Standout Student: Champlin Park’s Keeley Boudreau
Keeley Boudreau is what you would call a well-rounded student.
The 16-year-old junior from Champlin Park High School is part of the dance team, the school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes organization, and she does volunteer work for Champlin Park’s LEO Club.
“It just brings good experiences. It’s very fun,” Boudreau said, when asked about why she volunteers.
When she’s not doing volunteer work through the school, she contributes to society in other ways. Mainly, the St. Jude Leadership Society, which is comprised of a group of high school students who promote and support the mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Boudreau is one of about 20 Minnesota high school students who work to raise money for St. Jude.
“Basically, our goal, if you’re a student in the group, is to raise $2,500,” she said.
When the campaign kicked off earlier this year, Boudreau’s fundraising effort didn’t start off particularly well.
“My mom posted (on social media) that I was a part of it, and I probably raised, like $50,” Boudreau said. “No one donated, you know. But people commented and said, ‘congrats, that’s a cool thing you’re doing.'”
While well-wishes are certainly a good thing, it’s no substitute for the fundraising dollars she needed to support her cause. Yet when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Boudreau came up with an idea that would not only raise money, but allow her to put one of her talents to good use.
Utilizing Her Sewing Skills
“When I was younger, probably in the 5th grade, I learned how to sew. My grandma taught me,” she said.
One day, Boudreau and her mom saw a post on a Champlin community page that someone was making masks. That post inspired them to make masks of their own and sell them to people in the area as a way to raise money for St. Jude.
“And so my mom posted on three different community pages, just explaining what I’m doing, and if you want any masks to just text us, private message us,” Boudreau said. “And then we got a whole bunch of orders in the past month, and we’ve just been making masks for people.”
Since March 31, she said she’s made more than 2,000 masks and raised $11,000. Boudreau asks for $5 per mask, but she says some people have paid more, simply as a way to help the good cause along.
When the masks are ready, Boudreau puts them into a bag, labels the bag with a sticker, and sets them out on her porch for people to collect whenever it’s convenient.
“I always liked sewing. It’s fun,” Boudreau said. “But I didn’t think I’d ever have to sew this much.”
She estimates that her and her mom have spent more than $500 on fabric and elastic since the mask-sewing project kicked off. However, the days of having to buy their own fabric to make the masks are now a thing of the past.
Help from JOANN
Shortly after Boudreau began her project, St. Jude highlighted her efforts. And in today’s digital age, word travels fast. Someone from the world’s largest fabric retailer, JOANN, heard about Boudreau’s efforts and decided to donate fabric to the cause so that she could continue her good work without having to pay too much out of pocket to make it happen.
“So it’s kind of cool that JOANN saw that,” she said. “We’re waiting to see much much fabric we get from JOANN’s, and then when we do, we’ll make all those masks. So depending on how much they give us, we’ll just keep going.”
Her efforts are not only helping to limit the spread of COVID-19, but she’s helping St. Jude’s mission of finding cures for children battling cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
“Everyone’s just stuck and home kind of wasting their time, trying to get through each day,” Boudreau said. “So I just think it’s cool that I have not only been helpful to the St. Jude’s people, but been helpful to the community.”
If you’d like one of Boudreau’s homemade masks, you can send a message to Keeley’s mother, Katie Boudreau on Facebook.