Congratulations to George and Kim Melnyk, Jr. - winner of the 2021 Governor's Volunteerism and Community Service Award for Outstanding Volunteer Family! For low income students in Hampton Roads, the pandemic created a whole new set of challenges, from scarcity of school supplies to wi-fi accessibility. Even having a desk for virtual classes and homework was a major issue for many families. For George and Kim Melnyk, Jr., owners of Premier Millwork, this particular need turned out to be a perfect fit for the family.
As soon as they were contacted by CHIP (Children’s Health Investment Program) of South Hampton Roads, they jumped at the chance to serve – something they’ve been doing their whole lives. Premier Millwork began producing collapsible desks for kids in need immediately and the Desk for Success program was born!
George initially committed to making 220 desks and offered to assist with raising funds to cover the materials. After some local media coverage, requests for desks skyrocketed and Kim jumped into action and recruited fellow members of the Virginia Beach School Board and many others to volunteer on Saturdays to help sand and wrap desks. The project was also featured on the Mike Rowe program “Returning the Favor,” which today has 2.5+ million views.
The impact of the Desk for Success program could be seen in the eyes of the children receiving their desks. They saw that they were not forgotten, that they were valued and even in the most difficult of circumstances, their education was a priority. Over 2,100 children were shown the dignity and support that they deserve and local teachers have expressed their sincere gratitude saying it was reassuring to know that the community was behind them.
The Melnyks, who volunteer in a variety of ways in the community, have shown what can be accomplished with hard work and ingenuity. When others see an unsurmountable task, George and Kim simply get started and get it done.
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