They are young and they are committed to make a difference. They are IGNIS, a youth group in Chicago who has set out to do its part in these times of Covid-19 by producing cloth masks for youths staying in shelters, prisons or living in the streets.
To this end they have:
- Started a fundraiser that will pay for the masks.
- Tapped into local small businesses for the production of the mask.
- Recruited young people who can sew in order to produce the masks.
In a few days, they have sewed 40 masks for Covenant House, Illinois, -a shelter for homeless youth. They have different shelters already requesting anywhere from 50-100 masks. Their goal is to raise $2500, by the month of June, to pay for the production of 500 cloth masks to be donated to homeless shelters.
The group IGNIS is sponsored by two nonprofits: Poveda Education Project (PEP) in Chicago and Education for an Interdependent World (EDIW), both linked to the Teresian Association.
It all began in February when Eli¡ah Ampo, a young adult from Chicago, was invited to travel to Los Negrales, near Madrid, Spain for the launching of the 2-year Youth ACT EDIW program.
During this program, 70 young people from countries in Europe and America learned about participation through interventions in political changes and practiced on skills to, eventually, act in their local realities by creating a Youth Act. Ampo represented Chicago and Karina Crespo and Lizette Leyva represented Miami.
This has led to forming two groups of EDIW in the US. The one in Miami chose to create some intervention/Resource Center for undocumented students. The one in Chicago decided to work with homeless. Thus, on his return from the Madrid experience, Ampo held a meeting with the IGNIS youth in Chicago and all decided to learn more about the realities of youth experiencing homelessness. They researched policies, interviewed nonprofits, and volunteered in the community.
And then, Covid19 landed in the US and the group felt that face masks can protect youth staying in shelters, prisons or living in the streets.
Their plan is now a reality and they are already distributing masks. They are using ALMA as the platform for this fundraising campaign. A donation of $5 dollars covers production cost of one mask.
Araceli Cantero. Miami.