A Kindness Rocks Project that started in a small town in Cape Cod has spread throughout the world, became all the rage in Colorado Springs last year and is now taking off in Pueblo and Pueblo West, where locals are creating and finding painted river rocks all over our city and county with words of kindness on them.
The “Kindness Rocks” movement began in 2015 when Megan Murphy, a local businesswoman and mother of three, started displaying vibrantly painted rocks throughout Cape Cod for others to randomly find. Her goal was to encourage others with simple words of hope painted on the rocks. What began as a hobby has grown into a huge nationwide movement of groups forming to also inspire others.
In 2017, Jen Tews launched a Kindness Rocks Project in Colorado Springs and the rock painting and finding movement became so popular that her regional Facebook group, 719 Rocks! exploded from 7,000 members in June to over 40,000 members today, making her Facebook group one of the largest in her city. She encouraged locals throughout Southern Colorado to paint river rocks with kind messages and artwork, seal the paint, and hide them in public places for others to find, then to share their stories with the Facebook group. Those who find rocks keep or re-hide them, after posting pictures of their findings on Facebook. Some have the name of a group, or business on the back, or signatures of their creators. But most are anonymous.
By mid 2017, locals in Pueblo caught onto the Kindness Rocks Project rage and three popular Facebook groups were formed. The PUEBLO Rocks! Facebook group, nearing 2,000 members, is managed by multiple administrators, Sandra Gossett, Toni Machado, Sharon Berendes, Char Bradford Hargis, Ryan Bradford and Aaron Hargis with the goal to: “Bring communities together to inspire creativity in all ages with kids and parents working together to help inspire cheer, joy and love across the world.”
The PUEBLORocks! rules are simple: “Find a rock? Pick it up & post it here! Paint or decorate rocks and hide them around the community outdoors only please! Tag the back of your creations with Pueblo rocks so others can join the fun! Please be respectful of others and do not take personal or business landscape rocks.”
As for painting supplies to create “Happy Rocks,” Char herself likes using acrylic paints with art brushes to paint rocks, but sharpies, clear spray paint can all be used to paint rocks, with a note on back saying “please post a pic on FB PUEBLORocks – keep or re-hide.” Some ideas for placement include near doors of grocery stores, gas pumps, shopping carts left in parking lots, benches, chairs, the park – the ideas are endless, says Char.
Another Kindness Rocks group called Pueblo West Rocks!, also has a popular following of about about 2,000 members, and averages about ten posts a day. The admin of the group, Gale Fields-Keshishian, paints and hides a lot of rocks herself, that people find and post happily on her group page (the rock collection photo posted here has two of her rocks in it). She too enjoys watching the kindness spread throughout Pueblo through this positive family orientated project.
Gale is planning events for 2018, including a day where locals will gather together to paint rocks at the Pueblo West Library, then will donate them to the local Pueblo West Sheriff’s and Fire Department’s to thank them for their service.
Shannon Finn McCollough admin’s the Pueblo County Rocks! on a mission to: “Spread happiness, love and inspiration through the simple gesture of painting rocks and “hiding” them throughout the community for people to find. This is a community-building group meant to inspire creativity in all ages & bring kids/families back together again in a world gone completely wild. This is for any person of any age.”
Here’s a link to the website from those who started the Kindness Rocks Project in Cape Cod. Here are some of the photos of rocks posted on the local Facebook groups including 719Rocks, PUEBLO Rocks!, Pueblo West Rocks! and Pueblo County Rocks!
See the full story and pictures at this Pueblo Magazine website link or at Give Back Pueblo, an online magazine featuring the people, businesses, organizations and nonprofits that give back to our community.