We currently live in an era rampant with activities and entertainment fit for people young and old. From books and television to sports and video games, there are countless engaging activities that keep kids busy for hours. Many of these activities are designed to teach kids a number of valuable skills both physical and mental.

However, they often also serve a more uncommon purpose: To distract young minds from other, less favorable occurrences. One New Jersey teen is using this purpose to help children in need, resulting in the creation of the Action for Distraction charity.

Prudential Spirit of Community Honoree, Zachary Rice, and his mother Shannon sat down for a segment of One-on-One with Steve Adubato to discuss the origins and present-day actions of Zachary’s charity.

When Rice first stayed at a hospital, at the age of 9, his father brought him video games to play. This distracted him from thinking about his current situation. He spent the next couple of years in and out of hospitals, some of which lacked any real means of keeping his mind occupied. This triggered the inception of an annual 5K run/walk.

“As I was in this giant amount of pain,” Rice tells Adubato, “we were inching me out of [the hospital bed] for about 45 minutes a day, and I turned to my mom, and I say, ‘Hey, can I start a charity’?”

This video was made possible thanks to NJM Auto Insurance.
This video was made possible thanks to NJM Auto Insurance.

His motivation for starting the charity isn’t hard to guess; “I wanted other kids to be distracted with the gaming systems because I knew how much that kind of distracted me from my pain, and it kind of took me out of that world.”

Rice’s charity, Action for Distraction, provides gaming systems and other fun distractions for young patients at Goryeb Children’s Hospital in Morristown. It is now approaching its fifth year of helping children in need.

To hear more about Rice’s generosity and thoughtfulness, check out this edition of One-on-One with Steve Adubato.

For more stories that impact New Jersey residents, click over to our Hot Topics in NJ series.

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