Allen art teacher and AAPS moms create masks for healthcare & other essential workers

Carrie Jankowski and Katie Ajluni created the Masks for Ann Arbor Facebook group to make a difference.

By Jo Mathis/AAPS District News Editor

Allen Elementary art teacher Sarah Conner has joined several AAPS parents who are responding to medical personnel’s need for masks during the COVID-19 crisis.

So far, Conner has sewn 45 masks and has another 45 close to being done, with plans to donate 150 by the end of this week. 

“It’s been really exciting to be part of this effort,” she says, noting that her husband is a resident at the University of Michigan Hospital, and that she has family and friends across the country working in hospitals on the front lines fighting COVID-19.

Conner gives much of the credit to Carrie Jankowski, a Wines Elementary parent and Eberwhite mom Katie Ajluni, who created Masks for Ann Arbor.

Allen art teacher Sarah Conner will have sewn 150 masks to donate to medical personnel by the end of the week.
Allen art teacher Sarah Conner will have sewn 150 masks to donate to medical personnel by the end of the week.

“The Facebook group that has made it very easy to contribute to this effort,” she says.

The masks are donated to St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, which passes on those that aren’t needed to local essential workers.  

Jankowski says she was looking for a way she could help out during this crisis.

“I noticed home-sewn mask collectives popping up in other hard-hit communities,” she says. “I love to sew and starting thinking about all of the friends that I know who sew.”

So she reached out to those friends on Facebook, and one of those friends connected her with Katie Ajluni who was also starting to organize a local homemade mask effort. The two combined forces and the group grew from there.

Jankowski has made about 50 masks so far.

“Years ago when my daughter and I took a class taught by Sarah Conner, we talked about starting a sewing group,” Jankowski recalls. “I guess that has finally materialized—but neither of us envisioned it being like this!”

Carrie Jankowski (right) and Katie Ajluni (left) have started the Masks for Ann Arbor Facebook group.
Katie Ajluni

Ajluni is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist at St. Joe’s who hasn’t had to work during the quarantine because all of her cases were canceled.

“That’s why I was inspired to do what I could from home, helping organize folks,” she says. “The cloth masks are being utilized for providers and patients not directly dealing with COVID-19 patients to preserve the supply.”

Click here to see a tutorial for the mask.

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