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Jefferson Awards: Teacher tackles health and safety concerns

Posted at 5:56 PM, May 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-28 21:58:53-04

INDIANAPOLIS — One person has the power to make the lives of others better. The most recent recipient of the Jefferson Award for Multiplying Good is a teacher who is taking action in a COVID-19 hotspot.

Every stitch, every seem and every second of her effort is meant to slow down the spread of COVID-19.

Azad Alterations in Carmel is helping fifth grade teacher Renee Bacon in Indianapolis.

"I teach because it's my way to give back to the community," Bacon said.

Bacon teaches at Arlington Woods Elementary located in a hotspot of the coronavirus crisis. Some of her students either don't have a mask or wear one that doesn't fit their face. So, she set out to make sure all 400 students at her school are safe through the summer.

"I talked about it and then I said let me think about it," Bacon said.

Bacon sent out flyers about her project called "Mask Up! Period." It sparked interest.

Mary produced masks at home. Janice with Embrace Designs, also in Indy, powered up her sewing machine to keep up with Azad's in Carmel.

While they sewed, fifth-grader Kingston Webb also spoke on social media.

"If I can wear a mask, you can wear a mask for me," Webb said. "Mask up, period."

"I think to be a leader you just need to say, 'Hey, I'm going to do something positive to make a difference,'" Bacon said.

To acknowledge the positivity, WRTV asked Ms. Bacon to look inside the camera bag she didn't notice during our interview. There was a reason to celebrate and the box of 64 crayons would reveal it.

A leader in the classroom and a lady of action in the community, Bacon was presented with the Jefferson Award for Multiplying Good.

"Wow, I was not expecting this," Bacon said.

She also didn't count on us showing up on Zoom during a staff meeting in which her co-workers applauded her Mask Up campaign.

"I'm just somebody who is concerned and I think if one person is concerned and I tell another person it begins to multiply," Bacon said. "I'm doing it from the heart."

Bacon will distribute all the masks to her students beginning Monday. They're returning to school to pick up what they left in their classroom back on March 13, the last time they were on school property.