavy machinery.

RWB Vice President Larry Bryant said the goal is for trainees to take their skills back to the Avondale community and participate in the many construction projects in that area.

"The biggest distinguishing factor in our program is the offer of employment," Bryant said. "We have commitments out of these folks to place most of these graduates next Friday."

Richardson will be one of them. She said Friday she wants to be one of the workers rebuilding Avondale Towne Center, revitalizing her community and transforming her own life in the process.

"It makes you feel so good," she said. "I feel so good everyday when I come to this class, and leave this class. I'm learning from it. I'm taking something away from this."

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