By Steve Svetovich
Three-year old Avery Schivock is a little princess with a purpose.
Wearing her “princess dress” for the occasion, the Dunmore preschooler has an unusual hobby for her age.
And she is not afraid of getting her hands dirty.
Daughter of Stephanie and Christopher Schivock, Avery picks up cigarette butts in her Dunmore Sherwood Park neighborhood on a weekly basis.
Her mom explained. “My husband and I were looking for something to do during the pandemic,” she said. “So to get some fresh air and exercise, we started walking around our neighborhood by Sherwood Park with Avery and our one-year-old son, Mason. We started picking up cigarette butts for recycling and to help clean up the area. Well, Avery especially loved doing it and knows it is for a good cause. We’ve been going every week since April and she loves it.
“Avery likes to get out and make a difference. We are a very eco-friendly family. Avery understands the cigarette butts are going to help our environment. We put them in a canister and send them off.
“Initially, our daughter wore a princess dress while we took our walk and she collected the cigarette butts. Now she always has to wear a princess dress while searching for the butts.
“Now she looks for different colors and understands she is helping the Earth while collecting the different cigarette butts.
“She practices good safety habits. Avery wears gloves when she picks up the butts and places them in a can.
“The cigarette butts are filtered during the recycling process and even used for park benches and pallets.
“Our son Mason is still in the learning stages, but Avery is becoming an expert at this now. She loves it because she knows this is making the earth a better place for everybody.”
Avery attends preschool at the Greater Scranton YMCA in Dunmore.
Avery’s mom said the cigarette butts are placed in a container and sent to Terracycle, located in New Jersey.
“They have recycling programs for everything you can imagine,” she said. “Some are free, some are not.
“Our family recycles k-cups, plates, plastic utensils, fast food cups, straws, chip bags, cellophane wrappers, Gerber baby food cans, and other items in addition to the cigarette butts for Terracycle.
“We also recycle foam, electronics and clothing for local facilities.
“We are very proud that a family of four, with a little one in diapers, make less than a single kitchen bag of garbage a week.
“Avery has been helping us since she was old enough to carry the bottles to the recycling can on the porch.”
Stephanie and Christopher both graduated from Bishop O’Hara High School in Dunmore. Stephanie graduated from Marywood University and is a proud stay-at-home mom. Her husband was in the United States Coast Guard Academy, served 10 years of active duty and now is a GIS specialist for Rutgers University Marine and Coastal Sciences Department.