Students Involved with Smocks For Life


Courtesy of Fashion Design teacher Marie Villa

Fashion design students stand next to each other holding the smocks they created.


For senior Alyssa Chavez getting the chance to participate along with other students on a project hits very close to home.

While Chavez was in 8th grade she dealt with the process of going through radiation and was diagnosed with an auto immune disease.

“My mom had cancer and I suffered from auto immune diseases,” Chavez said. “I used to go through radiation in 8th grade and this would’ve been nice to have instead of being fully exposed.”

Chavez along with Advanced fashion students participated in creating smocks for an organization made by digital learning specialist Amy Harris.

“To give to others I think that’s the most important thing,” fashion design teacher Marie Villa said. “You can learn all these great skills and learn how to do all these things, but I think that it’s huge to give yourself to others using the skills you learn in school.”

For students in Fashion Two and Three they got the opportunity to create smocks. A smock is garment that is usually worn by cancer patients to help accommodate their needs and makes them feel more comfortable.

“These are smocks for cancer patients, but specific ones that accommodate their specific needs for when they go through radiation they don’t have to get burns and makes them feel more comfortable with the situation they’re in,” senior Gemari Sawyer said.

Since this project was a bit new among the students, this was not like the usual garment they typically made. This garment required certain materials and also came along with a sewing kit.

“We had to have full cotton fabric, thread, and Velcro,” Chavez said. “We had sewing kits from Ms. Harris that you just cut out the pattern and follow the steps that they give you in order to make the smock.”

You can learn all these great skills and learn how to do all these things, but I think that it’s huge to give yourself to others using the skills you learn in school.

— fashion design teacher Marie Villa

While this project was something different for the fashion students the idea for this project came from a fellow teacher on campus who is behind an organization that is involved with making smocks.

“Ms. Harris approached me during a professional development day and asked if my students would be interested in this, so I agreed,” Villa said. “She came as a guest speaker and talked to my students about it. She stayed in class for a few minutes and helped them get started. She brought them sewing kits and already had the fabric and Velcro cut out.”

The organization that gave these students the opportunity is Smocks For Life. Smocks for Life gives out smocks to patients and even allows people to be apart of this by volunteering. Harris came up with this type of organization when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“My mother was diagnosed in 2007 with breast cancer, even though she was diagnosed with technically stage 0, which was the best outcome we could possibly, have it was still a grueling process for her going through radiation and chemotherapy,” Harris said.  “A woman that was friends with my aunt had the smocks. She was an older lady and has since stopped creating them, but my aunt got a hold of one. My mom was the only one sitting in radiation in this smock while everyone else was sitting there in their hospital gown, a lot of the women would wear two hospital gowns, one in the front and one in the back, because they would have a lot of surgery scars and mastectomy scars, so they didn’t want that exposed and my mom didn’t need any of that because she was completely covered with her smock.”

When people found out about the smock, they started to ask around on how she got one. After the lady who gave the smock to Harris’ mother retired from making them anymore, they decided why not just start making them and helping others.

“People started to ask where did you get that, how can I get one,” Harris said. “The lady was elderly and couldn’t do it anymore and we were like we can do this and so that’s how we started Smocks For Life and we’ve been doing it for 12 years and we never ask any questions about anything if someone asks for one, we just say what size and send it. The only thing we do ask is that each patient only gets one so that way we can give them to more people.”