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Arizona-made masks are made with clear shields to make lip reading easier

KPHO Phoenix logo KPHO Phoenix 7/5/2020
a group of items on a table © Courtesy: See My Smile Mask

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Masks are becoming an essential way of life and not going away anytime soon. One Arizona company decided to make masks that stand out from the rest.

What started as a project to protect church members & give them the freedom to be more expressive during services has turned into a business for a married Scottsdale couple.

See My Smile Mask came to be after the COVID-19 pandemic started and noticing that with masks, there was a bit of missed human connection that people would get with just a smile.

Ruthie, a former teacher and her entrepreneur husband Mickey Smith, designed See My Smile clear masks with the intent to help teachers, waiters, & other professions where communication is crucial. They also think it’ll help the deaf who rely on reading lips. Mickey said he went through at least 7 different prototypes.

Nick Lowery, Kansas City Chiefs hall of fame and Youth Foundation President partnered with the Smith couple.

"We have been thinking about school starting back up in the fall, and how the teachers will seem distant and even scary to the students. We started to think about the server at the restaurant that is losing tips because of that missing connection with the guests. We have some deaf friends who can’t understand anything behind a mask right now because they rely heavily on lip reading. Let’s start to bridge the gap between isolated hearts. It would be great to look people in the eye, cheer up each other’s day and pass that smile around!"

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They created special masks with a build in clear shield that not only let's you see someone's smile but also helps to let people see lip read.

There are three mask sizes - small, medium and large. They each are built with a double layer cloth core, anti-fog protective plastic shield, elastic ear loops, and rear-facing side vents. It comes in a variety of colors too.

Right now, there’s no manufacturing warehouse. The couple assembles the materials at their home and sends the masks to be sewn to seamstresses around the Valley. Then the masks are sanitized before shipment.

Each one is $24.95 and $1.00 of each mask goes to Operation Smile. Some of the money also goes towards Nick Lowery's Youth Foundation to help provide free COVID-19 testing. If you want one, visit their website here, call 480-881-7319, or ask them questions via email at info@seemymask.com.

Great idea? A little weird? Skeptical? What do you think? The local creator says this clear mask is washable, doesn’t fog up for about 1 hour, &has breathing vents on the side. He hopes it’ll be a good option for teachers to help communicate to students. #AZFamily pic.twitter.com/kBPelXi3jk— Maria Hechanova (@MariaHechanova) July 5, 2020

Phones have been ringing off the hook about these clear masks. After my live shot, there were so many people going to the website... it crashed! Here’s how you can learn more info about it: 480-881-7319 & info@seemysmilemask.com #AZFamily pic.twitter.com/OmiLc8GlqV— Maria Hechanova (@MariaHechanova) July 5, 2020

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