ADAPT’s affiliate partner Human First were brightening the days of Direct Services Providers and their peers during COVID by creating tie-dyed masks during COVID-19. Every year the Day Habilitation Program lead by Alexandra Sanchez, Coordinator of Day Services, tie-dyes with people supported in Farmingdale, Long Island in the summertime, but this year they were able to make their tie-dye project a little more meaningful and special. They created tie-dyed masks and mailed them out to their peers who have not returned to in-person I program. In addition, they created the masks as a token of appreciation for all the hard-working staff at Human First.
The Farmingdale program reopened in the beginning of August where 14 out of the original 35 who generally attend the program decided to come back to in-person program. While many of their peers remained at home to socially distance, they wanted to send a little extra love out to those who hadn’t come back to program yet by creating masks for them, so they didn’t miss out on tie-dying this year. Participants were excited to create the masks for their peers and thought it was a great way to connect with them and let them know they were thinking about them. They made the masks for themselves and then chose different masks to send home to those participating in Day Hab remotely with a note letting them know they were thinking of them and sent a picture of everyone wearing the masks.
The group soaked the masks in water and then Alexandra and her team gave instruction showing the group different techniques for tie-dying by folding, scrunching and using rubber bands to set the design. They then chose the colors they wanted and applied the colors using squeeze bottles to use dipped them into tubs of color to get their desired effect. The group then put them in zip lock bags and allowed them to sit for a couple days so that all the dye could soak into the masks. They then washed them and revealed their work, showcasing beautiful designs with vibrant colors!
Alexandra’s idea to create the tie-dyed masks was inspired by a local summer camp that she volunteers at. This year they had a virtual week of camp and it was one of the camp activities. While the group at Farmingdale tie-dye every year, the masks were an excellent way to reinforce the importance of wearing a mask in order to remain safe and healthy while out in public. A few of the people supported came back go program after receiving their gift. They came to the program wearing their masks proudly and were appreciative of the gesture of their peers.
The two-day activity at Farmingdale Day Hab was such a hit among attendees that they ended up doing a second week of the tie-dying. Participants really enjoyed making the masks and the group decided that they wanted to make another 50 masks so that they can give them as a gift to the hard-working Direct Support Professionals at Human First. The masks were presented to DSPs during ADAPT’s annual DSP luncheon which honors and recognizes staff who make such a difference in the lives of those we support. The group packaged the masks and wrote a note stating, “Thank you for keeping us safe! Here’s a little something to help keep you safe. Made with love and gratitude by the persons supported at Farmingdale Day Hab.” Everyone was so happy to receive the gifts! It was the hit of the afternoon which garnered a ton of compliments!