As children returned to school this year, the hottest back-to-school item was, you guessed it, a face mask. Brightly colored masks in every cartoon character from Disney to Nickelodeon will paraded through schools among new backpacks, markers and glitter.
No matter the age, face masks are difficult for children to use consistently. Children take them off, they lose them, accidentally throw them away, it is a never ending cycle. One Fort Worth mom, Josefina Huitron, decided she had enough of the never ending cost and search for masks at her house. After each of her six sons had lost a mask or two she decided to begin making her own. For many people with large families, continuously supplying their loved ones with a mask is a pricey job.
“I started making masks because I had to keep buying them for all my boys and it got expensive. If they lose them I have to go buy more, so I just decided to make the masks instead,” said Josefina Huitron, mother of a Fort Worth Texans Can Academies student. “More importantly, I decided to make the masks for others because I didn't want any child to catch and suffer from this virus because they didn’t have protection.”
In light of COVID-19 and strapped for funds, Josefina Huriton began to sew facemasks in hopes of protecting her children and making a few extra bucks. Once Texans Can Academies learned that Josefina was making masks for her boys and those in need, they enlisted her to sew masks for the Fort Worth school students and faculty. With school for Texans Can Academies starting in person sessions, having masks available at school became more important than ever.
“If a child arrives at school without a mask the school can give them one,” said Josefina. “I want to prevent the kids from getting the virus at school.”
Texans Can Academies requires all students to wear a face covering while they are on campus. In keeping with their culture of providing services to their students along with academic instruction, they are provided masks to anyone who needed one.
“We don't want there to be any barriers for a student to return to class when they are ready,” said James Ponce, Superintendent for Texans Can Academies. “We provide a lot of out-of-classroom services to our students such as uniforms, school supplies, medical and dental needs, so making masks available made perfect sense to us. And being able to provide supplemental income to one of our Texans Can parents for making them for us, is a huge bonus.”
Knowing the nature of her children, Josefina created a rule that requires all of her six boys to carry two masks with them at all times. One to wear and one in their pocket. She is working her hardest to ensure that her family stays safe and is thrilled to do her part to provide safety to other children.
This summer, Josefina made over 100 masks for the Texans Can Academies. Because of Josefina, students that arrive at Texans Can Academies without a mask will receive a mask at no cost and remain safe.
For more information about Texans Can Academies and their initiatives to provide a healthy on-campus environment as students return to school, please visit https://www.texanscan.org/.