Coppell-based VARIDESK has teamed up with Dallas Mavericks guard J.J. Barea, through his nonprofit foundation, to help renovate four schools and bring desks and schools supplies to Puerto Rico as students head back to school this week. For eight-year-old Hector Torres, who attends Juan Lino Santiago elementary school, it means he and his classmates get brand-new standing desks and a renovated, freshly painted basketball court.
Several months ago, VARIDESK, a company that provides active workspaces solutions – from height adjustable desks, to storage solutions, to moveable walls – acquired a company that creates standing desks for students. “Many schools in Puerto Rico were all but destroyed – and many of the existing schools are being consolidated without enough resources,” said Jason McCann, CEO and co-founder of VARIDESK. “We wanted to help with an immediate solution that will have a lasting impact and set students up for success.”
That led to a partnership with J.J. Barea. A Puerto Rican native, J.J. attended Academia Inmaculada Concepcion in Mayaguez. He returned to his alma mater and three other of the hardest hit schools on the west side of the island. Together, J.J, VARIDESK and community volunteers, helped build desks and paint and rebuild basketball courts.
“The schools here still need a lot of help to recover from the hurricane, which is why I’m so thankful for this partnership with VARIDESK,” said Barea. “When I come home to the school I grew up in, it breaks my heart to see the devastation. I’m hoping this effort will bring hope to the students here and encourage them to keep pursuing their education. The desks are amazing, and I think the kids are going to love it. For me when I was a kid, if I could have been standing in a classroom, I would have done a lot better.”
With help from CEVA Logistics, VARIDESK donated nearly 500 desks for students, teachers and administrators – valued at more than $300,000 of products. The effort culminated with a basketball camp for local children and a special ceremony to rededicate the schools.
“It’s been amazing to be here in Puerto Rico,” said McCann. “The volunteers, the community, everybody that has been involved with us were incredible. The reward my team and I are getting is actually much bigger than simply donating 500 desks. We feel the heart, the pure love, and the pride of the people – it’s about those things and the positive impact we can have. It just shows you such great hope after so much pain has hit this community, everybody is pulling together to do the right thing and we’re honored to be a part of it.”
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