Leadership in Action: John Umekubo
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit John Umekubo lept into action to help his community and hasn't stopped since.
"Mobilization of joint efforts works when people are flexible, kind, and share a cause."-John Umekubo
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many individuals were paralyzed with fear and uncertainty, but John Umekubo lept into action to help his community and hasn't stopped since.
As Director of Social Entrepreneurship at the Westside Neighborhood School in Los Angeles, CA, he challenged his middle-school students to help their community. Under his leadership one team of students wrote letters to support healthcare workers, while another invented new techniques and methodologies to help younger students deeply engage in remote learning.
His efforts did not stop there, John fired up his 3D printers and set them to work producing hundreds of filtered masks, ear savers, and face shields. As the world learned more about how COVID-19 spread, John saw the need for a hands-free door opener and button pushing device, so he invented one and called it the DoBu.
In the spare moments of this colossal community effort, he taught himself to sew so he could make face masks. Necessity came knocking again, this time as a need for shields to protect vulnerable infants in the NICU. John met the challenge and adapted the Budmen Face Shield design to fit the smallest members our society.
Reflecting on this remarkable group effort, John shared "I learned that mobilization of joint efforts works when people are flexible, kind, and share a cause. Working with such a wonderful group of people ranging from educators, to fellow makers, to those in the health profession, I witnessed effective collaboration firsthand between sectors that might not normally work together."
John responded to the crisis by stepping up to do the impossible. His leadership mobilized citizens of all ages to meet the needs of the greater society. John is the exemplar of how the tenacity and actions of one individual can transform a community into makers of change.To learn more about John
Images courtesy of John Umekubo.