Visit a Kindness Garden: The closest is at the Orange Home Grown Education Farm, 356 N. Lemon ; Trabuco Elementary School; or at Patriots and Paws, 1825 E. Via Burton in Anaheim. At Hoag, there are Kindness Stations with baskets filled with rocks sporting cheery pictures and positive messages.

Rock etiquette: If you find a rock, snap a photo to share on the OC Rocks page. You may move and rehide; some have been found thousands of miles from their original location. At a Kindness Garden, it is customary to leave a rock, if you take a rock, so as to not deplete the collection.

May 2020

Creating kindness – one rock at a time

By Andie Mills

Thanks to Barbara Snelgrove, kindness is spreading throughout the area – one rock at a time.

Barbara’s ever-growing community of “rockers” – now edging over 2,300 in the OC Rocks group -- disseminate joy as they leave their painted stones with whimsical designs, mandalas, messages and colorful animals and bugs for others to find. The little nuggets of happiness are meant to bring hope and smiles to patients and families at the Hoag Cancer Centers, create happiness for visitors at local Kindness Gardens, or bring an unexpected grin when found hidden along walking paths, outside of stores and public spaces. 

A former banker, depleted of energy and motivation after a long-term illness, Snelgrove felt zapped. But after seeing a Kindness Garden in 2016, she found a purpose. She began painting and dropping off rocks, hosting monthly paint parties and encouraging others to join in the venture, with themed “paint challenges,” such as “happy hippie,” “ladybugs,” “the Beatles” or “love notes.” Rock painters have created patriotic rocks, musical rocks, shark rocks – anything that can be imagined. They have honored veterans, presidents and healthcare workers. 

Snelgrove has delved into the topic. She has created tutorials and files, explains the best way to prep rocks for painting, offers recommendations for supplies, suggests quotes and ideas for artwork, tells creators where to – and where not to – hide their rocks, and how to seal them so they won’t be damaged by the elements. She often supplies rocks, and was thrilled when a veteran donated 700 pounds of rocks to the cause. Rock artists of all ages responded with brushes and pens to paint over 10,000 rocks last year.

Happily, kindness is not limited by age or talent. Painting rocks is a rewarding solo pastime, or a great family or group project. The supplies are few: rocks, paint, and a little imagination are all that’s required. To learn more about creating a little kindness, one rock at a time, see OC Rocks on Facebook.