In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are setting up home offices and classrooms than ever before.
Colby Samide, a junior at Woodgrove High School in Purcellville, Virginia, is one of many students who will be learning remotely for at least part of the school year. Right away, he realized the importance of having a dedicated workspace at home.
About a year ago, the teen became interested in woodworking. So with stores closed and home office items in limited supply, he decided to build a desk for himself. When he finished, he found himself thinking about all the other kids who might not have access to the money, materials, or skills needed to create a work station as he had.
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“With the upcoming school year all online due to COVID-19, I understand the need for a place to sit down and be focused,” he wrote on Facebook. “I can sometimes become distracted at times, but my desk is a place for me to sit down and get work done.”
He came across a Facebook group in Maryland that connects students in need with dads who volunteer to build desks, which is how he realized he had the skills to help others as well!
That’s when he started a Facebook page of his own called Desks for Distance and asked for donations to cover the cost of materials.
“It absolutely blew up,” he said. “People kept sharing it.” Less than two weeks later, he’d already raised over $4,000!
“I’ve wanted to give back to the community for a while now, and I finally know how,” he wrote. “I am going to build desks that are free to students that need them. My goal is to provide a desk for children and teens who cannot afford one.”
With the donations pouring in, Colby got to work, setting a goal to build 50 desks by himself over Labor Day weekend. Not only did he hit that goal, but he also surpassed it! After volunteers from Moss Building & Design, a local business, stepped in to help, he was able to produce 100 desks!
Each one costs about $40 and takes 45 minutes to build. Colby plans to spend one more full day making desks before he focuses on his own schoolwork. He hopes to pick up the mission again around the holidays so he can make an even bigger impact.
In addition to changing lives, he’s sharing a powerful message. “Be positive and spread kindness,” he said. “It’s just kind of great to be able to give back and help all these people.”
What an amazing way to support your community! Great work, Colby!
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