ROUNDUP: McKinney residents share stories of encouragement through COVID-19

A local McKinney business owner has launched BeyondTheCurve, a website to connect the community with ways to help during COVID-19. (Screenshot by Miranda Jaimes/Community Impact Newspaper)
A local McKinney business owner has launched BeyondTheCurve, a website to connect the community with ways to help during COVID-19. (Screenshot by Miranda Jaimes/Community Impact Newspaper)

A local McKinney business owner has launched BeyondTheCurve, a website to connect the community with ways to help during COVID-19. (Screenshot by Miranda Jaimes/Community Impact Newspaper)

As businesses and individuals reel from the fallout of COVID-19, the McKinney community is rallying to provide support and encouragement to those in need. Here are three McKinney initiatives that shared with Community Impact Newspaper about how they are spreading something positive.

BeyondTheCurve Campaign

Anthony Olague, the owner of Liberty Music Academy in McKinney, has launched a website called BeyondTheCurve to create volunteer opportunities, events and projects for community members to get involved with and help others in the wake of COVID-19. The BeyondTheCurve website functions entirely separately from his business, Olague said.

“Running Liberty Music Academy, I am able to help families who already struggle financially, as my main focus is to help students turn their dreams into reality,” Olague said in an email. “Seeing more people struggle today due to the pandemic and knowing that music lessons just aren't going to be enough, I felt the need to take initiative and make something happen so more people could do more for others without money being an issue.”

The website, which officially launched in mid-May, has brought in about 118 donations to nonprofits and charities on the Beyond the Curve website, he said. Other people have used the website to volunteer for tasks, including writing a letter to first responders and those in nursing homes and helping McKinney’s senior population with yard work, Olague said.

“Our ultimate goal is to get more people helping people around them,” Olague said. “Even when this pandemic is considered ‘over,’ many will still be struggling, at least until they are able to get back on their feet. I would like this campaign to travel all over the country and continue to keep helping even after this pandemic is over."

Personalized Touch making masks

After opening in a new office space in March, Personalized Touch had little time to transition to a world with COVID-19.

The family-owned shop offers screen printing, embroidery, and promotional products, but it also shifted gears to start making masks to help the community, owner Hellene Barillas said.

“Our screen printing shop became a sewing space overnight, and the mask-making process began,” Barillas said in an email.

The business at first was low on fabric, she said, so she contacted the McKinney Chamber of Commerce, which connected her to the Thomas Pickard Agency and Kapitol Health. These two businesses donated a few yards of fabric for her cause, she said.

“With that little bit, we got a lot of masks done,” Barillas said. “We mainly went back to the shop to help.”

Personalized Touch is now selling masks to those that can afford them for $10 and is giving masks away to those that cannot, she said. The shop has donated more than 600 masks since it opened and has sold more than 1,000, she said.

The masks are available in a variety of colors and patterns and can be personalized, Barillas said.

“If people try to get [masks] someplace else, it can take weeks,” she said. “Here, we have them available. ... Our main goal is to keep our community healthy.”

Personalized Touch is located at 351B E. Louisiana St., McKinney. 469-301-8298.

Honoring McKinney graduates

Residents of Sorrellwood Park in McKinney are coming together May 17 for a drive-by parade through the neighborhood to honor its McKinney ISD and college graduates.

Within the neighborhood are nine high school graduates and four college graduates, said Tracie Frazier, one of the organizers of the event.

The event was inspired by the changing ceremonies and lack of parties the graduates would have to honor their achievements due to COVID-19, she said.

“We thought we could put together a parade that would be safe, and people could decorate golf carts, their bikes and whatever they wanted, and we could process through the neighborhood,” Frazier said.

Residents of Sorrellwood Park have put together gifts for the graduating seniors, including treat packages and T-shirts, she said.

While the May 17 event is limited to the residents of Sorrellwood Park, Frazier said she hopes others can take inspiration from the event and put together their own celebrations for McKinney seniors.

“We've been telling everyone to let everybody know,” Frazier said. “We're hoping that these families are telling their friends about it and how they're being recognized and acknowledged. Most of the residents may not even know who these graduates are, but everybody's excited just knowing what a great milestone this is in a child's life and how important it is.”

Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect changes to the scheduled event.
By Miranda Jaimes
Miranda has been in the North Texas area since she graduated from Oklahoma Christian University in 2014. She reported and did design for a daily newspaper in Grayson County before she transitioned to a managing editor role for three weekly newspapers in Collin County. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 covering Tarrant County news, and is now back in Collin County as the editor of the Frisco and McKinney editions.


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