La Salle Academy students donate 4,000 masks to local nonprofits

Students establish Mask Task Force to slow the spread of COVID-19 in R.I.

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PROVIDENCE — Over the summer, three La Salle Academy students formed the LSA Mask Task Force. The project, which brought together Cranston’s Tianli Jiang ‘21, Tianyi Cheng ‘21, and Gianni Diarbi ‘22, resulted in seven local nonprofits receiving 4,000 medical face masks and the creation of a poster aimed at educating the community about COVID-19 safety.
In May, Chinese exchange student Tianli Jiang watched as a deadly virus spread across his country. Unable to help due to travel restrictions and safety concerns, he decided to make a difference in Rhode Island. Jiang asked Rosanne Trissler, La Salle’s head librarian, to serve as an advisor before recruiting Gianni Diarbi, a junior, and fellow exchange student Tianyi Chen, a senior.
“Tianli told me that he was reaching out to companies in China to see if they’d donate masks,” explained Trissler. “I told him it was a great idea.” China’s Hongcheng Public Ltd., donated 4,000 masks, of which Jiang distributed 800 to McAuley Ministries, 800 to Tides Family Services, 800 to House of Hope, 600 to the Scalabrini Dukcevich Center, 500 to San Miguel School, 250 to Ocean Tides, and 250 to St. Patrick’s Mary House Soup Kitchen.
The team also created a poster to promote COVID-19 safety. Cheng provided the design, Jiang wrote a mission summary, and Diarbi compiled research, which included hand washing techniques, social distancing guidelines, and the difference between cloth and medical masks. Copies of the poster were sent to the nonprofits and hung throughout the school.
When asked why she believed the students had taken on this project, Trissler said, “All of the connections just came together in their hearts and minds; these three genuinely embrace the Lasallian call to be a positive influence and to do good for others.”