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Participants decorate rocks to spread kindness

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By Deborah Swearingen

Recently, while perusing the shelves at a library in Denver, Lisa Fladung found a rock decorated with a thoughtful message.

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It made her day.

Ultimately, she discovered the rock was part of the Kindness Rocks Project, and Fladung, a patron experience associate at the Columbine Library, decided to host a rock-decorating event at her library so she could reciprocate the kindness she received and involve the community in the process.

The Kindness Rocks Project was started by Megan Murphy. After both of her parents died, she spent years hunting for heart-shaped rocks and sea glass on the beach. To her, one represented her dad and one her mom. One day, she decided to write a thoughtful message on a rock and leave it for someone else to find. From there, the project was born.

The project’s mission is simple: “One message at just the right time can change someone’s entire outlook and life.”

“I just get goosebumps. I just think that’s so fabulous,” Fladung said.

Last Saturday, rocks, paint, Sharpies and paint pens lined a table in the Columbine Library event room. People gathered to decorate a rock and share a little kindness. There were just a few in attendance at first, but more and more trickled in, intrigued to learn more about Kindness Rocks. After decorating a rock or two or three, the painters were encouraged to take them home and leave them in public places — just not natural ones.

Kathy Totten said she found about the event on social media and decided to stop by.

“I have a cousin who’s been painting rocks, and I thought that I would like to try it,” Totten said.

She flew through, painting rock after rock. One was decorated with colorful flowers. Another read, “be a friend.”

Although it was unbeknownst to her prior to attending last weekend’s event, Kay Morrow had a story very similar to that of the Kindness Rocks Project’s founder.

“I look for heart-shaped rocks everywhere I go,” Morrow said, noting she’s also done this since her parents died.

Morrow intimately understood Murphy’s story, and she recognized how much it could brighten a person’s day to find a random rock with an uplifting message. Plus, crafting together was a bonding experience for Morrow and her daughter Sarah Daniluk, who painted alongside her.

“What a fun opportunity to come do something I enjoy doing with my daughter,” she said.

In addition to sharing a fun day with her mom, Daniluk loves that Jeffco Public Libraries hosts crafting programs for adults.

“It’s great to be an adult and be able to express yourself through art,” she said. “It’s good for your soul.”