She used the skills she learned in her sewing club to make them.

Most elementary school students look forward to the last day of school because it means long summer days spent playing outside or seeing friends. But nine-year-old Michaela Munyan of Oakland Township, Michigan, looked forward to summer for a different reason. She’s spent the last several months sewing and donating cloth face masks, and recently traded her homework hours for extra sewing time. 

This past year, Michaela was in the school sewing club, where she learned the basics (including how to use a sewing machine). She liked to practice at home by making bags, scrunchies, and small clothes for her cat Minerva. When the pandemic began and her school shut down, she overheard her parents talking about the need for face masks. She told her parents she could make masks on her sewing machine, and got to work. They helped her find patterns online, and she began stitching up masks for the whole family.

girl in a blue shirt sewing masks on a sewing machine
Michaela Munyan, 9,  learned to use a sewing machine at her school's sewing club. Now she's using her skills to make and donate face masks.
| Credit: Courtesy of the Munyan Family

Soon, she realized she could make more masks than their family needed. She said she would make one for anyone who needed one, so her parents began posting about her efforts on Facebook. They got so many requests that they started a Facebook page for Michaela’s creations, which she titled The Friendly Chupacabra Face Covering Company (a play on the family’s nickname for her cat). 

Michaela’s parents run the social media account, where they’ve received hundreds of requests for masks over the last few months. So far, Michaela has made more than 570 masks for nurses, employees at a home health agency, staff at her favorite pizzeria, and dozens of families. She’s currently sewing masks for Michigan residents living abroad in Sweden and Thailand, and is preparing to sew a batch for another local pizza joint. 

"It makes me feel good that I can help somehow,” Michaela says. “I hope it encourages others to do the same. We all have to help each other through this."

Her parents, Kristen and Matt Munyan, say they’ve been blown away by her willingness to step up and help others. "We are incredibly proud of our girl,” Matt says. “As a parent, you try to raise good people, kind people. We're lucky to be her parents."

To request a mask or send words of encouragement, reach out to Michaela via the Facebook page. Keep in mind that as more people learn about her story, the requests for masks have been increasing faster than she can make them, so she takes periodic breaks (announced on the Facebook page) so that she can catch up and enjoy her usual summer activities as well. 


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