College Student Creates Masks For Deaf Community And Distributes Them For Free.

With the number of COVID-19 cases rising each day, hospitals are running dangerously low on personal protective equipment.

Businesses and citizens alike have stepped up to help replenish supplies, donating materials and even sewing masks at home, but college student Ashley Lawrence noticed one group’s needs weren’t being met. That’s why she started a project of her own!

ashley's mask for deaf community

The 21-year-old is studying education for the deaf and hard of hearing at Eastern Kentucky University, so she understands how important facial expressions and lip reading are in this uncertain time.

“ASL is very big on facial expressions and it is part of the grammar,” Ashley said. “If half of that is gone because you’re wearing a mask, then half of what you’re saying is being missed, so even if it’s not physically talking and just using ASL, then you need to have that kind of access.”

After recruiting her mom, Ashley put her time at home to good use by creating masks with clear windows over the mouth. While these types of masks already exist, they are in short supply these days.

ninon and ashley

Armed with a sewing machine and donations from generous individuals on GoFundMe, the awesome mother-daughter team got to work!

They’re using bed sheets and plastic fabric to fashion the masks and are even making adjustments to accommodate cochlear implants and hearing aids. Not to mention, they’re giving them away for free!

ashley's mask for deaf community

Ashley has already received dozens of orders and is well on her way to making a huge difference for this community! We can’t thank her enough for making sure all her neighbors are safe and able to communicate. If you or someone you know could use a mask, send an email to

Learn more about her initiative in the video below, and share this idea with other people who are looking for ways to help. For more stories of hope, check out the Coronavirus Good News Dashboard.

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