Bossier teacher weaves compassion and community together to make medical masks

Sewing masks for the community

HAUGHTON, La. (KSLA) - A Bossier Parish educator is making sure people are protected — one stitch at a time — during this uncertain coronavirus crisis.

Bitsy Cliburn is a family and consumer science teacher at Haughton High School.

Once the spread of the coronavirus became more rampant across Louisiana, Cliburn knew she needed to weave together a team to respond.

“There was a need and I have a God-given ability to sew and I just decided to start making the masks,” Cliburn said. “It might be a last case scenario, but it’s better than nothing.”

To date, Cliburn and her team of about a dozen students are piecing together the masks to distribute to anyone who might need one. So far, she believes they’ve distributed around 100 or so.

“They’re [students] sitting at home bored too, and I think it’s good for them to realize that even though they are young that doesn’t mean they can’t make a difference,” she added. “I didn’t even know how many of them would have sewing machines at home, I was surprised.”

But, her call for help isn’t just limited to the ArkLaxTex. In fact, former students close to Haughton and abroad are putting their unique skill set to good use in a time of need.

“I have some students who graduated, I have one guy who graduated 12 years ago, who is a grown man with a family up in Ohio and he contacted me asking what kind of sewing machine he should buy.”

Cliburn is using social media to teach her newly knitted team how to make the masks, through a series of Facebook videos.

“It’s a good feeling, I’m not going to take credit for it though — I’m going to give all glory to God for whatever he’s doing with this,” she mentioned. “We Americans come together and will fight this thing.”

Right now, Cliburn said her waiting list for masks is around 100 people.

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