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Teenagers make masks to protect their community during pandemic

Posted at 5:52 PM, May 20, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A group of teenagers recognized a need for more masks in their community, so they took action and started making masks themselves.

The young men sat at a table with cloth, scissors and sewing pins next to several completed masks.

"The number of masks we made was probably about 150, and we're still in the process of making more," said 18 year-old Christopher Newell.

Jocelyn Winston has been helping them with cutting, sewing and applying filters to the masks.

They're staying at Morey House, a safe home in Buffalo for boys ages 13 to 21 years old. They're learning many skills there, like protecting themselves from the coronavirus.

"I brought in fabric, I brought in patterns, and I showed them how to cut and pin the patterns," said Winston, Quality of Life Specialist for Child and Family Services.

"I myself wanted a mask for a while so I had to start making myself one," said Newell. "And then I saw that other people needed it in the community so I just started making them for other people too. All of us did."

The C District police station is collecting masks to distribute them among families and people in the community in need. So the boys asked Winston if they could help by making more masks.

"Other people don't have things like me. Like people don't have food, people don't have shelter and stuff," said 20 year-old David "DJ" Lewis-Johnson. "And people don't have masks for the pandemic, and I feel sorry for them because those people are getting sick, and ending up in the hospital."

"Being young men, they're out there and they recognize who may need them. And like some of them have shared, they recognize how fortunate they are and want to be able to help those in need," said Dana Szalay, Director of Residential Treatment.

While they've learned this new skill that helps so many others, there's one more lesson Winston wants them to learn.

"I always try and stress to the kids that your beginning doesn't have to be your destiny. So when people give to you, you need to want to give back because that's how the world revolves," said Winston.