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Colorado dad builds desks to give students a place to learn at home

Desks for Kids supports kids who have to learn remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing them free desks.

COLORADO, USA — Eric Janota is spending most of his free time in the garage of his Arvada home at his new desk job — building desks for students who are forced to study at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

His real job is working for National Geographic as a cartographer, but lately he’s been mapping out his latest design for desks. He has spent the last three weeks making desks, with the aim of giving kids a place at home to get their homework done.

“I can’t imagine a second grader trying to learn remotely when they’re sitting on the dining room table or on the floor or in their bed," Janota said. "So we’re trying to make it a little bit easier, just have one less hurdle to get over to try and learn this year because it’s really difficult."

He came across the Facebook page "Desks by Dads," which is based out of Maryland.  

“The driving force was I have these tools; I can do this easily," Janota said. "For me, building the $22 desk is not much money to me, but that might be food for a day for somebody, and if the family is picking between getting a desk they don’t have the tools to build anyway and getting dinner, I feel like I can help make this an easier process for them."

Credit: KUSA

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Bonnie Montaño's three girls attending school in Arvada all got a desk.  

“Really having a workspace that they can sit down and personalize their own way and have it be just something that they create, it gives them a little bit more pride in to wanting to actually do their work,” Montaño said. 

“I think that it’s a really good idea because some kids don’t really have like a desk or like a table they can go to,” said Emma Coon, a seventh grader at North Arvada Middle School.

Her sister Isabelle said she plans on putting hers next to her bed.

Credit: KUSA

Janota said it takes him anywhere from an hour to an hour 1/2 to make one desk. He makes two sizes.

“Now we have an order for 100 more, and [when] those are all gone, it’s just a huge demand — a huge need — for some place for people to have a spot to learn," Janota said.

The desks are for kids in need, he said, whose parents wouldn’t otherwise be able to buy a desk for their child.

Janota said he plans on making the desks for a while and hopes he can recruit some other builders and maybe even get some donations along the way. 

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