‘Waterloo Rocks’ pays kindness forward - Republic-Times | News

‘Waterloo Rocks’ pays kindness forward

By on July 12, 2017 at 3:56 pm

Pictured is a painted rock located at the Republic-Times newsstand on North Main Street.

Officially it dates back to something called The Kindness Rocks Project, a worldwide movement to bring strangers together through the simple gesture of painting rocks.

Messages, signs, random acts of kindness — whatever you call them, they are then spread around the community to brighten your day.

Waterloo Rocks was born of this concept of taking the most mundane of objects and turning them into something beautiful.

Melissa Graham is credited on the Facebook page Waterloo Rocks (Illinois) with finding the idea in Granite City Rocks and bringing it home to Waterloo. And Waterlooans haven’t looked back — they’ve spent plenty of time looking down, but not back.

People, mostly kids but not always, find decorated rocks placed strategically around town. At that point, they have three choices — re-hide them, take them home to keep and replace with their own creation, or take them home, add their own artistic talents to them and hide them again.

Judy Brinkmann showed off the rock she found painted like a baseball during a Sunday concert by The Trophy Mules on the courthouse grounds.

Dawn Woodall posted an emotional photo of a rock painted with a black-and-orange “73” — the football jersey number of her late son, David, who took his own life last fall — that someone had left on his memorial bench at Lakeview Park.

This map by The Kindness Rock Project shows the known chapters in the United States alone.

Rachel Giffhorn wrote that she had found some good rocks at Zimmer Park, and Kellie Killian posted photos of her kids with the treasures they found on the courthouse grounds.

Many took to Facebook just to express their thanks to whoever spearheaded the movement. Zelina Niehaus wrote “#beatstheheckoutofpokemon.”

Smooth rocks make the best palette for artwork. They can be purchased at most craft stores or in the craft departments of larger stores. Kinzinger Trucking is offering them for 50 cents per pound. Carissa Black let everyone know she would be leaving unpainted rocks at the Lakeview Park gazebo for those wanting to create their own masterpieces but having difficulties finding just the right canvas.

Some of the rocks have inspirational messages, some intricate artwork, and others were clearly and proudly painted by tiny hands. And they are all beautiful.

The Facebook pictures include stashes of rocks ready to be hidden, groups painting their masterpieces, and grinning kids showing off their treasures.

Even area businesses are getting in on the fun.

One lucky rock was located at a Republic-Times newsstand.

Stubborn German Brewing Co. is hosting a rock painting party from 4:30 to 10 p.m. this Thursday at the brewery.

“We’ll supply the rocks, paint, and brushes… just come out and paint them (and then hide them around town for others to find),” owner Tammy Rahn said.

Kids of all ages are invited to paint rocks at Stubborn German, including kids who aren’t kids at all. The younger ones must be accompanied by an adult, and food can be ordered in for the evening.

As one glance at the Waterloo Rocks Facebook page informs, there’s no wrong way to do Waterloo Rocks or The Kindness Rocks Project. If it makes you or someone else happy, it’s a resounding success.

Andrea F.D. Saathoff

Andrea is a graduate of Gibault High School and the University of Missouri School of Journalism, the University of Missouri Harry S Truman School of Public Affairs and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville College of Education. She lives in Columbia with her husband and their twin toddler sons. When she isn't cheering on St. Louis Cardinals baseball or riding the emotional roller coaster of Mizzou Tigers football, she enjoys attending and participating in the many family events the county has to offer. email: andrea@republictimes.net