Three Jamaican-American children in South Florida, Simone, Stephanie, and Sean Tracey, have answered the call to service during the COVID-19 pandemic by making protective masks for healthcare workers. Their efforts are helping those in Jamaica and reaching across the ocean to provide assistance for healthcare professionals in the U.S.
“I am a firm believer in succession planning, which is the idea that we are charged with teaching and passing on our skills to the next generation,” said the children’s mother, Jamaican Lorraine Tracey. “My mother taught me how to sew when I was a young girl and I passed on the skills to my daughters, as well. I had no idea that this basic skill would help us fill a need during a crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The youngsters have made 243 protective cloth masks designed to be worn over N-95 grade masks. The cloth masks can be changed as frequently as needed, washed, and used again to help preserve the high-grade N-95 masks that are essential for healthcare workers.
The children have a large extended family comprised of physicians, LPNs, and RNs and the project originally began as a way to provide protection for family members. Lorraine Tracy is a professor that teaches nursing students and when her children learned about the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), they responded to a family legacy of service to help those in need.
The Tracy youngsters are creating the masks under the auspices of the Legacy Learning Foundation that’s dedicated to making a difference in the lives of people from newborns to the elderly. They’re part of a group effort that includes children and adults in Florida, New York, and Jamaica. They’ve overcome numerous obstacles, including a shortage of fabric, elastic, and the logistics of delivery while maintaining social distancing.
The mask creators have received the heartfelt thanks and acclaim from grateful healthcare workers that have been putting their own health at risk due to a shortage of PPEs to help victims of COVID-19. The mask project is just one way that multiple generations of Jamaicans are rising to serve humankind as they’ve done numerous times throughout history.