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State Honoree

Photo of State Honoree Sarah Erickson

Sarah Erickson

Excelsior, Minnesota

Sarah Erickson, 14, of Excelsior, Minnesota, an eighth-grader at Minnetonka Middle School West, makes and donates masks to neighbors, nursing homes and hospitals to help protect people in her community from COVID-19. As a member of her school’s service club since sixth grade, Sarah had been involved in many community service projects, including buying books for a nearby school, raising money for wildfire relief in Australia, singing at nursing homes and volunteering at the local humane society. She really wanted to take on her own project, but couldn’t decide how best to help. Then her great-uncle died from COVID-19. “I really wanted to do something to help protect others,” said Sarah. “Not only do masks protect the person who wears one, but it protects others.”

With little sewing experience, Sarah knew her project wouldn’t be easy. She started by watching a tutorial on YouTube, and then got to work. “My first couple of masks took me 1 to 2 hours because I couldn’t remember the steps or I sewed the elastic the wrong way, and it was pretty frustrating,” she said. But the more she sewed, the easier it became, and it wasn’t long before she was modifying her masks with wires around the nose, thinner elastic, and better material, all changes that made them more comfortable to wear. In the first six months of the pandemic, Sarah spent more than 60 hours making over 70 masks. “I know how much masks help the world,” she said, “so I am determined to help until it isn’t an issue anymore.”