John Cooper School's Alvarez helping first responders, doctors by making face shields
As the country has advanced through the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the biggest need for doctors, nurses and first responders has been for more Personal Protective Equipment.
PPEs include gowns, gloves, hair covers, masks and eyewear, including face shields.
In The Woodlands, a "Help Our Heroes" campaign has been started to help with that. Every Monday and Thursday from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. donations of PPEs are accepted at The Woodlands Fire Department Central Fire Station.
One of the recent donations was 65 face shields. They were made by The John Cooper School senior soccer player Nicholas Alvarez in his home.
"Where it all started was medicine fascinates me and in the future I hope to become a doctor and give back to the community," Alvarez said. "Unfortunately, right now I'm just a student so I can't help on the front lines during this pandemic. So, I was researching ways that I could take initiative to help the doctors and first responders who are helping our community. Because they are putting us before themselves and they are risking their lives to do their job every day."
That was the just the first batch of face shields Alvarez plans to make. He is currently waiting on more supplies to arrive, which he has ordered.
In total he hopes he will be able to make and donate 150 or more to the "Help Our Heroes" campaign.
"I'm going to continue doing this, especially with school coming to an end soon because I'm a senior, I think it'll give me more time to make masks and help the community," Alvarez said. "This is a necessity. The doctors and first responders, they are not immune to this virus and that's something we need to remember."
Alvarez - who wants to pursue a medical career in either anesthesiology or cardiothoracics - then decided to get his classmates involved. So, he took to YouTube and made a how-to video to make face shields.
"I decided to make the video to share with other students at my school to show them that it's easier than what the instructions sound like," Alvarez said. "I wanted to also share the video to motivate other students to show that's its easy to make the mask and that we can spend our free time making these."
Since the video was released, Alvarez said he has had friends reach out asking questions on where to get the materials and how to make it, which can become a nice family project.
Alvarez's passion for medicine is what drove this. He plans to attend Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio next year and hopefully get internships at Cleveland Clinic at some point.
At the end of the day, this project was about playing his role in what is a global pandemic.
"It feels nice to be able to help the community and then receiving the thanks from the people when I go to donate the masks," Alvarez said. "But it's more of a feeling of I want to help. I don't just want to sit at home doing nothing. It's more of a I need to do this."