Sharing kindness one painted pebble at a timeJune 11, 2018
By KATHLEEN MESSMER
Herald News Intern
Created to spread love and kindness throughout Dubois County and beyond, Dubois County Painted Pebbles is brightening the day of strangers, one colorful rock at a time.
Hallie Hall, 24, of Jasper has always loved painting, especially on rocks she would find as a child. Originally using bottles of nail polish to beautify the rocks, Hall now uses acrylic paint to create colorful pebbles. As the founder of Dubois County Painted Pebbles, Hall based the community project on The Kindness Rocks Project.
The Kindness Rocks Project is a nationwide movement created by Megan Murphy, an activist, women’s empowerment coach, meditation instructor and creativity enthusiast. Inspired by her late parents, the project promotes random acts of kindness. Murphy always felt her parents’ presence and support when she found heart-shaped rocks or pieces of sea glass while walking along the beach in her home of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. During her walks, she also noticed others walking with a sense of introspect or as if they were looking for something. Wanting to help others feel supported, loved and simply to put a smile on someone’s face, Murphy began writing inspirational messages on rocks and scattering them throughout the beach. Thus, The Kindness Rocks Project was born. Its mission: “One message at just the right moment can change someone’s entire day, outlook, life.”
After learning about The Kindness Rocks Project on Pinterest and Facebook, Hall knew she wanted Dubois County to be a part of this inspirational movement. More than a year ago, she began spreading kindness by dropping decorative rocks across the county. She describes Dubois County Painted Pebbles as “a gifting project.”
“I hope people learn to treat others with kindness,” Hall said. “There’s a lot of not-so-nice things in the world.”
Since beginning the project, it has evolved into a group of several hundred community members, all contributing to making strangers smile. How it works is simple: Take a rock, paint it, and on the back, write “Dubois County Painted Pebbles.” Once the rock is decorated, hide it somewhere throughout the county for someone to find.
Through the Dubois County Painted Pebbles Facebook page, rock-finders are encouraged to post a picture of the pebble they stumbled upon. They may then either keep the rock, or rehide it for others to find. According to Hall, there are a handful of regulars who paint and hide pebbles around the county, though anyone is welcome. More than 450 people have connected through the joyful pebbles.
Among those hundreds are Amy and Eric Wright of Birdseye, and their two children, 11-year-old Ally and 6-year-old Levi. The family has found 11 cheerful rocks in total. The first was found in April at Birdseye Park and one week later, three more were found at 18th Street Park in Ferdinand. The family came across several more rocks in late May. One was found at Ferdinand Family Medicine, along with six more at 18th Street Park in Ferdinand later that day.
Ally’s favorite rock is a blue stone decorated with silver fireworks and Levi’s is one with three roosters, which were part of an exchange from Happiness Rocks Ohio. The kids kept six of the rocks and rehid five. In fact, the pebbles they rehid were found at Walmart by Michelle Wade Bayer of Jasper that same day. Bayer and her son then spread the kindness of Dubois County all the way to St. Louis, where they rehid them.
“The kids enjoy finding them and rehiding them,” Amy Wright said. “They feel like they make people’s day when they hide them.”
Stephanie Geesaman of Holland was also pleasantly surprised by a friendly painted pebble. An employee of Old National Bank in Ferdinand, Geesaman came across a pebble with a green butterfly in the bank’s doorway on a dreary morning in May. Excited about her discovery, she asked her coworkers, “Hey! Did you see this?” With their suggestion, she then rehid the rock in Huntingburg.
“Its a nice surprise when you see something like that that’s unexpected and has awesome imagery with it,” Geesaman said. “It make’s me think someone was thinking about somebody else in that moment and you see that through those pebbles.”
Hoping to get more people involved in the spreading of kindness, Hall would love to see the entire community involved with Dubois County Painted Pebbles.
“Someone could be going through something bad that day, if you can make someone happy and turn that around, I think that’s a really good accomplishment as a human being,” she said.
Other projects, with the same goal of goodwill, have also been implemented in the area. Created in 2016, Jasper Rocks shared yellow smiles throughout the city. Kindness rocks are also connecting communities throughout Warrick and Spencer counties.
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