Univer­sity of Leth­bridge Depart­ment of Drama cos­tume tech­ni­cians make scrubs for health care work­ers

Prairie Post (West Edition) - - Alberta -

Thanks to a fabric do­na­tion re­ceived 11 years ago, and the en­thu­si­asm and mo­ti­va­tion of Depart­ment of Drama staff, nurses at Good Sa­mar­i­tan Park Mead­ows Vil­lage sup­port­ive liv­ing fa­cil­ity are re­ceiv­ing new scrubs and scrub bags in a time of need.

In­spired by a film com­pany in Cal­gary, James McDow­ell, Univer­sity of Leth­bridge the­atre tech­ni­cal direc­tor, asked Cos­tume Shop head, Teresa Hey­burn, what she thought of build­ing scrubs for front line work­ers. With en­cour­age­ment from depart­ment Chair Jay White­head, Hey­burn reached out to see if there was a need in Leth­bridge, con­nect­ing with Les­lie Jas­trau, recre­ation and vol­un­teer co­or­di­na­tor at Good Sa­mar­i­tan.

“Any kind of thank you is im­por­tant,” says Jas­trau. “When we can help oth­ers, it just be­comes a cir­cle. At this time, we’re see­ing a lot of acts of kind­ness and this one was a very spe­cial one. Re­ceiv­ing a lit­tle perk dur­ing a dif­fi­cult time shows that oth­ers are think­ing about us.”

In or­der to pre­vent trans­mis­sion of COVID-19, nurses re­move their scrubs on site, place them in a bag and wash im­me­di­ately, in­creas­ing the wear and tear on these items. Pro­vid­ing new scrubs at no cost is just one way of thank­ing them for their com­mit­ment to the job.

“I’m so im­pressed that the Univer­sity and the drama depart­ment got be­hind this idea, be­cause it takes re­sources,” says Hey­burn. “When I told them that Good Sa­mar­i­tan has 150 em­ploy­ees, I asked how much time we could spend on this, and James just said, do it! He didn’t hes­i­tate or ask to crunch the num­bers; he was so sup­port­ive of our depart­ment reach­ing out to that com­mu­nity and do­ing what­ever we could to help.”

The fabric used to make the scrubs was do­nated to the Univer­sity from Su­san Per­ley, owner of a fabric store that had closed down in Vul­can, Alta.

“I re­mem­ber driv­ing mul­ti­ple ve­hi­cles to Vul­can and fill­ing them with fabric, think­ing, will we ever use it?” laughs Hey­burn. “Here we are, 11 years later and it’s per­fect and it does my heart good to see ev­ery­thing come full cir­cle. The com­mu­nity gives to us and we give back to the com­mu­nity.”

While sup­port­ing front­line nurses dur­ing a pan­demic was the orig­i­nal goal, Hey­burn is thrilled to have made a long-term con­nec­tion with Jas­trau, learn­ing about the many needs for hand­made items in as­sisted liv­ing fa­cil­i­ties — items like wheel­chair bags that don’t get caught in the wheels, re­cliner chair cov­ers, wa­ter bot­tle bags, catheter bags, aprons and more.

Hey­burn reached out to cos­tume con­struc­tion in­struc­tor Ju­lia Wasilewski who en­thu­si­as­ti­cally agreed to in­cor­po­rate these projects into class as­sign­ments.

“These are great projects for in­tro­duc­tory sewing classes,” says Hey­burn. “And small things like catheter bags use left­over scraps of fabric so it pre­vents these from go­ing to the land­fill.”

Jas­trau says sup­port­ive liv­ing or longterm care fa­cil­i­ties in our com­mu­nity have vary­ing needs and en­cour­ages any­one want­ing to lend a hand to just reach out and ask how you can help.

“While we’re very grate­ful at Good Sa­mar­i­tan Park Mead­ows Vil­lage, we aren’t the only fa­cil­ity in Leth­bridge,” she says. “Ap­proach any nurs­ing cen­tre, be­cause at any of them there will be un­der­priv­i­leged res­i­dents. Whether it’s sewing, a small cash do­na­tion to pay for a lunch or an out­ing for the res­i­dents, it all helps im­prove the lives of the res­i­dents and staff. If we can help oth­ers and they can help us, then to­gether we make a bet­ter com­mu­nity.”

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