Beyond the Badge, Community Involvement

California Rehabilitation Center psychologist and volunteers sew masks

Masks with CDCR logos and American flags.
The volunteers make a variety of CDCR-specific masks.

By Don Chaddock, Inside CDCR editor
Office of Public and Employee Communications

Dr. Ashley Massimino wears a mask with the pink patch CDCR logo.
Dr. Ashley Massimino.

When the novel coronavirus hit, a team of CDCR employees got to work sewing masks. Dr. Ashley Massimino, psychologist at California Rehabilitation Center, and a team of volunteers have been making masks out of recycled CDCR uniforms.

The psychologist and her team of civilian volunteers use their off time sewing the masks, which they provide to others for free.

Using social media, Dr. Massimino reached out to CDCR/CCHCS staff statewide to gather uniform donations to use for mask sewing material.

Dr. Massimino was inspired to start this project after she noticed the masks given to staff did not fall in line with uniform standards. She began sewing masks from recycled uniforms donated by staff.  

“She and her team have invested a lot of time and money into all of this, and they haven’t asked for anything in return. I admire them for stepping up,” said Sgt. Vanessa Melendez.

To contact the team, find them on Instagram at the_staff_assistant.

The civilian volunteer team includes:

  • Libby Partain
  • Suzi Cassidy
  • Jeanne Mansfield 
  • Joy Bruhl
  • Janis Kosmala
  • Eris Burnham
  • Jolie Kessel
  • Joyce Takeda Wakefield 
  • Sherry Jystad 

Pink Patch Project masks — To raise funds for those battling cancer, the psychologist and her team are also sewing CDCR Pink Patch Project masks. According to those behind the sewing machines, “There has been an overwhelming amount of support for this ongoing cause.”

CIW officer Tiffany Huerta wears a mask.
California Institution for Women Correctional Officer Tiffany Huerta wears one of the masks made by the team of volunteers.