For sisters, honoring veterans is family bonding

For three South Jersey sisters, spending quality time together over the holiday season involves laying wreaths at the graves of veterans.

Sophia (age 14), Madelena (age 12) and Ariella DiFabio (age 11), of Mullica Hill,  have been volunteering for local charities throughout South Jersey for the past five years because, as Ariella notes, “it makes them feel good inside.”

It has also brought them recognition on a national level.

Points of Light, an Atlanta-based non-profit dedicated to solving social problems through volunteer services, recently gave the girls a shout out as its daily Point of Light honorees.

The sisters discovered their passion for volunteering five years ago through Kids on a Quest, sponsored by Angels Community Outreach. This group met monthly to perform service projects and acts of kindness, according to Alicia DiFabio, their mom.

“We then began participating in annual events, and the kids loved them so much,” Alicia says. “As they got older, it became easier to find and participate in activities across the community and also be guided by what they were interested in doing.”

The sisters, along with their parents Alicia and Anthony, devote their time across five different local non-profits, as well as through their church and school. In the past seven years, the girls helped lay 2,700 wreaths for People For People’s Wreaths of Remembrance Ceremony at the Gloucester County Veterans Cemetery. They’re also regulars in the quest to fill over 1,000 Easter baskets each Spring for Angels Community Outreach.

In 2016, the family created a Facebook page called Charitable Children which is a resource hub for people in South Jersey featuring various kid-friendly volunteer activities and service projects. They update it regularly.

This year alone the sisters have already logged in 120 hours on projects. And they’re inspiring their peers to commit to service as well, says Alicia.

“The girls are great at inviting others to come along with them when they attend organized service projects,” she notes. “We’ve found that kids really want to help and are always willing and able to join in. I see Sophia, Madelena, and Ariella as leading by example.”

In 2019, the girls will be partnering with Robin’s Nest to create a Kids Charity Club to inspire other kids to get involved in charitable activities.

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