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Mighty Mussels players use strength to help Franklin Park Elementary move into new building

The Fort Myers Mighty Mussels are known for stuffing the stat sheet, but players left their baseball bats and gloves behind to stuff hundreds of boxes of academic materials as Franklin Park Elementary prepares to move into its new building.

Just hours before the team’s School’s Out Celebration on May 31 at Hammond Stadium, Mighty Mussels players and coaches visited Franklin Park Elementary in Fort Myers, where they divided and conquered to help teachers and administrators box up books, files, learning materials and classroom supplies. Franklin Park has been operating from temporary buildings as its campus was under construction. The new school building will open in August.

“They have made a huge impact on our campus,” said Principal Mia German.

“They took a great burden off our team because they made the lift a little bit easier,” added David Fairman-Johnson, director of Community Partnership Schools at Franklin Park.

Franklin Park is one of three United Way Community Partnership Schools in Lee County that offer expanded learning opportunities, wellness initiatives, family and community engagement activities, and collaborative leadership to address barriers to success. By eliminating challenges like hunger, poverty, lack of access to health care and lack of an educational support system, students at Community Partnership Schools have opportunities for increased success and well-being.

“Having partnerships with the Minnesota Twins and Mighty Mussels – who came out here to come to the rescue and save the day, and lighten the load – really makes it feel like that much more of a community,” said Christine LoConte, volunteer center manager for United Way of Lee, Hendry, and Glades.

The May 31 service project was part of the Minnesota Twins’ Week of Service, which saw minor league and major league players, along with coaches and staff, contribute in meaningful ways to local charitable causes. Mighty Mussels players also sat down with students to chat about life as a minor league baseball player and what it takes to succeed in life.

“We’re just excited to be here, out in the community sweating, getting our hands dirty and letting our players be involved in the community,” said Dan Lauer, the team’s vice president of sales and marketing. “Engaging with the kids is a lot of fun for our guys.”

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