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Valdosta State theatre group uses creativity to save lives

Posted at 11:27 PM, Apr 10, 2020

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WTXL) — Valdosta State University faculty and students are meeting a major need in the community right now.

A costume designer and her students are on a mission to give back to the community they live in, making dozens of cloth face masks.

"It’s a scary time," said Chaise Ludlow, VSU Theatre and Dance professor. "Our anxiety is high. I want to make sure people feel loved and protected."

The team from Valdosta State University’s theatre program shows how they’re helping their police force and others across the country.

"We saw a need, and I have amazing students who, even in their quarantine, are able to use their skills," Ludlow said.

Chalise Ludlow is a costume designer and assistant professor for Valdosta State’s Theatre and Dance program.

She and her students have been making masks to help protect patients during the coronavirus pandemic.

"We’ve made over 60 masks," said Ludlow. "We sent 32 to a cancer center in Kansas."

Through word of mouth, the Valdosta Police Department heard about their project and asked if the team could pitch in.

"And we were like, 'Challenge accepted. We will do it,'" said Ludlow.

Now, they’re working to build about 150 masks for the police force.

Theatre production major, Kathalina Thorpe says they’re getting a boost from donations from all over.

"We had fabric donated from N.C., some hair elastics for when we run out of actual elastic.," said Thorpe.

Their project reaches the nation through their Facebook group.

Joi Pitts is also a theatre production major.

"The way these masks are made, they don’t go around your ears," said Pitts. "They go around your head."

Using skills learned behind the scenes to keep those in the line of duty safe while reassuring their loved ones.

"Knowing that they have a little extra protection," said Ludlow, "hopefully, will bring them some comfort."

As they sew their way toward a healthy, happy ending for this pandemic.

"Hopefully, our little, tiny masks can do some good."

And the Valdosta Police Chief says they're grateful to the group.

“We’re thankful to have committed partners like that," said Valdosta Police Chief Leslie Manahan. "Our officers will benefit from these vital items during these unprecedented times.”