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Student Looks to Make a Difference by Getting Kids Outdoors

Sixth grader organizes event to help youngsters enjoy nature.

A focus on getting kids away from technology and back into nature has grown in recent years, and Sophie de Faria wants to help.

Just a sixth grader, de Faria has invited as many children ages seven to 10 to join her on May 31 to spend a couple hours exploring and enjoying nature from 2 to 4 p.m.

A student at Long Valley Middle School, de Faria is working on her Change The World project, an assignment in which students are challenged to make a difference in the community. The project is overseen and assigned by Social Studies teacher Matt Marciano.

de Faria knows getting kids out of the house can be a tall task, but she’s promised games and activities to those who join her at Hacklebarney State Park on Hacklebarney Road in Chester.

“Obviously, I can’t gather everyone affected by this problem of not going outdoors frequently,” she writes on her website dedicated to the project. “That would be too many kids! I want to help children avoid indoor entertainments, by having fun with outdoor entertainments. That way, if they really enjoy it, maybe they will want to be outdoors more often.”

A rain date is set for Sunday, June 1, and children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Participants need to dress comfortably and wear sneakers, bring a bottle of water and a snack.

“My goal is to help these children realize that it’s not just YouTube and video games that can bring joy to you,” de Faria wrote. “I can’t address this problem globally, but what I am doing is a start. By participating, these children are making a difference for each and every other kid in the event. No one is too small to make a difference.”

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