Speed Reads

It wasn't all bad

Maryland dads spend their weekends building desks for kids in need

Several fathers in the Gaithersburg, Maryland, area are spending their weekends putting their carpentry skills to the test as they build desks for local students.

Al and Jessica Berrellez founded Desks by Dads earlier in the summer, after Jessica learned that several of the kids at her daughters' schools did not have desks at home, and would have to share the dining room table with their siblings or work from their beds during virtual learning. Wanting to ensure educational equity for all students, Jessica asked Al to come up with a prototype for a desk that was inexpensive and easy to make.

After some research, Al made a blueprint for a desk that could be built in one hour at a cost of about $40. Al and Jessica started sharing the plans with others, and soon, Desks by Dads was launched, with several local parents volunteering to spend part of their weekends working on desks. Al told Good Morning America each desk has its own personality, and "every time someone drops off a donated desk to our house, we get to share ideas and build connections. It's also an opportunity to highlight the strengths of Black and brown dads, and show what we can contribute."

So far, more than two dozen desks have been delivered to students, free of charge. Jessica said she hopes this inspires others to help students who may need some extra help amid the pandemic. "I think that's how change happens," she told GMA. "It requires everyday people doing small things and having that grow into something bigger."