4-H Makes Shields for Heroes

Apr 24, 2020

4-H Makes Shields for Heroes

Apr 24, 2020

In an effort to help their community to control the spread of COVID-19, a Silicon Valley brother and sister came up with a plan to support health care personnel. They even created a video to show how they are helping and show how others can too.

With people across the country cranking out masks, they wanted to buy face shields. These inventive 4-H'ers researched what others were doing and selected this particular design as being elegant and sturdy enough to withstand repeated use.

Health care worker with face shield at computer

At $8 each online, they quickly learned that they could not afford to buy very many. Determined to find a way to help, they decided to see if they could design and make the face shields for less.

First, they reverse-engineered and developed the design that mirrors the shields they had seen online. They shopped around to find the materials they would need, at the best price. Their goal was to provide a plan so that anyone could afford to buy the materials and make the shields. Then the shields could be distributed to first responders and medical personnel, thereby saving the "certified" masks for those working with sick people on the front lines.

These young engineers got their estimated cost down to an incredible 50 cents for each shield!

They carefully chose commonly available materials that are available in large quantities throughout the United States. The design uses no messy glues and the only tools used are a stapler and scissors. Construction can be completed by a young person that knows how to use scissors, a zip tie and a stapler. See their Materials List.

Making and sharing the face shields

The 4-H youth made their first batch of 80 shields. Their mom and a neighbor were also making masks using one of the CDC's recommended designs. Combining efforts, they were able to provide a local health clinic with ten masks and ten face shields. The clinic was grateful as they did not have enough PPE for their support staff. The rest of the initial batch of face shields went to friends and neighbors. They have found that they can comfortably produce shields at a rate of 25 per hour. However, as high school and junior high school students, their school work comes first. They can only manage a few hours of production each week.

Their personal goal is to make 1,000 shields.

Health care worker with mask and face shield

These Santa Clara County 4-H members are eager to get others involved in making the shields for a wider impact.

They decided to make a public video so other 4-H members and volunteers could make shields for their local communities. An adult 4-H Leader helped them get their video and story to their local 4-H Program, located in Santa Clara County's Cooperative Extension Office.

You can help make face shields!

As 4-H'ers, they know that this design can be quickly propagated nationwide within a matter of days and that there could be 6,000 4-H families making these. The shields can then be given to First Responders and the health facilities personnel who process patients. This will allow the limited supplies of certified masks and face shields to go to the doctors and nurses who can save lives.

Joining our efforts as 4-H members statewide and nationwide, we can make a difference!

Please let us know how you will contribute by reporting to our Plan Hero page

Watch and share our how-to video, available on the California 4-H YouTube channel.

Download materials list

Wearing a mask decreases the possibility of droplets contacting your face → less contamination → less sick people → less patients → less contamination to doctors and nurses who do not have enough PPE gear to protect themselves at this moment.

These two 4-H members created a design that is very simple. The face shield will provide full coverage of the face from ear to ear, in addition to the face masks that you are using. Even when you are not wearing a face mask, this will provide some protection compared to not wearing anything around your face. Not only is this a low-cost alternative, but the face shield is also REUSABLE, ADJUSTABLE, UV RESISTANT, COMFORTABLE, DOES NOT FOG, and CAN BE WIPED OR SANITIZED using alcohol or any antibacterial solution that you have.

Stay safe and stay healthy. Thank you.



By Susan J Weaver
Author - 4-H Youth Development Program Representative