Oklahoma Facebook Group Creates Masks To Help Deaf Population

Tuesday, April 28th 2020, 9:50 pm
By: Kristen Weaver

An Oklahoma Facebook group that's donated thousands of masks to people across the country is coming out with a new design to help deaf people.

They have a clear opening around the mouth so they can read lips and see expressions.

Falyn Harris and her family have already made about 1600 masks for people all over our state, and now they're working on a new design that helps people that are deaf and hard of hearing. 

It's become a full-blown workshop in the Harris household. Son Dalton stays busy with the iron, mom Falyn and daughter Natalee work tirelessly cutting fabric and sewing.

Falyn helps run the Facebook group Masks for Oklahoma, said the group has given 6000 masks to people all around the country.

The masks won't protect the wearer from COVID-19, but if they already have the virus, it would prevent it from spreading. 

"If it prevents one person, it's slowing the spread," said Falyn. 

Recently, she took on a new challenge: masks with vinyl coverings over the mouth. 

"They fit over so they can still see the mouth and read the lips," Falyn said.

The request was from Happy Hands Education Center, a special education center for young kids that are deaf or hard of hearing and with other special needs in Broken Arrow. 

"We began to think about masks and masks hide the face and facial expressions," said Executive Director Jan Pride. 

Pride said a huge part of American Sign Language is expression on the face, and said the 30 masks will serve their staff, many who are deaf, to help them communicate with kids. She said their center is usually open 12 months a year and they're working to open back up when it's safe.

Meanwhile, Falyn and her family continue sewing away. 

"I've instilled the value in the kids, if you see a need, what can you do to fulfill the need," Harris said. 

She said they have no plans of stopping soon.

"We're going to keep going until the need stops," said Falyn. 

Click here to view the Facebook group.

For how to donate for mask supplies, click here