Fiona Greulich, a student at SS. Joseph and John School in Strongsville, began sewing four years ago with her teacher, Debbie Kazimir. Fiona loved it so much that she asked for a sewing machine of her own.
That was when Kazimir, a second grade teacher, brought her love of sewing to an after school club at SS. Joseph and John. Students in grades 3-8 -- like Fiona -- are encouraged to be members.
Fiona is taking her skills from the club into her home during the current statewide coronavirus stay-at-home order as she creates masks for her family and friends.
“I joined sewing club because I thought it was a way that could help me in the future,” she said. “It’s helped me make a bunch of things like book bags, pencil pouches and clothes. During this time I thought it would be an amazing idea to make masks for people in need. I have given these masks to my grandparents and their elderly friends, and some family members. I’m also giving them to other families/neighbors and medical people who are in need of the masks. In total, I’ve made about 50 masks. By sewing all these masks, it will help the people that I’ve given these masks to and the other people around them,” she added.
Kazimir was asked by a parent who is a nurse practitioner to make masks for University Hospitals. She created mask kits and dropped them off so students could get involved. Kazimir also had a Zoom meeting with several students and demonstrated how to make the masks.
Eighth-grader Katy Gus has been sewing with the club since it began. She also has her own machine. When Katie heard the hospitals were looking for masks, she quickly gathered supplies for them and started sewing. Katy is off to Magnificat High School next year where she hopes to get involved with a sewing club or to help create costumes for the theater group.
When school was in session, the club met for an hour and a half twice weekly. On Tuesdays, the beginner sewers met and Thursdays were for the more experienced sewers.
“I am always amazed at the number of students that want to participate. I cannot turn anyone away so there is an ongoing five-week rotation,” Kazimir said. And sewing is not only popular with the girls; Kazimir said several boys joined and learned to create projects with a sewing machine.
“I love sewing club,” said fifth-grader Julia Ridel. “I have been sewing for three years. I signed up because I could spend more time with Mrs. Kazimir. She was my second grade teacher. I love that I get to make things instead of buy them.”