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A 16-year-old Eagle Scout is helping people help people. After struggling to mass produce mask covers for health care workers on his own, Forest Hills neighbor Cooper Clem realized he needed help. He organized a “makers drive” in which he provides neighbors with cotton material, elastic and patterns so they can sew mask covers at home. Once completed, the teen picks them up and delivers them to local hospitals. So far, he’s collected 50 mask covers and hopes that number will grow. He said, “I hope it helps at least one person.” We talked with Clem about how he’s doing a good turn during the coronavirus pandemic.

The importance of community: I started making [mask covers] and it took me three hours to make like two. I realized I wasn’t going to contribute enough on my own. My dad put out the word on his Facebook, and we started getting people who were interested. We’ve got people producing a lot more masks then I could. Together we are stronger.

His role: I go around and collect the masks. I give people the material that I have — cotton, elastic and the pattern. I’m working on a YouTube video about how to make them.

The difference between masks and mask covers: The masks that [hospitals] use are N95. Those are widely considered to block viruses. But with decreased shipments and so many people wanting them, hospitals are having a hard time buying them. The mask cover goes over the mask that hospitals already have and act as a splash guard. It lengthens the usage and time [the masks] can actually be used so [hospitals] use less on average.

On being an Eagle Scout: It was taught to me through Boy Scouts to do action in my community. I learned how to organize things and how to help people.

His call to action: What are you going to tell your descendants about what you did during these trying times?

How to help: Email clemprofessional@gmail.com.


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