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Grade A: Teacher Builds Handmade Wooden Desks For Students Learning Remotely

While conducting lessons online, Iowa teacher Nate Evans started to notice that a number of his students were sitting on the floor, or on beds, or couches, while attending his virtual classes. The seventh-grade literary teacher has had to adjust to remote-teaching, like many teachers across the country, but he also has previous work experience as a carpenter.

He decided to put his years of woodworking skills to use, and craft wooden desks from scratch for his students without.

Woodworking with a Purpose/Facebook

Evans decided to build these desks and deliver them to his pupil’s houses free of charge, recognizing that their families may not have the means to get them.

When he first went to purchase materials from a hardware store, Evans only intended on making around a dozen desks. He even painted the handcrafted desks in bright, happy colors. Soon, he started receiving donation requests. Then, they came pilling in.

“It’s for kids who have absolutely nothing to kids who have everything they’ve wanted but don’t have this space because it wasn’t available, “Somebody had to provide it and I thought, ‘Why not me?””

Nate Evans
Woodworking with a Purpose/Facebook

With help from more than 50 volunteers, a grassroots effort formed, called Woodworking with a Purpose. So far, 600 desks have been crafted for students in need and the group has planned to make even more. Suddenly, Evans found himself feeling ambitious, wanting to make 2,020 desks by the end of 2020, a sort of “2020 desk giveaway.”

“I became a teacher to help kids, that was it. It wasn’t for the summer breaks. I want to see them learn and grow … learn and grow in my classroom … I want to see them learn and grow at home too.”

Nate Evans

Each desk costs around $20-25 to make, and have been created in either Evans’ garage or a rented storage unit. While Evans had paid for the first desks directly out of his own pocket, Woodworking With A Purpose is trying to raise $30,000 to make more furniture.

Woodworking with a Purpose is fiscally sponsored by CORE Foundation Inc, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. To contribute and encourage Evans and volunteers to continue the project, visit here.

Written by Abigale Racine