Skip to main content

Desk Model

I think I will start a resume for Ben - he's been in videos about Kindergarten readiness and literacy, and now, he is here modeling a special cut out desk. Who knows who might coming knocking next?

Duke Energy ran this story:
Hydro Employee Uses Gift to Craft Furniture for Students

Don Ligon builds desks for special-needs children. If you’ve never worked with special-needs children, it’s something you’ve probably never thought about. It had never crossed Don Ligon’s mind.

But when a friend told him about how special-needs children require special desks and the problem she was having finding them for students in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system, he understood. And then Ligon had a light bulb moment. He was already involved with woodworking as a hobby and had made several pieces of furniture over the years. Why not build the desks for the children?

Now, at least once every year, he delivers a batch of solid-oak desks for students. He’s built more than 150 over the last decade.

“What started as a hobby went to a ministry and then a small business,” said Ligon, Hydro Central lead coordinator and 35-year Duke Energy employee. “It’s still a ministry. I didn’t know it at the time, but one of the first desks I made went to a girl in my church who was paralyzed because of a car accident and in a wheelchair.”

What’s so special about these desks and why won’t regular ones do?

Ligon’s friend, the head physical therapist in the school system, explained that special-needs children who have certain medical, physical and emotional conditions often require desks that will stand up to a lot more wear and tear than normal. The desks the school system had been ordering were not holding up well.

“When she explained the situation, it all made sense to me,” Ligon said. “They were spending money on stuff that would tear up.”

That’s unlikely with Ligon’s desks. He fashions them from solid-red oak boards. They’re about two-by-three feet and include features such as foot stools, circular cutouts to accommodate wheelchairs sliding underneath and rounded edges, which are safer for the students.

The desks are so sturdy, they don’t need replacing. The school system will sometimes ask Ligon to refinish the tops, which can become worn over time, but that’s it.

After paying for materials, Ligon makes little money from the endeavor. But then, money was never the point.

His motivation comes from something far deeper.


Popular posts from this blog

Catching up with Ben

  I wish I had more time to write on eSpeciallyBen . Ben teaches us lessons on a regular basis: Smile often, give hugs, sit down and savor the moment, grab someone's hand to let them know you care and laugh with abandon–even if it annoys your brother. Ben will be 18 this summer. He attends high school in-person and enjoys seeing his classmates and teachers each day. In the photo above, it's 6 a.m. and he's can't wait to get on the bus. As for most people, the pandemic has been tough. Ben's in-person activities, camps and programs were canceled. He's happy to see grandma when we met on a Charlotte greenway or park. Ben seeks out social interactions and being quarantined away from friends and family was even more difficult because he didn't understand why. Ben's teacher sends me photos of him throughout the week. They just finished a rousing game of catch here.  Thank you for following eSpeciallyBen. If you want to see what I'm working on now, find me

A Lesson on Supplemental Security Income

In October, I received a letter from Social Security Administration saying that Ben no longer qualified for SSI AND we owed a very large over payment for two years of SSI that Ben did receive. The letter showed that we owned two of the same car. I knew this was wrong and immediately wrote a letter. I thought it was a computer glitch. Over the past five months, I have met with Social Security, spoke with several people over the phone and wrote countless letters providing documentation to show the cars we actually owned and filed appeals for the decision to revoke Ben's SSI during the two year period they think we owned these two cars. Tomorrow I have another meeting. I am hoping we can get this straightened out. This situation has caused a lot of stress for us and has taken a tremendous amount of our time trying to unravel the problem. I have not written a post in almost a month, partially because my brain power has been consumed with this issue and the bathroom saga (qualifies

Parenting an Adult Child with Disabilities: Talking About the Future

Ben in the middle with Dad (left), Carla Payne with Aging Care Matters and Mom This is the first of several posts about parenting an adult child with a disability. Ben will be 19 this summer; I am learning along the way. As always, I hope to pass on resources and wisdom. Discuss the future.  If your adult child is able to participate in planning for their future, ask them how they envision it. Let them draw a picture. Ask them to tell you a story. Maybe they can sign a few words that mean a lot to them. Find a way to get them involved. How do they see themselves living? By themselves, in a group home, with another family or with a sibling? Where do they want to live? In another city, in an apartment, in a house? How far away do they want to live from family? What level of independence can they handle? Do they want someone to check in on them? Do they want to find a job? Do they need a job coach or supportive employment? Who will help them with their finances? Is there someone they tru