SIDNEY — A new addiction has taken hold of West Central Ohio: “Spreading kindness one rock at a time.” Or at least that’s what Sharon Fiely, kindness rock creator and co-founder of West Central Ohio Rocks, feels is happening locally.
West Central Ohio Rocks is a group that paints and hides rocks with feel-good images/messages. The intent is to unexpectedly brighten someone’s day with a random act of kindness, one rock at a time, and inspire others to pass it on.
The concept is to paint a rock with acrylic paint on one side and adhere a West Central Ohio Rocks label on the other side that suggests to find the group on Facebook, post a picture and re-hide the rock.
“We are hearing about addiction (in our communities). This is a good addiction. It is a stress reliever. It puts smiles on peoples’ faces” said Fiely, of Maria Stein. “Our goal is just to change people’s mood and let them know that kindness is still out there.”
The group was founded in November 2016 and has already grown to over 1,800 members on Facebook.
Fiely’s daughter, Kristy Miller, of St. Henry, introduced her to the idea when a friend sent her a link to a group in Wooster, Ohio. Miller admitted at first they thought the concept was silly, but when they saw how much joy it brought to her children, they realized maybe there was something to it. She also quickly recognized how sitting together and painting brought her family closer.
“I noticed how much joy the kids were having getting off the couch and running outside and finding rocks. We are doing it as a family instead of sitting inside on their electronics,” Miller said. “And that’s when I approached my mom about helping me start this page.”
Fiely said the group has had a “good impact on the community.” She said they’ve been thanked for starting the group by babysitters, parents and grandparents, who say their children are excited to go outside for a walk instead of being inside. Also, Fiely said she taught Girl Scout troops and Vacation Bible School groups how the concept works.
The group was also contacted by Dayton Children’s Hospital to make kindness rocks to give to incoming children for procedures or extended visits. Fiely said they have made over 700 rocks (so far), which they intend to deliver once the hospital’s new wing is complete.
Fiely, who is a cancer survivor, said her family also painted rocks for local cancer fundraising events, such as Relay for Life and Hopefest, to help lift people’s spirits.
Miller said since they created the Facebook page, despite coping with health issues, her mother’s mood has improved greatly and the group has given her hope. Fiely said it has given her motivation to get outside, keeps her busy and has given her purpose and a chance to give to others.
“What we love is seeing families out; painting together. … It gets the kids off of the electronics and out being physically busy. It even does that for us (adults),” Fiely said. “It’s very addicting, but it’s a good addiction.”
“We’ve got way too much violence and rage in this world. So we are just trying to do what we can do to create that change,” said Fiely. “Some of our rocks that we put out there just has a simple little flower on it, and it says, ‘be the change you want to see in others.”
For more information the public group can be found on Facebook at West Central Ohio Rocks “Spreading Kindness One Rock At A Time.”
Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.