This past summer, Colby Samide, a 17-year-old junior at Woodgrove High School in Purcellville, Va., decided to use his woodworking skills to help underprivileged students in his community receive free desks for their remote learning sessions. By fall, there were 120 desk donations.
It all started as Samide began building a desk for himself. He soon realized that other students didn’t have a proper desk and lacked the means to obtain one. He started building dozens of desks and launched a nonprofit, Desks for Distance, on Facebook. Local businesses quickly joined the effort and the program took off.
Moss Building & Design, a residential remodeling company in Chantilly, Va., hosted a day-long BuildAPalooza event on Sept. 28, supplying the materials, warehouse space and volunteers to build 50 desks.
“I’m incredibly thankful for Moss Building & Design’s help in pulling together so many resources and local organizations for BuildAPalooza,” said Samide. “I never imagined that this idea could get so big, but I’m so grateful for all the volunteers and donations to help so many local students in need.”
Lowe’s provided $3,000 worth of materials and volunteers to help with assembly. “We have been highly involved in community partnerships and organizations for years, as giving back to the local community has been a cornerstone of our principles since the company’s founding,” Lowe’s CEO Paul DesRoches said in a statement. “When we learned about Desks for Distance and Colby’s incredible work, we knew that we could offer our building expertise and area contacts to help this young man fulfill his mission and vision.”
Lowe’s also gave him a $10,000 gift card and money for college. Samide is currently taking a well-deserved break but there’s a great deal more to learn about this ongoing effort at facebook.com/Desks4Distance.
This article was originally published in the December 2020 issue.