Mount St. Mary Academy junior Emma Candella has been working tirelessly for two weeks to assemble 135 joey pouches that will be sent to aid Australian animals following the recent devastating fires.

Emma cut and sewed 115 pouches on her own over a two-week period. On Tuesday, Jan. 28, Emma will mail the pouches to Relief Crafters of America who will then send the pouches on to the animals in need.

“Time flew by as I was making them,” Emma said of her sometimes hours-long sewing sessions. “I just love animals, and I wanted to find a way I could help with something tangible.”

During one of the school’s brief morning assemblies, Emma called her peers to action, asking students to donate fabric and pitch in their time to bring her project to life. A particular group of students in Mount St. Mary Academy’s STEAM classes joined in her efforts, cutting out and preparing fabric for Emma to continue working on. On their own, they assembled 20 additional pouches in the school’s Makerspace.

The joey pouches are meant to simulate a marsupial mother’s pouch for young animals who may have been orphaned in the fires, Emma explained. They aren’t meant only for kangaroo joeys, however – they can be used to comfort and care for a variety of other animals including koalas, sugar gliders, bandicoots, and more.

Though the project was unrelated, much of Emma’s efforts were completed during Mount St. Mary Academy’s Service and Justice Week. This week centered around three-day immersive experiences through which students learned about local, national, and global injustices and needs. More importantly, students in each of the school’s dozen experiences learned just how they can make a difference in their respective projects. Emma lived out the spirit of this experience in her efforts to care for her global neighbors; the Australian animals.


Here’s what local news organizations had to say about Emma’s hard work:

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