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Fashion student grips Phys-Ed class with sewing talents

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Fashion student grips Phys-Ed class with sewing talents

North Penn senior Nicole Owens worked for two weeks to recreate X-Strap hand grips (right) and make her own version (left).

North Penn senior Nicole Owens worked for two weeks to recreate X-Strap hand grips (right) and make her own version (left).

Cydney Lee

North Penn senior Nicole Owens worked for two weeks to recreate X-Strap hand grips (right) and make her own version (left).

Cydney Lee

Cydney Lee

North Penn senior Nicole Owens worked for two weeks to recreate X-Strap hand grips (right) and make her own version (left).

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TOWAMENCIN – The fashion world is overwhelmed with high end clothes and celebrity clothing lines. Recently, North Penn senior Nicole Owens proved that fashion can be more than dresses and shoes.

For Owens, her fashion skills have become a way to help students in need as well.  Today, there are many products available to assist special needs. One of the most popular of these products are specialized hand grips.Some special needs kids have trouble opening and closing their hands, therefore they are unable to easily grip objects.  These hand grips are developed to allow these kids to adapt their grip to help them excel in activities.

Used by many special needs students, one of the most popular hand grip models was the X-Strap. Unfortunately, the brand was recently discontinued, therefore the grips unable to be used.

Owens took on the challenge of recreating the recently discontinued straps. This school year, Owens is one of four career study students for Mrs. Joelle Townsend in the fashion department. Owens was recommended to take up this project because of her strong sewing skills and devotion to a better cause.

Owens took this project head on, immediately devising a plan to recreate the original pattern. She basically looked at the glove and simply duplicated the design.

“I took the padding out of [the original]. [Mine] is a little different because the [original] is fuzzy and [mine] is not, so I have more Velcro,” said Owens.

After two weeks of work and $60 worth of materials, Owens successfully completed eight hand grips for Ms. Kristen Panaski’s special needs students.

“Eric [Pollock, the physical therapist] was the one that usually tells me some things that will help these kids as their physical therapist,” said Panaski ”When he showed me [the gloves], the original red ones, I thought they were great.”

North Penn's Katie Shunk (left) tests out Owens' hand grips with assistance from senior career study student Emily Suzuki (right).

Cydney Lee
North Penn’s Katie Shunk (left) tests out Owens’ hand grips with assistance from senior career study student Emily Suzuki (right).

Panaski was pleased with the amount of work Owens dedicated to replicate the original gloves. She was even happier when she saw the students finally use them last Wednesday.

In general, the grips help tremendously with the students’ safety as they are forced to latch firmly onto the handlebars of bikes and pillow polo sticks. Since the students have to hold tight, it helps them build muscular strength within their hands and arms.

“It’s something new, so it’s going to make them a little uncomfortable,” explained Panaski “But, as they get stronger using them, it’ll be great for them to build some strength.”

Not only can the hang grips be used in the gym, but they can also be utilized in the classroom. The grips help them adapt skills that are also beneficial within an actual classroom.

Thanks to Owens’ dedication and devotion to a better cause, the special needs department is now equipped with hand grips to help make the students’ lives even better.

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Fashion student grips Phys-Ed class with sewing talents