ROXBURY, NJ – The public is invited to a Friday event where inspiring messages will be painted on rocks to be placed throughout Roxbury and beyond in honor of Maya Guberman and Christopher D’Amico, two young people whose deaths inspired movements promoting kindness.

The event, sponsored by the Roxbury Rotary Club, is scheduled for 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the island in Horseshoe Lake Park in Succasunna, said Rotarian Steve Alford.

“We are providing the rocks, paint and paint brushes,” Alford said in a Facebook post. “There will be music playing to keep everyone pumped up, and we still will be practicing social distancing. I just feel with everything happening right now in the world it’s so important to remember to be kind everyone.”

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The event was conceived by Julia Kest, a 14-year-old Succasunna resident who will be a Roxbury High School freshman in the fall. She said the goal is to spread the messages of kindness being promoted by two local efforts: Maya’s Mission and Kindness for Christopher.

Maya’s Mission was started after the February death of Guberman, a 13-year-old Succasunna resident. Kindness for Christopher was started after the 2015 death of D’Amico, a 10-year-old from Mount Arlington.

People involved in both groups paint inspirational messages on small stones that are placed in public places.

Kest, who was a schoolmate and friend of Guberman, said she was moved to do something special after seeing some “disrespectful things being said about Maya” during a recent online ceremony celebrating Eisenhower Middle School students headed for high school. She said she painted some stones and gave them to Guberman’s parents the next day.

“I thought they might be upset,” she said. “I felt really awful for them.”

In discussing with Alford the possibility of having a community event where people could paint similar messages of kindness on stones, the decision was made to incorporate both Maya’s Mission and Kindness for Christopher, Kest said.

“Anybody is welcome,” said Alford. “Any age. Any town. We really hope you can join us. Please tell your friends and family to come.”

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