Brahmas create project to assist medical professionals

With the ongoing pandemic hospitalizing tens of thousands and putting a burden on doctors and nurses more than ever before, a shortage of masks and other personal protective equipment for healthcare workers has been an added stress. To help combat this issue, four Diamond Bar High School juniors created Project Aniketos, an organization dedicated to making masks and facial shields for medical staff.

Junior Alan Zhang, the chief coordinator of Project Aniketos, said the inspiration for the organization was a face mask tutorial video his co-founder, junior Jolleen Mejia, posted on Instagram. Mejia reached out to Zhang after he showed interest in making his own face shield.

“While accepting her offer, I proposed to her about doing something worthwhile this summer,” Zhang said via Instagram.

Project Aniketos uses 3D-printed mask frames to make the face shield. Then a PVC binding sheet is affixed to the frame, secured in place with an elastic band. The blueprint for mask frames is available on the group’s website so that people can make and donate shield frames from home. If a participant does not own a 3D printer, Project Aniketos provides foam tape as an alternative to printing out the frame, which allows a greater number of participants to make shields. 

“The second way to create face shields is by using our handmade design,” Mejia said via Instagram. “We provide the materials and an instructional video on how to create the handmade face shield and create face masks by using fabric and double filter inserts.”

Junior Ethan Le chose to take part in Project Aniketos so that he could help those around him. Through Project Aniketos, Le has donated masks to hospitals in Rancho Cucamonga, Huntington Park and Loma Linda, but has also been donating to his friends and family.

“When Project Aniketos reached out to me, I accepted because it allowed me to try and aid others on a much larger scale,” Le said via Instagram. 

Project Aniketos is also collaborating with the DBHS Interact Club. As the club president and co-founder of Project Aniketos, junior Ella Chiu found a way to connect the two in a way that was beneficial to both clubs and the community at large.

“Project Aniketos decided to collaborate with Interact since it is a volunteer club that gives their members the opportunity to participate in meaningful service projects and events,” Chiu said via text.

While the club has not had any events yet, they plan to distribute raw materials needed to create masks and offer members volunteer hours for each mask that is made. The club will be offering a date for members to pick up the materials on June 28 and drop off the finished shields on July 12 in exchange for volunteer hours.

So far, the founders have been paying for the project out of their own pockets, but they hope to raise more money through their GoFundMe page. 

Project Aniketos has donated about 110 face shields and 90 masks to Alianza Medical Center, Loma Linda University Medical Center and Rancho Cucamonga VA Clinic. Moving forward, the association wants to shift their focus toward helping other clubs film and photograph their events.

“Having a professional media producing team is what clubs on our campus lack, and we’re there to fill the gap,” Zhang said. “We envision spreading positivity and hope to our community through shutters running in worthy moments.”