SHERBROOKE – There's nothing like an act of kindness to brighten the day. That is the essence of the idea behind Kindness Rocks, a movement that started in the United States a few years ago and was recently taken up by a family living in the Sherbrooke area.
Suzie Dwyer has been painting rocks since she was a kid; a passion she passed on to her own children, Holly and Amy. Last year they stumbled upon the Kindness Rocks movement online; an idea that took their art projects into another dimension that would spread kindness and art throughout their community.
“It's just a simple idea to spread some hope and inspiration to whoever comes across it,” said Dwyer of the project which has taken the form of a Kindness Rocks garden at the public library in Sherbrooke.
“We started the painting back in the spring...coming out of winter, we were looking for some inspiration ourselves. We put the garden in place at the end of July.”
The project was a multigenerational affair with Suzie's mother Hazel Watters also working on some rocks for the garden.
“We started out with about 40 or 50 rocks in the little garden,” said Dwyer noting that since July they have added approximately 60 more.
The rocks in the garden are not meant to be permanent fixtures although Dwyer hopes that the garden itself may persist throughout the winter months. A sign encourages people to take, make and share the messages of kindness.
The garden has gotten a lot of positive feedback over the summer. Some admirers have even left a donation at the library for supplies to aid in the creation of more kindness rocks.
Dwyer said of the project, “There is a certain satisfaction from making art anyway and when I paint a rock I picture someone finding it...One of the mottos of the movement is 'the right message at the right time.'”
Ten-year-old Holly said she gets the most enjoyment out of creating new designs for the rocks. “I like getting to choose the colours and the design and putting decorations around the message.”
Eight-year-old Amy enjoys decorating too. “I just find it really fun to decorate the rocks and make other people happy,” she said.
Dwyer told The Journal the family hopes more people will get involved with the project; it's meant to be a community activity for those that want to participate.
“We moved here about four years ago from the city to get away from the busyness of city life and raise our children in a quieter, gentler environment and we feel like the community of St. Mary's has offered all that and so much more. We have really come to love and appreciate the area and its people so we were excited to find this simple way to give back in a little way,” said Dwyer.