Makenna’s Masks


In today’s climate, it can be hard to see life in a positive light. For junior Makenna Marshall, her time is better spent not dwelling on all the negative factors, but rather making and donating masks.

“I’m a born and raised Houstonian, so to give back to the community that has given me so much, is very important to me,” Marshall said. 

While interning for the City of Houston in the Housing and Community department, the idea of making masks dawned upon her. 

“This opportunity really changed my perspective by allowing me to better understand my communities needs, such as the high demand for masks,” Marshall  said.  “I first did my research and found out about a volunteer organization, Baker Ripley, that was giving out materials to make masks. I had never sewn before, so when I gathered my supplies and sat at my grandmother’s sewing machine for the first time, it felt like looking at the dashboard of a Star Trek Spaceship.”

In a total of 24 hours, Makenna was able to produce 50 masks with the help of Baker Ripley’s clothing supply and her grandmother’s sewing machine, though it wasn’t the easiest accomplishment. 

“I went on to break several needles, jammed my grandmother’s new sewing machine numerous times, wasted copious amounts of string, and ruined at least 4 masks beyond recognition,” Marshall said. “Throughout the entire experience, my grandma stressed the idea that anything I do, I should do well, which inspired me to go the extra step to put cool designs on all of the masks. Many people find masks unattractive and are reluctant to wear them, so I attempted to make these more aesthetically pleasing in hopes to increase mask-wearing.” 

Mackenna hopes to expand her volunteer work with the help of local non-profit organizations, but she is also in the process of creating her own personal non-profit organization that will help music students. She believes that everyone can get involved in helping those around us. 

“Educating yourself on your community’s needs, then doing something positive with that knowledge, however small, can go a long way,” Marshall said.

Makenna continues to make masks to support her community through Covid-19 in order to help maintain a safe environment for all. 

“The best part about this experience was handing in the bag that was once full of miscellaneous clothes and strings, to a full bag of fully functioning masks that could potentially save a life,” Marshall said. “I enjoyed every second of it because every mask I made, meant another protected individual in my community.”