Volunteer Ventures MA
Building Community Through Service
How It Works
Desk Mates, a program of Volunteer Ventures MA Inc., was developed to provide volunteer- built wooden desks at no cost to students who lack a personal study and learning space at home.
Launched in January 2021 amidst the COVID pandemic, Desk Mates has been a smashing success, with over 220 quality hand-made desks provided to students, families and nonprofit programs for youth. Our 150+ volunteer builders have included youth and adult groups from synagogues and churches, high school service groups, civic organizations such as the Girl Scouts, and scores of individuals with a wide range of building skill and experience. The key innovation of Desk Mates is that volunteer builders are supplied with a ‘build-it-yourself kit’ that contains all the materials, components and instructions necessary to construct, sand and finish a desk. The kit materials are all pre-cut and pre-drilled so builders are able to build without needing to purchase, measure or cut any materials. The kits have enabled volunteer builders to continue to participate in meaningful, impactful community service, safely at home during the COVID pandemic when gathering in groups was not recommended. Builders need to supply their own power drill/driver and sander, and familiarity with basic woodworking methods is very helpful. Teams of 2-3 builders is recommended. An instructional video and written directions are available.
Desk Mates’ initial design was aimed for use by young elementary school children. However, after several inquiries about desks for larger people, we now offer three sizes to meet user needs:
18 inches deep x 24 inches wide x 26 inches tall
18 inches deep x 24 inches wide x 30 inches tall
18 inches deep x 30 inches wide x 30 inches tall (for a wider work surface)
We are now also offering single shelf bookshelves to fit on top of each desk. The bookshelves are also offered to builders in a ‘kit’ with all supplies and ready for construction. Kits are picked up from and completed items are returned to the VVMA workshop in Lexington.
Desk and bookshelf kits are available at a per-unit price. Group desk-building events with Desk Mates leaders are arranged on an individual basis and can take place in a group’s home community or at a Desk Mates site. Delivery to a Desk Mates Community Partner or school is arranged through Volunteer Ventures.