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Thursday, July 9, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Selkirk Middle School student makes bracelets connecting community

Making more than 50 friendship bracelets, Liberty Lake eighth-grader Birdie Bachman has created messages of hope to show how her community is connected during this pandemic despite being socially distanced apart.

Bachman, 14, expects in the weeks ahead that she’ll see some of her neighbors at stores wearing the bracelets that she began crafting in early June for a year-end project at Selkirk Middle School. She said the assignment from teacher Rachael Kettner asked students to find ways to support the community that illustrate connections.

“The project is just to go out in the community and help, and show how the COVID-19 pandemic is keeping us apart physically but bringing us together in different ways,” Bachman said.

“We had to find a way to get involved with our community, if that meant making masks or going out and cleaning. I thought since I like crafts and making stuff, that would be a good way to show support for how close a community can be.

“Making the bracelets, I thought wouldn’t it be cool to see your neighbors and friends having this little bracelet they’re wearing to show how connected we can be. That through hard times, we still are connected and together.”

Bachman used brightly-colored embroidery floss and small beads with letters to spell out messages she’s woven together for the bracelets. She let people know they were available for free in the community by sending a message through her mother’s phone to private Liberty Lake Facebook groups. Within about 12 hours, she’d received requests for more than 35 of them.

“They’re like a friendship bracelet,” she said. “I’ve been writing words with the beads, words like community, hope, sunshine and Liberty Lake.”

She also shared the idea with friends on Instagram.

Bachman told people in her posts they could message back with a selection of three colors and any messages for the bracelets.

Most of the requests were from individuals, but some people ordered for an entire family.

“Within two hours of posting, one lady had asked for a bracelet, and I said, ‘Of course, I’ll make you one.’ She came back and told me she wanted five for daughters and one for herself. I’ve had families ordering, and it just shows how quickly a small community can spread awareness and spread the word.”

Watching her daughter plan and tackle the project didn’t surprise mom Maria Garcia-Bachman. She saw Birdie’s early planning in texts while driving with her husband, Brian Bachman.

“I saw these texts on Messenger, so I asked her, ‘Who are you exchanging messages with?’ She explained it’s for her science class,” said Garcia-Bachman. “It doesn’t surprise me she took the initiative to do this on her own. Often, Birdie will get an assignment and just does it.

“She’s not shy, and she doesn’t shy away from connecting with people and doing what she thinks is important.”

Next thing her mom knew, they were headed to a store to buy supplies. After seeing her posts, some people offered to give her embroidery floss or make a small donation for materials.

Birdie Bachman said she planned to wrap up the work before Friday when the school year ends, but she might make more if demand continues. She didn’t really follow a pattern.

“I’ve just been braiding them, and people can ask for them to be looser or tighter,” Bachman said. “One girl asked for an anklet. I just created it.

“It was just a project, so I didn’t expect such a great number of people to ask for them, so seeing them out and about would be cool just to see that people care.”

Contact Treva Lind at (509) 459-5439 or treval@spokesman.com

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