By Wendy Lawrence, Inspire Contributor
THE EASTSIDE PREP COMMUNITY IS KNOWN FOR coming together and supporting those in need. Never has that been more true than during the spring of 2020 when so many in our area and throughout the country were experiencing hardship. Several in our community answered the call during that time (and many are continuing their efforts today). Here are just a few examples of the efforts by our community members to support those in need during the COVID-19 crisis.
TAMMY MARTON, EPS ATHLETIC TRAINER, ON THE FRONTLINES
Tammy Marton, who has been at Eastside Prep for five years as our Athletics Trainer, found herself in a very different job when sports disappeared. Marton, who contracts to EPS from Seattle Children’s, was reassigned to the hospital immediately after the school went remote. At first, she was screening patients outside. Because everything happened so quickly, there were no protocols or training—the job just needed to get done. But then it became clear that Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) would be needed, so she was trained in how to wear and reuse that gear. More training came as needs were realized: how to take the temperature of a fussy baby, how to support a distraught family when they couldn’t visit a patient.
Since returning to the hospital, Marton’s responsibilities have changed multiple times. She’s also worked in the family call center, answering questions about COVID-19, as well as in supply chain management and restocking. She says it’s interesting to use a different part of her training and knowledge than she does in her usual day job as an athletic trainer. Marton has approached the sudden shift in duties with a positive attitude. “It’s really fun to meet a lot of new people. And it gives me a good sense of how the pandemic is affecting our community,” she says. In addition to seeing the effects of COVID-19, Marton also sees how the pandemic affects people fighting all sorts of illnesses. Marton is back screening patients, now at the Bellevue campus of Seattle Children’s. It’s clear that health care centers are lucky to have such a flexible, hard-working employee.
MAS SUDO, TECH FACULTY, PRODUCING FACE SHIELDS
Standing on opposite sides of the fence, Mas Sudo talked to his neighbor about the chaos of working in a pandemic. The neighbor is a nurse at Overlake Hospital and she didn’t even have adequate PPE for her job. When school went remote, Sudo got permission to take home some of the 3D printers and he started looking up ways to print face shields for his neighbor and the others she worked with. He found a design and started working, going back to campus to use the giant laser cutter for the polycarbonate plastic shield. Once he realized they would work for hospital use, he continued to make them and his neighbor brought them to work to distribute.
It was clear that demand was only increasing, so Sudo recruited students and other faculty to help. Mallika (’21) helped with outreach and Derek Clarke, James (’23), Jules (’23), Jonathon (’23), and Risha (’23) did the 3D printing. They donated to Overlake, Harborview, Snoqualmie Valley Hospital, Virginia Mason, Allegro Pediatrics, Swedish, UW Medical Center, and many other health care facilities, including nursing homes and locations in New York.
Once hospital supply caught up, Sudo and his team reached out to the EPS parent community to see who could benefit from these face shields in their own medical professions and they were able to donate to Jason Norsen, Cathy Nobis, Enrique Enguidanos, Martha Riggers, Franco and Susan Audia, Kathleen Gibson, Sukriti Singhal, Sonal Patel, and Leni Karr.
EMMA (’25), EPS STUDENT, DESIGNING, SEWING, AND DONATING MASKS
Emma, a ninth grader at Eastside Prep, has been making masks since quarantining started. An experienced seamstress, Emma creates a lot of her own clothes and even sells scrunchies in her online Etsy shop (Sunberrry—note the three R’s when you search for it!). She started by researching various designs online and considering comfort, protection, and efficiency. She drew her own ideas. She took different face sizes into account, too, and decided on ties instead of elastic so they would last longer. Emma even created the patterns for her masks, like she does for her own clothes.
Emma’s mother and grandmother were an important part of the process, too. “My mom encouraged me to really think creatively and pushed me to make the best version of a mask I could.” Her grandmother, also an expert seamstress, helped her create an efficient pattern. Emma’s mother, Yimin Chen, was also an indispensable part of handing out the masks in the community. “She would come home with all these compliments!” says Emma.
Emma has no intention of stopping as the need for masks continues. “I love dressing up for school and I love fashion. I would love to make lots of personalized masks for myself and my friends.” Would she consider selling something in her Etsy shop? She says maybe, but for now, she’s focusing on back-to-school fashion. “I’ve always felt that EPS is a safe space for me and now I have the opportunity to make it a safe space for others.”
CLAUDIA BAYER, EPS PARENT, VOLUNTEERING AT HOPELINK FOOD BANK
Claudia Bayer has been an Eastside Prep parent for eight years. For the past couple of years, she has been a regular volunteer at the Hopelink food bank, and her two sons —Cameron (’19) and Carter (’23)—often join her when they can. When COVID-19 came to Washington State, layoffs and unemployment skyrocketed and the need for food banks grew. Bayer didn’t stay home, but continued her work, now with increased protective equipment and social distancing.
Bayer likes to volunteer on the days they hand out food. She also delivers groceries to a few people in their homes who can’t come out to pick them up. Hopelink makes every effort to get fresh and healthy food to the people it serves and whenever possible, every package contains meat, milk, fruits and vegetables, and grains or pasta.
Because of COVID-19, not only did the demand increase, but some of their supply disappeared as they were no longer able to take donations, so they relied more than usual on government funding. The process looks a little bit different now: people pick up food at a tent outside and some boxes are prepacked. Also, children aren’t allowed to volunteer anymore, at least for the time being, but none of the changes have stopped Bayer or her enthusiasm. She is there frequently and says the friendly community is what she loves best.