There are many who have been making face masks as a way to help during this pandemic, but not many have done what Isabella Appell, a 17 year old high school junior from Thousand Oaks, California, has done.
See; Isabella was alarmed by reports of a lack of face masks available in the early days, has been making face masks since the Coronavirus pandemic began. Like plenty of others she has been just producing as many as she can. But one big difference is that Isabella, while not hard of hearing, has always been interested in learning sign language and is part of several Facebook groups for deaf people.
“I noticed that there were a lot of comments about how scary it was for them right now and how hard it was for them to communicate,” said Isabella. “I started researching on how I could accommodate these masks for everybody.”
So Isabella created Talking Masks, a small venture that makes masks featuring a clear plastic window. She cuts the fabric from a template she created, then sews the masks and inserts a piece of clear plastic vinyl over the mouth. This allows those who read lips to be able to see them.
To insure that peoples own breath doesn’t cause any issues she applies a de-fogging spray to the final product, so it doesn’t steam up when in use.
Isabella’s mother, Renee Appell, is awed by her daughter’s dedication to supporting the deaf community during the pandemic, while at the same time still keeping up with her demanding schoolwork.
“She would do homework or study until 10 or 11 at night, and then would cut and sew until two or three in the morning and start the whole process over again early the next morning,” said Renee Appell. “When she finds something she believes in, she gives it everything she has, and she is dedicated to this cause like nothing we’ve seen before.”
Isabella has been offering them over her website; talking-masks.com, all she asks is that those who want or need a mask make a small donation and pay the shipping fee. Though if you truly wish to be helpful you might consider learning how to make talking masks of your own; because even working tirelessly this one girl has only been able to make 300 masks.
Still a significant effort and if you are interested in knowing more you can find it in your Good News Story of the Day here. All the money from the donations goes to the Hearing Aid Project, a nonprofit group that supplies hearing aids to those who can’t afford them.
Story and Image from CNN.