You've seen the pictures, the ones with the healthcare workers taking off their masks after a long day and exposing bruises. You can't help but have a reaction, especially considering what doctors, nurses and first responders are already dealing with these days. Alex Rowlins '23 and his sister Cate saw the pictures, too. And during Xavier High School’s April break from online learning, the pair decided to do something about it locally.
Instead of traveling to the beach as the family planned before COVID-19, Alex and Cate, who is a student at the University of Vermont, spent April vacation working on special headbands with buttons to help some of their local health care workers. “We saw the pictures of doctors and first responders who had worn face masks and many of them after a long day had bruises on their faces,” Alex said. “The headbands were designed to make it more comfortable to wear the masks for a long period of time.” Together, the siblings made some headbands with hand-sewn buttons designed to hold the masks in place more comfortably.
They donated the headbands to the staff at the Middlesex Health Center in Marlborough. “We felt it was important to give back to the community, which is something I have learned at Xavier,” Alex said. “I have learned that even a little bit of work and support can go a long way in helping others in difficult times.”
“We felt it was important to give back to the community, which is something I have learned at Xavier,”
- Alex Rowlins
You’ve also seen the signs, the ones with hearts on them thanking various essential workers during the coronavirus outbreak.
Mitchell Wollen ’22 would spend three hours at swim practice each day. Between school, homework and swimming, his days were full. That all changed when the coronavirus shut down life as we knew it. As he said, his hectic schedule came to a halt. He found a way to make it hectic again, though.
“I began to envision all the health care providers who are working tirelessly to provide care to those who have fallen ill in my community,” Wollen said. “With help from my family, we brainstormed and came up with the idea of creating signs to support our health care heroes.” Mitchell, his sister Mikayla, home from the University of New Haven doing online learning; and his parents, Julie and Mark, transformed into quite the production team, really cranking it up during April vacation. They live in Wallingford.
The hearts are cut, sanded and painted red with “thank you” painted in white. They are on a stake so they can be placed in the ground. The family delivered them and about 300 were sold, raising about $3,000. The money went to provide food for health care workers in the area. The signs ended up being featured in various media outlets.
By Matt Conyers and Jeff Otterbein