Community Foundation’s Youth Initiative Award announced

Dr. Ben and Sharon Hanssen, Silas Hoffman, Heidi Hoffman, and Chris Hoffman.

MUSCATINE, Iowa–The Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine announced the winner of its annual Youth Initiative Award Oct. 5. The award recognizes youth, age 18 and under, in our community who initiate high impact charitable programs or projects.

Giles Joslyn received the first award for originating Stringfest to raise money for new band instruments and music lessons for students who could not afford them. The Youth Initiative award continues to honor the passion, persistence, enterprise, and leadership he demonstrated.

This year, Silas Hoffman, a junior at Muscatine High School, received the Youth Initiative Award. When the pandemic first began, many, if not all of us had no idea how to help. Silas put his 3-D printer to work and began to print personal protective equipment such as face shields and an ear saver to alleviate discomfort for those wearing masks all day. “People around the world were making things to help those on the frontlines,” stated Silas Hoffman: “I saw this through the 3D printing community online and thought that since we have a 3-D printer we should do that. I started printing tons of them to help out my community.”

Silas donated thousands of PPE units to all the local nursing homes, the hospital, and more:


• Lutheran Living
• Valley View Manor Assisted Living
• Premier Estates of Muscatine
• Sunny Brook at Muscatine
• Bickford of Muscatine
• Pearl Valley Rehabilitation
• Senior Resources
• Unity Point Health – Trinity Muscatine
• Muscatine County Department of Public Health
• Muscatine County Emergency Management
• Additional nursing homes and hospitals outside Muscatine County

Silas’ 3-D printer can only print on average nine ear savers at a time. Thus, a significant number of hours went into making them, as well as emptying the printer, restarting it, refilling it with filament, and fixing it as necessary. The funding of the filament came from grants that the robotics team at MHS had received, as well as donations.

More than once Silas gave up time online with his friends to deliver more personal protective equipment around Muscatine County. Although he made up for it by playing video games into the early morning, he still had the 3-D
printers humming along.

“I have had the privilege of teaching Silas in eighth grade and his sophomore year,” said Angie Pautz, a science teacher at Muscatine High School. “Silas embodies service, curiosity, and initiative – all buoyed by a positive attitude.”

A $1,000 stipend accompanies the Youth Initiative Award to support the charitable program or project of the recipient’s choice. Silas asked that the $1,000 go to the STEM Matters fund at the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine.