Ilyana Vidal’s parents taught her the importance of being civic-minded at an early age.
The Patricia Kay Beaver Leadership Magnet School sixth-grader’s latest project includes making and donating cloth face masks to those in need during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
“I get a sense of happiness being able to help people in need,” said Ilyana, 12. “The reason I’m so involved is my parents taught me to give back. You never know if you’re going to be in that same situation.”
Vidal has sewn over 200 face masks for members of the community.
“I saw a post on Facebook,” said her mother Leticia Vidal. “The medical community needed face masks. I showed it to Ilyana. She wanted to give back. She went on YouTube and figured out how to make them.”
Ilyana spends two hours a day making face masks in her family’s living room.
Masks are made of cotton fabric, elastic and ribbons.
“She’s making them for family, friends and whoever needs them,” Leticia said. “Right now, 40-50 people I know requested them.”
“The process is done with love,” Ilyana said. “It takes me 10 minutes to make each mask. It gets a little tiring. But it’s a good stress reliever.”
Ilyana made 60 face masks last week with assistance from her mother, father Steve and older sister Delia, 15.
It’s become a family affair. Steve, Ilyana and Delia cut fabric and Ilyana and Leticia sewed.
“It’s been a real blessing,” said Ilyana. “We’ve been able to work together. We’ve gotten closer.”
Ilyana plans to donate face masks to Memorial Medical Center in Modesto in the near future.
“Our numbers are going to increase because a lot of people are in need.”
In January Vidal was named the Ceres Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 “Young Citizen of Year.” She was honored as part of the Central Valley Leadership Team for helping to raise $650 for Operation Baby Bundle, her brainchild, and making 40 blankets in five days for Memorial Medical Center. Ilyana is involved in many community service projects, such as Toys for Tots, breast cancer patient support baskets, walk- and jog-a-thons for charitable causes, and Pennies for Patients. She also maintains a jar at school which students can draw out slips of paper with motivational sayings printed on them.
“She (Ilyana has a huge heart),” Leticia said. “She always wants to help everybody. We’re proud of her.”