MILLBURN, NJ — For Jonah and Raffi Dovdavany, the recent quarantine orders inspired them to do something that would work to help cheer up their community by spreading a little joy.
Several weeks ago, Jonah had the idea to type and send out a letter, which would have advised resident son proper health and safety tips during quarantine.
“I was just thinking one day, of course being bored with absolutely nothing to do, ‘why don’t I figure out a way to help the community?’ Jonah said. “And I started off by thinking of something big and not easily done, and then started [thinking] smaller and then easier.”
After hearing from his mother about ways to make his project more focused, Jonah drew on his prior experience at Golda Och Academy, where he and his brother both go to school, to come up with a new idea; painting rocks.
“At our school we’ve done this before – to me that’s a very kind way to give respect to people and to make people feel good,” Jonah said. “And so I thought, ‘we have a bunch of rocks outside, and we just got a new paint set […] why don’t we paint these glow-in-the-dark-rocks?’”
When the students at Golda Och painted rocks for a rock garden, they took the time to write encouraging messages on the rocks, that would then be placed in front of the school. Jonah took his initial letter idea, Shortened it and added it alongside the rocks he was painting.
As for his younger brother Raffi, he was all in as well when he heard about what Jonah wanted to do.
“When I heard Jonah was painting rocks, I wanted to do it with him,” Raffi said.
Together, the boys painted 30 rocks, which were picked up by the town and distributed along with food to seniors receiving home delivery during this time. That portion of the project came as an idea from Mayor Jackie Lieberberg, who Jonah contacted while painting.
Both boys were happy with the work they did, and reflected back on the work they did.
“I felt really proud of myself and I just felt really good, because I was getting support from my mom and dad, and then after I called the mayor, she said ‘that’s a really good thing that you’re doing,’ and it just made me feel really good about myself,” Jonah said.
“It makes me feel happy that I can help the elderly,” Raffi added.
Additionally, the boys indicated a willingness to come up with more projects in the immediate and long-term future, and follow through on them.