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'Kindness rocks' spread smiles throughout York

Dawn J. Sagert
York Dispatch

What began in mid-July as a project for Tara Arnold, her friend Jen Richmond and their children to cut down on screen time this summer led to much more.

“We had gone out to eat,” said Arnold, of East Manchester Township. “The next day I had a waiter get  ahold of me and said, ‘Hey, I found your rock, and I just wanted to let you know I thought it was so cool.’

“We decided that we would just start painting these rocks,” Arnold explained. “We had seen them on Facebook and Pinterest.”

Tara Arnold, paints river rocks with Richard Kessler, 13, and Danni Arnold, 8, at their home in East Manchester Township, Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. Dawn J. Sagert photo

The plan was for Arnold and her children to paint the rocks and leave them at a park for Richmond and her children to find. Richmond, who lives in Dallastown, and her children would do the same.

Soon, others found some of their rocks and gave positive feedback. Some began to re-hide the rocks or paint their own messages. Arnold and Richmond realized the impact that a simple message on a river rock could have.

“York could use some smiles. York needs something to make somebody’s bad day a little bit better, so we decided we’d start putting ‘Kindness rocks’ on it,” Arnold said. 

Richard Kessler, 13, left, and Danni Arnold, 8, gather finished kindness rocks at their home in East Manchester Township, Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. The rocks are then placed out in public places for people to find. Dawn J. Sagert photo

They created a Facebook group, Kindness Rocks York, and group members are now leaving their own rocks in parks, parking lots, movie theaters and even out of state in hopes of making someone else smile.

The Facebook group is currently 248 members strong and growing. Rocks are painted with an image, word or encouraging message, and on the back are the words “Kindness Rocks York” and then the Facebook icon. Those who find the rocks are encouraged to seek out the Facebook page and post a photo of the rock and say where they found it.

Richard Kessler, 13, of East Manchester Township, places a kindness rock at a shopping center in Springettsbury Township, Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Arnold says that they would like to keep it going over the winter, even if that means placing them around a mall. She’s excited to see where the rocks will end up next.

“We’re hoping to see more of them get posted,” she added.