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By Ed Sibby

Man building wooden desk

Learning online poses many challenges for students and teachers. Among them is simply having enough space to work and study in their homes. When educators in Rialto saw and heard that some students needed a proper place to do school work, Rialto Education Association started a fundraiser to build desks for Rialto students to use during distance learning.

Wood materials for building desks

REA worked with community partners to magnify the impact and ensure the project’s success. Almost $4,000 for materials was donated by teachers (retired and current) and by friends and family of a Rialto teacher in memory of her father. The Rialto United Methodist Church and the First Baptist Church of Rialto provided two places to build and use of their facilities. About 40 volunteers, including teachers, custodians, librarians, their family members, members of the Rialto Lions Club, and foreign exchange students, gave up their Saturday to help build.

Finished desks

For educators and supporters who wanted to participate but could not attend the build dates, teachers and their friends were able to take materials home to build desks on their own.

REA President Lisa Lindberg emphasized the power of community to assist those struggling during the pandemic. “When we put the needs of students first, we can accomplish great things.” After all were collected from the volunteers, the effort produced 150 desks for distribution to students who need them.