Almost any weekend in their Wylie neighborhood, if you follow the buzz of power tools, you’ll find the Ames family seeking solace from the pandemic in a cloud of sawdust.
“Just kind of being together as a family, it's a way we can do something during this time,” said Scott Ames.
For a long time now, woodworking is how Scott and Lymari have carved out quality time with their boys Patrick and Emilio.
It’s a "no screen" time that gives them a chance to reconnect while crafting furniture not only for themselves but also for the community.
Though until this past Christmas, they never had an opportunity quite like the one that came their way from Wylie ISD.
“They said, ‘Hey, there are a lot of students who requested desks,” said Lymari.
It turns out a desk for remote learning topped the Christmas wish lists of about 100 of the 1,000 students participating in Wylie Way Christmas.
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The annual event, hosted by the district, provides gifts for students with some kind of financial need.
Though some were gifted, there weren't quite enough for every student in need.
As a teacher with some students still learning from home, it’s a request Scott understood well.
And with years of woodworking under their belts, the family of four knew they could make a dent in the list by spending their Christmas break at work in the garage.
“It was kind of an assembly line process,” said Scott.
After designing a desk that could comfortably fit students through high school with a built-in cubby to tuck away laptops and books, the Ames worked side by side cutting, assembling and staining 15 desks.
In about a week and a half, they were ready for delivery.
“You saw the kids' face light up. And like I said, we had given one to one kid and another kid was like, ‘Where's mine?’ And we said, ‘Ok. We're coming next week to get you your's’," said Lymari.
So with Emilio back at school in Houston, the other three have continued working through January to build even more.
“To give them their own school supplies, their own space is so important for their mental health and their own educational experience,” said Lymari.
It’s a gift they said is more than just a piece of furniture.
“It’s wood, but it's really love. That's what goes into it,” said Lymari.