In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

February 9, 2021

Carving out comfort: Resident’s woodworking hobby provides desks for kids in need

By In the Loop
Ilia Shadrin, M.D., Ph.D., an internal medicine resident at Mayo Clinic, has joined forces with Michael Dean, another woodworking hobbyist, to build desks for children in Rochester who need them. They're at 30 desks and counting.

Ilia Shadrin, M.D., Ph.D., an internal medicine resident at Mayo Clinic, has joined forces with Michael Dean, another woodworking hobbyist, to build desks for children in Rochester who need them. They're at 30 desks and counting.


"I wanted to figure out what to do with some extra time in quarantine," Ilia Shadrin, M.D., Ph.D., tells Med City Beat in a recent story.

Dr. Shadrin, an internal medicine resident at Mayo Clinic, may downplay his time spent on his hobby, but it's ended up making a big difference for many kids in the Rochester area.

Dr. Shadrin, like many other parents of young kids during COVID-19, was helping his daughter with her distance learning when he noticed that some of her classmates were working in makeshift spaces less than ideal for schoolwork. Dr. Shadrin, who loves woodworking, had an idea.

What if he could combine his hobby with building desks for kids in need?

"I love woodworking, and I saw an article about a Florida man making desks for kids. I thought, 'Wow, this could be a really cool thing,' and got to it," he tells Med City Beat.

Dr. Shadrin at first built 10 desks that were distributed to kids at Riverside Central Elementary — where his daughter attends school.

A casual conversation with fellow Mayo Clinic resident Kaylie Pierce, D.O., led him to tools, support and extra hands he needed to expand his project and get desks to more kids.

Dr. Pierce's fiancé, Michael Dean, also happens to be a woodworker, with a three-bay garage he's set up as a woodshop.

The two woodworkers joined forces and have since built 30 desks for students at Riverside Central Elementary. And they're not done yet.

The requests keep coming from parents of other kids in the school. So Dr. Shadrin and Dean plan to keep building more desks, which are helping kids get comfortable while studying and take pride in their schoolwork.

"Kids are decorating the desks and really taking pride in it," Matt Ruzek, principal of Riverside Central Elementary, tells Med City Beat. "I love popping into a class meeting and seeing that they're sitting at a desk that they are proud of and appreciate. It's truly amazing how this has worked out."

Read the full story in Med City Beat.

Tags: Community, Dr. Ilia Shadrin, Dr. Kaylie Pierce, Michael Dean

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