A Spring Break Spent in Stitches

Sophia ’25 spent her spring break sewing facial masks, and it all started with a piece of fabric stashed in a drawer. Actually, it started long before that.

“I was doing some spring cleaning, and I found this raspberry fabric that my mom and dad bought when my mom was pregnant,” Sophia said. You see, after viewing the ultrasound, Sophie’s dad had nicknamed her “Raspberry,” due to her size at the time. “I put the fabric in my sewing drawer after my dad passed away in 2012.” But when she saw an article about making homemade masks to help stop the spread of COVID-19, she thought, “Why not use this fabric now?”

That led to a mask-making bonanza—not just for Sophia, but for a group of people that includes other Sidwell Friends students, family members, and neighbors. (Sophia is quick to confirm that everyone involved respects social distancing.) So far, they’ve donated masks to Central Union Mission, MedStar Hospitals, and Joseph’s House—Sophia can make a mask in about 15 minutes. Currently, the group is looking to donate the masks to other locations hit hard by COVID-19, particularly in light of new CDC recommendations that everyone wear cloth masks in locations where social distancing can be difficult.

The masks serve another purpose, too: For Sophia and her fellow makers, the masks help fill a need for community, something we’re all experiencing these days. “I’m in daily contact with almost all of the people who are involved,” Sophia said. “It’s nice to have something to reach out about.” And that doesn’t mean just sewing—her team depends on people who can cut fabric, procure supplies, and deliver completed masks to their destinations.

Forming the team and keeping her sewing machine humming has given Sophia a sense of agency. “Normally going on a break from school is a time to relax, but when a disease like COVID-19 is spreading through the world, it’s hard to relax when you feel powerless,” she said. “An hour of sewing can produce three masks that protect three people from getting sick. Being able to help is empowering.”

With the guidance of the School’s Center for Ethical Leadership, we have launched the Friends In Deed campaign to support our students with needed supplies to continue their great work with lifesaving service to our local communities.

Many Sidwell Friends students are involved in serving others during this time. If you know of a student who is making masks or serving in some other way, please email communications@sidwell.edu for possible inclusion in a future story.


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