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Lifestyle & Human Interest

Kindhearted Teenager Is Building Free Desks for Kids in Need

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As people started working from home, they worked at tables, on couches and sitting in bed. Much like students.

And, much like students, many of them have realized that it can be very difficult, uncomfortable and distracting to work in a space that was not designed for concentration.

While most home offices have been well-established by now, with the start of school, many people have faced the issue of not having a designated area for their child to “do school.”

“Stores weren’t open,” Brooklyn-based parent educator Katherine Hill told People. “People hesitated to buy something for a situation we all hoped would be very temporary.”

While Hill said using the kitchen table for a brief period of time when a child needs assistance is useful, she noted that procuring a desk is “a concrete thing parents can do to feel like they’re helping their kids get ready for school.”

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But soon people started snapping up desks, and it was hard to find sturdy, useful ones that parents could buy on the cheap.

Colby Samide from Purcellville, Virginia, knows the feeling of an inadequate study space, and he set out to turn kids’ lives around.

“It’s sad knowing there are kids that can’t afford them,” the 17-year-old said.

His own desk was too small and cramped to really be able to use effectively, so he built his own L-shaped unit that allowed him to sprawl studiously.

“I love that thing — it’s awesome,” Samide said. “My desk is a great place for me to sit down, not procrastinate and get things done. I know it’s hard to do that when you’re sitting on the floor or the kitchen table.”

Samide possesses woodworking skills, which allowed him to build his own custom desk, and allowed him to offer to build simply, sturdy desks for other kids in a similar situation.

Going social, he set up “Desks for Distance” on Facebook, and started a fundraiser to pay for supplies, planning to use his last week of summer freedom to build desks.

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Within about 48 hours, Samide had received $2,000. He told the Loudoun Times-Mirror that it takes about 45 minutes for him to assemble each desk once the wood is cut, and the materials cost about $40 per desk.

“It absolutely blew up,” he told PEOPLE. “People kept sharing it.”

While many people spent Labor Day weekend relaxing or celebrating, he built 40 desks. He has plans to hit 100, and in a recent post on his Facebook page, he revealed a partnership with a local company.

“Exciting news!” he posted Wednesday. “On 9/28, Me and MOSS building and design (Chantilly) will be teaming up to do a build day! We are planning around 50 desks in one day – I’m looking forward to it!”

He’s already helped out many kids, and teachers have pointed him to students who could really use the pieces.

One teacher, who also asked him to sign his works of art, said of Samide, “He’s such a generous and kind kid.”

A student himself, Samide planned to do one more big build and then focus on his own schooling.

“After this build day, I am planning on stopping to focus on my Junior year,” he continued in his post.

“I am planning on possibly doing more desks around Christmas to give away. Updates to come on that.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking