Desk Mates was launched in January 2021 to provide young students with desks to set up a personal study space at home. School closures due to the pandemic and the shift to home-based virtual learning amplified the problem that many students did not have a dedicated study space and needed to work in common areas of their homes. It is known that having a dedicated personal study space can enhance a student’s learning experience, so we set out to provide desks for those who needed them.
January 2021 was also a time of restricted activity with no public gathering in order to limit the spread of COVID. So, Volunteer Ventures (VVMA) founder Barry Glass and friends designed a desk ‘kit’ – complete with all the wood pieces, materials and supplies - so volunteer builders could build and finish a desk safely at home using some basic common tools. VVMA volunteers cut and put together the kits in the VVMA workshop, volunteer builders picked up kits and returned completed desks to the workshop, and VVMA arranged for delivery of desks to the recipient partner communities: public schools, homeless shelters, youth organizations and social assistance agencies.
Fast forward to November 2021 and we are proud to report that over 220 desks have been distributed to students and families from 16 schools and organizations that service youth. The over 150 volunteer builders have included individuals and groups, parents and their children, many from civic and faith organizations such as church and temple groups as well as the Girl Scouts and private high schools.
The need for desks remains high, and so Desk Mates is continuing its production to meet that need. As pandemic restrictions are easing, we are also now conducting in-person build events with schools and service groups. These build events are great ways to build community, learn building skills and give back to the community all while helping improve the at-home learning experience for young students.
For more information on Desk Mates and Volunteer Ventures MA, contact us at