- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 28, 2018

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) - After a few handfuls of Goldfish crackers and clementines, the members of Blooming Kids Can sat around a couple of folding card tables and prepared to paint some rocks.

“This paint does not come out of clothing,” Laura Hanna warned the kids. “We need to rein in the energy a bit today.”

Each kid grabbed a paint brush and picked out a rock, each about the size of a tangerine, and plucked from the landscaping of a member’s home.

“Do we have pink?” one member yelled out, while another wondered what a mixture of green and blue paint creates.

A dozen kids buzzed around Susan Yeley’s arts and crafts room on a recent Friday afternoon for a paint session, pulling on old T-shirts and floral-patterned smocks.

Blooming Kids Can is a family-driven philanthropic group and consists of about 15 kids. Members go to the Bloomington Montessori School and Binford Elementary, although that’s certainly not a requirement, in grades 2 through 6. Parents of group members, such as Yeley and Hanna, take turns organizing projects and hosting meetings.

Their goal, they say, is to spread positivity and kindness through the community, and the world. They’ve done other small projects, such as singing Christmas carols at area retirement homes and assembling and donating care packages for the Shalom Community Center.

But this year, they wanted to do something bigger. That’s where the rocks come into play with the “We Rock” program.

Small, polished stones, painted in a variety of bright colors, will be scattered throughout the county at parks and public spaces.

The rocks will be decorated with kind messages, such as “Show Kindness to Others Today,” an apt message to coincide with Feb. 17’s Random Acts of Kindness Day. When the rocks are found, the group hopes people appreciate the message and that they will then be hidden in a new location.

Other rocks will be painted in a colorful fashion and tagged with a local business’s name. When a rock is returned to a business, the finder will get a small reward such as a coupon. The business will then donate $100 to a local charitable organization of its choice.

“I like that this project focuses on three main things: creating something, getting out in the community to help people, and there’s a whole business side to it,” Bloomington Montessori School sixth-grader Teagan Hanna said. “It ends up being a super fun project, while helping people out.”

Her classmate Anna Yeley agreed.

“I was really excited to see what businesses would get involved, and also to paint the rocks,” Anna said.

Blooming Kids Can has reached out to about 40 businesses and organizations throughout Monroe County to participate. So far, 10 businesses have agreed to take part in “We Rock,” including Mother Bear’s, the Unitarian Universalist Church, Oddball Fermentables and Mira Salon.

The recent meeting was all about getting the base layer painted on. Over the next few weeks, they’ll start painting on the kind messages, and hopefully reel in a few more businesses.

They plan to start hiding the rocks around town by early April.

Binford fifth-grader Sophie Purvis is already thinking of great hiding spots around town.

“We do a lot of fun projects that help people around town, but this one has definitely been my favorite so far,” she said.


Source: The (Bloomington) Herald-Times, http://bit.ly/2FBQehP


Information from: The Herald Times, http://www.heraldtimesonline.com

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