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Georgia 4-H'er uses Project Achievement skills to sew masks for children

By for CAES News

With the current shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks, children visiting the hospital for emergency needs do not have proper protection from COVID-19. Emma Wilson, a 10-year-old from Hancock County, is using her 4-H Project Achievement skills to help by sewing masks specifically for children.

“I have several family members who work in the medical field,” said Wilson. “My uncle, who is an ER nurse, told me about all the children coming into the ER with injuries because they are out of school and playing more. They were coming to the ER without masks and being exposed to COVID patients in the hospital.”

In response, Wilson began her Keep Kids Safe project. Using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and surgical mask patterns, Wilson created CDC-approved cotton masks made specifically to fit children. The masks are washable which, allows the masks to be worn multiple times.

Wilson enjoys creating masks with fun and colorful fabrics for children to enjoy.  She feels this eases the tension and anxiety of having to wear a mask.

To date, she has made 40 masks and has set a personal goal of creating 100 per month. She has donated  masks to two local hospitals and has received requests from schools, churches and medical professionals.

Wilson’s sewing skills and her passion allowed her to win first place in Creative Stitchery for the 2020 Georgia 4-H Junior Project Achievement. Her project focused on improving horse braiding pouches for her English and Fox Hunt horses during show competitions, which often require the horse’s mane to be braided.

Wilson says participating in Georgia 4-H Project Achievement improved her sewing skills, which helped with the Keep Kids Safe project. She was inspired to begin the mask-making project by her neighbor, retired University of Georgia Extension Agent Brenda Vaughn, who is also sewing masks to aid in the PPE shortage.

Vaughn’s masks are designed to cover N95 masks, are reusable and are targeted towards medical professionals. Wilson hopes to further improve her sewing skills by taking sewing lessons from Vaughn once normal socialization activities resume.

“I love 4-H,” Wilson said. “I hope everyone can stay home, wear their masks and get healthy so the 4-H summer programming can happen. I plan to attend summer camp at Rock Eagle (4-H Center) as well as participate in the 4-H State Horse Show and 4-H Horse Judging.”

Georgia 4-H empowers youth to become true leaders by developing necessary life skills, positive relationships and community awareness. As the largest youth leadership organization in the state, 4-H reaches more than 242,000 people annually through the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension offices and 4-H facilities. For more information, visit georgia4h.org.

Georgia 4-H empowers youth to become true leaders by developing necessary life skills, positive relationships and community awareness. As the largest youth leadership organization in the state, 4-H reaches more than 242,000 people annually through the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension offices and 4-H facilities. For more information, visit georgia4h.org.

Cristina deRevere is the public relations coordinator for Georgia 4-H.
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