Spreading Kindness

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With so much craziness going on in the world, why not spread a little kindness? Locals around the area are doing so through the Kindness Rocks project.

If you come across a painted rock or seashell around town—especially in Broad Channel and Roxbury, it may have been placed there for a purpose—to spread joy and kindness throughout the community. Many are being inspired by The Kindness Rocks Project, a movement that started in 2015 by Megan Murphy of Massachusetts. Murphy started decorating rocks and writing inspiring messages on them and leaving them around the beaches of Cape Cod. Her goal was to spread comfort and hope to those who found them—and it worked. A friend found a rock on a bad day and told Murphy how it improved her mood, so Murphy continued to leave little rocks of hope around the beach. With a suggestion from her daughter, she added a hashtag to the movement, #thekindnessrocksproject. The movement soon went viral across America and to other countries, and has found its way to the local area with residents in Broad Channel, Roxbury and Breezy Point running their own similar projects, using both rocks, and seashells.

In early August, Kindness Rocks came to Broad Channel. Kimberly Lagos, formerly of Broad Channel, got the idea from people doing it in her town of Patchogue, and wanted to share it with her old hometown. She started a Facebook page “Broad Channel Rock Hunt #BroadChannelRocks” with a description saying, “Brighten someone's day with beautiful painted found items. Paint rocks, shells, sticks, leaves and rehide them in your neighborhood and favorite places! Keep ones you find or rehide! Just replace if you collect to keep the fun going!” The page encourages people to post clues as to where to find the painted items and pictures once they find them.

“I set up a Facebook page and dropped off some rocks in Broad Channel that my children and I painted to get the ball rolling,” Lagos said. Broad Channel resident, Jennifer Porcheddu, a teacher who often runs Paint Party events, then helped spread the idea by hosting a rock painting party in the neighborhood on August 11. “I was happy to host all the kids and parents who wanted to paint. I set up all my PaintParty equipment, brushes and paint, and Bernie McGovern donated some of her paints,” Porcheddu said. Dozens of kids from around the Channel came out to participate. “The kids had a blast,” Lagos said.

Since then, the idea has taken off, with families painting rocks and shells and hiding them around town to bring some joy. “It’s so much fun for the kids to hide their rocks and even more exciting to find them,” Lagos said.

“My grandchildren, Johnny McCarthy and Juliet Henglein love the idea. We went out looking for rocks to paint, so we did and then we hid them and wrote clues on the Facebook page so others could find them. When my grandchildren saw pictures of kids that found our rocks, they thought it was so incredible. This has become a weekly thing for me, my grandchildren, and my husband, Mickey, to do together and we have a really good time doing it. When we find a rock, the expressions on my grandkids’ faces are priceless,” Michelle McMahon said.

The town of Roxbury has also been spreading kindness, but through Roxbury Kindness Shells. The project began in July and has been a big hit, with kids painting seashells and hiding them all over the small community this summer.

Although the summer is almost over, Amanda Stevens of Broad Channel sees the project continuing for a long time. “This was the perfect end of summer activity for our families! I think we will continue to have fun with our rocks and shells into the fall with back to school walks and Halloween around the corner. I could easily see this going on in future summers as well!”

Want to start your own Kindness Rocks project? Check out www.thekindnessrocksproject.com for inspiration!

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