ARVADA, Colo. — Many low-income Colorado kids learning remotely due to the pandemic don't have a place to do their schoolwork, but this week's Denver7 Everyday heroes came up with a solution.
"I hope I’m making their lives a little bit better," Janota said.
For several weeks now, he's been building desks for low-income kids in the metro, stuck doing school from home because of the pandemic. The idea came from his brother and the Maryland group 'Desks By Dads.'
"They were building desks for kids in need who didn’t have a place to work and it didn’t even occur to me before he told me about it that this is a real thing that somebody working from home, who is a student, wouldn’t have somewhere to sit," Janota said. "I started thinking about it, and thought I have a bunch of tools, I could build these and I thought, maybe I’ll build ten. Maybe that will be enough, maybe that will satisfy the need in my local area."
Boy, was he wrong.
"Then, I started contacting schools to find out who might need them and they came back with lists of hundreds of names," Janota said.
That's where is wife, Kim Gonsalves, comes in. Together, they created a Facebook page and reached out to local schools. As they began building desks, help began pouring in.
"Seeing all these people come out of the community and say, 'I wanna help,'" Gonsalves said "The desks actually cost $22 for us to make. They’ll donate $22 and say, 'I want a kid to have a desk.'"
The small donation goes a long way. They were given a picture of a little girl who received one of their desks with a framed picture of a heart proudly sitting on it.
"It just brought tears to my eyes. The thought that this is something she didn’t have before, she didn’t have a place to do school," Janota said. "It’s really satisfying to be able to help somebody."
For this Arvada couple, that is payment enough—ten times over.
"Personally, what I got out of this is a great deal of hope. I feel that this has been an extremely rough year for multiple reasons and sometimes it felt very sad and very grim for the teachers. Personally, I got a great deal of hope and a really good feeling from the community who has reached out to complete strangers to help," Gonsalves said.
For more information or if you would like to donate money or supplies to the program, visit the Desks for Kids Facebook page.
Molly Hendrickson anchors Denver7 in the mornings from 4:30-7 a.m. She also features a different 7Everyday Hero each week on Denver7. Follow Molly on Facebook here and Twitter here. To nominate a hero in your life, click here.