Posted Jun 6, 2019 at 2:00pm
“You are enough.”
“Keep your chin up.”
“Laugh until you pee your pants.”
From public gardens to local businesses, short, uplifting messages such as these have been spreading throughout Needham for the past month and a half, brightening the day of many who happen upon them. If you want to receive one yourself, all you have to look for is a small painted rock.
“It’s really taken the community by storm,” said resident Maija Tiplady, who, along with her neighbor Stephanie Whelan, is responsible for bringing these “kindness rocks” to Needham. “I’ve been impressed by how much the community has grabbed onto it and loved it.”
The Kindness Rocks Project was founded in 2015 by Cape Cod resident Megan Murphy, who started painting positive messages on rocks and leaving them across the beach in hopes of lifting the spirits of whoever found them. Since then, the project has gone viral, making headlines and spreading to cities and towns all across the country.
When Whelan and Tiplady discovered it, they said the mission of spreading happiness and cheer throughout the community quickly became their calling.
“Stephanie and I have both said to each other that this has given us some kind of interesting purpose,” Tiplady said. “It’s awesome, people are like, ‘You guys are like little happiness leprechauns.’”
The concept behind the project is simple: If you come across a kindness rock that speaks to you or makes you feel good, you can keep it for yourself, give it to someone else or drop it in another spot in town for a stranger to find. In addition, anyone who enjoys them is encouraged to make some of their own to sprinkle throughout Needham and spread the positivity further.
The two said that since starting they have painted hundreds, if not thousands of rocks and have already seen their efforts catch on with others. So far, local businesses such as barre3, Proud Mary’s, Stacy’s Juicebar and The James have gotten involved with the project, and third graders at Mitchell Elementary School have incorporated it into their curriculum.
“I thought instantly that we had to do this with my class,” said Jennifer Ramras, a third-grade teacher at Mitchell. “It’s teaching small children that a very small act can spread very quickly.”
Whelan, who is the director of the Neighborhood Nursery School at the First Baptist Church, even took her students on a field trip to drop rocks at places like Hillcrest Gardens and Greene’s Field.
“The kids were so proud that they were putting kind thoughts around town,” she said. “It feels amazing. I feel like it’s connecting the community, in a way that maybe people didn’t realize we needed.”
Both Whelan and Tiplady are mothers of three boys and said that, in addition to spreading kindness, bringing the project to Needham has helped them step outside of the struggles that come with raising children.
“Maija works on them when her kids are napping, I work on them in the evening when my kids are out. Whenever we can really, because it is a little therapeutic,” Whelan said.
And given how much traction it has gained in town already, the two said they hope they’ll see more kindness rocks popping up around Needham and surrounding communities in the months to come.
“I want it to keep growing and for more people to be involved. I want parents to introduce it to their kids and for other businesses in town to be a part of it,” Tiplady said. “It’s a happy thing and I think we’re extremely proud of what we’ve done and of our community for liking it.”
Original post here.