Teen Builds More Than 100 Desks for Online Schooling of Children in Need, Free of Charge

Photo: (Photo : Desks for Distance on Facebook)

The last weeks of summer saw a teen from Virginia building free desks for children in need, in time for their online schooling.

Colby Samide is a rising junior at Woodgrove High School. Like most students learning remotely, he struggled to find a dedicated space to work on with stores closed and supplies limited due to the pandemic.

Last spring, he needed to have a desk to put in his bedroom as the family's dining table is too loud for him. However, he didn't feel that the desk he bought fits the purpose; it was high and too small. Not to mention that he often gets distracted with the game console just within reach.

Fortunately, he has a knack for woodworking. Thus, the teen, who also hopes to be an engineer or an architect someday, built a desk for himself and set it up in the guest bedroom. "I love that thing," he told People. He furthered that his desk is a great place for him to sit down as it prevents him from procrastinating, and what needs to be done gets done.

Building his own desk made him realize that underprivileged kids need them too

Making that custom desk made him realize another thing: there are underprivileged families out there who are probably worrying about how they could provide a desk for their child's online schooling. This is the perfect opportunity to give back to his community.

Inspired by the group "Desks by Dads," Samide created a dedicated Facebook page, Desks for Distance, on which he could reach out to families who might be needing a workstation for their child.

"I recently came across a group located in Maryland called 'Desks by Dads,' he wrote on his Facebook page. He said he wanted to give back to the community for a while now. "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."

Overwhelming support

In a matter of days, he was able to raise over $4,000 as requests also flooded. The support was overwhelming that he had to ask people to stop donating because he already has more than what he needs. He finished 40 desks over the Labor Day weekend. It took him 45 minutes to build one desk at a cost of about $40.

He wanted to build 60 more desks before school starts, and thankfully, with the help of volunteers from Moss Building & Design, he was able to accomplish his goal of building 100 desks. A "golden moment," he describes that milestone.

His first delivery was for a student at Creighton's Corner Elementary School in Ashburn. Kate Kurtzke, a fourth-grade teacher at that school reached out to Colby upon learning that the family of one of her students cannot afford a desk for the online learning.

It only took one day and Colby was able to buld and deliver the free desk. Kurtzke told People that she made Colby sign the desk because it is his work of art.

When asked by NBC News what he learned from the experience, he said, "Be positive and spread kindness."

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