We cannot mask our appreciation for the many ways our students have been going above and beyond to help those who are in need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Students from the high school service clubs have started various initiatives, from sending letters to our frontline workers, to fundraising for the migrant workers in Singapore, to sending beautiful artworks to support families, friends, front liners, and patients.
We recently caught wind of another amazing initiative started by a middle school student with the help of her fellow peers. Eighth grade student Shannon K. first heard of the dire need for medical masks during dinner with her parents. She had heard that her mom's friend, a doctor in Singapore, was worried about the lack of medical masks for healthcare workers.
As soon as Shannon was done with dinner, she hurried to her room to sew together a couple of pleats to a couple of fabric straps. Before her family was done cleaning up after dinner, she handed them her first prototype of a reusable mask! She received positive feedback and encouragement from her family members.
After thoroughly researching, Shannon soon realized that she wasn't the only one who had thought of sewing masks. Huge companies in the US were already making masks for their medical communities. She decided that she'd like to do the same for her own community in Singapore.
Shannon was thrilled at the possibility of helping those who were in need, but before she could begin, she needed to learn how she could make the masks more efficiently. Shannon immediately began researching on YouTube for ideas and reached out to her eighth grade friends for help. Together, they started Masks for SG, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing healthcare workers with homemade masks.
Shannon recognized that the TRi Time project she did in sixth grade and her National History Day project from eighth grade helped her feel more confident about the new task she had in mind. She shared, "With the help of my amazing teachers, learning how to use a sewing machine, as well as developing and managing my own project played a huge role in my ideation of the organization, Masks for SG."
When asked about the process of making the masks, Shannon shared that it takes her 10 to 15 minutes to make one mask. Typically, she would spend a couple of hours a day sewing, packaging, and delivering masks.
Shannon has received mostly positive feedback from the people who have received the masks. However, she recalled the backlash she faced during the early stages of Masks for SG. Some members of the public thought that she was trying to profit off of the COVID-19 pandemic through the sale of the masks. She and her team had to clarify that all masks for the medical facilities are free of charge, however, masks for the general public could be bought at $5 to support further production.
The Masks for SG team has been committed to their cause since day one. Here are some of the members and their role in the team:
1. Lauren L. from 8A is in charge of video editing, website building, and managing the budget.
2. Lauren K. from 8A sends emails to hospitals and clinics and communicates with organizations in Singapore to collaborate and share ideas.
3. Lauren A. from 8C helps with Masks for SG's social media presence (Instagram, Facebook, Carousell) and website.
4. The crew of mask sewers: Katherine M., Chloe H., and Natalie H.
Masks for SG has surpassed its goal of raising S$600 for their cause. Shannon has made almost 300 masks by hand, and the team currently has enough material to make at least 200 more masks. She has pledged to donate the excess money to Singapore's National Center for Infectious Diseases.
Find out more about Masks for SG:
- extraordinary care
- masks for SG