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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — A Northwest Guilford High School student’s sewing talent helped her become a successful entrepreneur.

Jana Yan’s Etsy store sees a little more than 12,000 sales a year.

She shifted the business model to help in the fight against COVID-19.

“I make two different types of masks. I make SPL masks which are for speech therapists and those who need help with lip reading, and then I also make normal masks that are three-layer filter pocket masks for just the general population,” she said.

Yan is the owner and founder of The Guilford Mask Project – a nonprofit that provides reusable masks to local and global communities in need.

The teen never dreamed her masks would help meet a need approximately 8,000 miles away.

A staff member at Akoyikoyi, an island school in the Federated States of Micronesia, contacted Yan to see if she could provide affordable masks.

“I decided that instead of trying to resource and make masks for cheap, I would just donate them,” Yan said. “I sent over four boxes, three boxes full of school supplies, PPE, basic things that they requested.”

The staff and students are so appreciative of Yan’s kindness.

They made a video showing children wearing the masks and writing ‘thank you’ notes.

The staff member who initially reached out to Yan, also sent a letter of gratitude to leaders within Guilford County Schools.

Yan has also provided masks for people in Uganda and Zambia.

“It was only supposed to be a temporary project, but it really has turned into a lot more,” she said.

More than 9,000 masks have been donated through The Guilford Mask Project.

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