Scott sews hope
There is a famous Mister Rogers quote that tells people to look to the helpers during scary times. One needs to look no further than to LPHS social studies teacher Kelly Scott, who when she is not navigating the uncharted waters of full-time eLearning is making desperately needed masks for medical professionals.
The jump into making the masks was not a difficult one for Scott. She makes handmade dog collars to sell at craft fairs on weekends, so many people know how talented she is with a sewing machine.
“Folks began tagging me in articles about handmade masks being used in states like Washington and Florida because of the depletion of supplies due to the deadly pandemic,” Scott said.
She quickly learned how to construct the masks from watching YouTube videos, but she was not sure that her talents would be needed around the area, but as the country knows, everything changed quickly with COVID-19.
“Within three days, the largest hospital around us became one of the top three hospitals in NWI that had a shortage of supplies and was urging mask makers to donate. With it being so close to home, I feel extremely compelled to do my part and share my talents,” Scott said.
Scott joined a Facebook group with people around NWI who were also making masks for distribution. The group showed how to make two different types of masks–one for hospitals and one for healthcare facilities. Scott knew the demand was growing and reached out to loved ones for help.
“I put it out there to my friends and received waves of donations that still makes me emotional to think about,” Scott said. “The amount of kind words and monetary donations gave me the ambition and ability to go out the day before the lockdown of all non-essential businesses and purchase the supplies to make 500+ masks.”
Scott quickly went to work and started fulfilling requests.
“After I make the masks, I put them in a pick-up bin that is on my doorstep. People message me and then come grab as many as they need, and every day I replenish the stock,” Scott said.
Scott enlisted the help of her twin sister and fellow LPHS teacher Mrs. Ramer to keep up with the need, and they have continued to provide masks to the medical heroes. The sisters work efficiently and effectively, even managing large requests.
“The largest request I’ve received is 100 masks for a local nursing home! With the help of Mrs. Ramer doing all the work that doesn’t require the machine, we were able to drop those masks off at their facility just three days after the request,” Scott said.
Scott has heard positive feedback on the masks she has made.
“The masks that I use are made with two layers of 100% cotton with a layer of fusible interfacing on the inside. Once I sew the mask body, I do a few simple pleats and attach the elastic on both sides,” Scott said.
Making masks is not only helping make a difference for medical professionals. It is helping Scott, too. Her passion for teaching is palpable, and with the abrupt closure of schools, she has had to come to grips with not being with her students.
“This has been an incredibly emotional few weeks. Though we are doing eLearning, it is so difficult to one day be in your classroom with your students and the very next your purpose is just gone. The sudden change left me feeling pretty empty, but making masks has rejuvenated my purpose,” Scott said.
Scott–whether in the classroom or in the community–is a servant leader. She finds a way to use her talents to help others, and it is a lesson she hopes to share with her students when life returns to normal.
“It feels really great to serve my community and be a living part of history. As a social studies educator, I am so very proud to be acting as a modern day Rosie the Riveter, and I cannot wait to share this experience with my students for the rest of my career. I hope it inspires them to be the change,” Scott said.
Scott, the one who is normally teaching the lessons, has learned one from this unprecedented experience.
“It all comes back to people being their true and beautiful self. The take home message of this entire experience for me hasn’t been the fear of what our world is becoming but the importance of always looking for the beauty of humanity,” Scott said. “It is still there, and will always be there.”
Look to the helpers.