Quaranteen provides opportunity for sewing lessons; passion projects

Jessica Zang, Forum Editor

For the numerous avid volunteers of the Gunn community, social distancing restrictions have posed a seemingly insurmountable barrier to the typical volunteering experience. However, many have students persevered in helping people in the community despite these difficulties. Sophomore Alina Li, who uses her free time at home to teach people how to sew their own clothing via Zoom, is one such volunteer. 

Li found the opportunity to volunteer through Quaranteen, a nonprofit organization founded by senior Katie Kudriavstev and senior Sarah Emberling. Her transition into her new volunteering routine was relatively easy; after teaching math and coding to younger students a year prior and discovering her enjoyment of the job, she began to seek out a way to teach sewing, her favorite hobby. “Quaranteen had posted about running a workshop through their nonprofit and getting volunteering hours,” she said. “I had been thinking about running a sewing workshop for a while, so this was the perfect opportunity.”

Since the takeover of fast fashion shops like Forever 21 and Zara in the late 2000’s, trendy items have come and gone, leaving disposable clothing piling up in local landfills. For Li, sewing one’s own clothes can be a sustainable alternative to customize a person’s style without supporting unethical companies, who often use cheap child labor and manufacturing processes that pollute the environment. “Making your own clothing is a great way to avoid buying into fast fashion,” Li said. “You can really think about what you want your clothes to look like in terms of fabric, style and size.”

Despite the physical disconnect between volunteers and those they serve, Li encourages everybody to give virtual service a chance. “I would say just try it out,” Li said. “It’s nice to help people out, especially right now, and online volunteering is a great way to do that.”