Megan Murphy, author of Kindness Rocks Journal, has been featured in an article by India Braemer for Desert Sun on a local Boys and Girls Club participating in a “rock swap”, take a look.
Boys & Girls Club of Palm Springs’ rock swap teaches youth about geography and kindness
By India Braemer
While our ever-changing “normal” may look different through the eyes of youth all over America, the Boys & Girls Club of Palm Springs has found a creative way to inspire connection and spark positivity. Using a simple art program, kids in grades 2-5 are learning how to generate kindness over all 50 states with just a little bit of paint and imagination.
It began with a painted rock garden and the opportunity to help club members find a way to make friends and practice geography in a fun, explorative way. Dubbing it “Rock Swap,” the staff shared a flyer with Boys & Girls Club management nationwide to find out if clubs would be interested in trading state-themed decorated rocks. Locations across the country reached out to sign up.
As club members painted rocks that represented Palm Springs with palm trees, mountain ranges and lots of sunshine, packages arrived from several states. To use this activity to teach the three priority outcomes (academic success, healthy lifestyles and good character and citizenship), program staff decided to use positive behavior to determine which lucky member got to open each package.
The club’s goal is to have at least one rock from every state, and with 4,300 Boys & Girls Clubs serving four million youth, it is well on its way. The painted rocks will be placed along the walkway to the Mary Bremer Teen Center to create a “Walk of Friendship” among the rose bushes to inspire and remind youth that they’re part of a growing movement dedicated to making great futures possible.
The first two packages arrived from a Boys & Girls Club in Kentucky, where Angel and Anthony were thrilled to find not only painted rocks, but sparkling confetti and cards inside. A few days later, Nevaeh’s positive behavior earned her the fun of opening a box from North Carolina filled with happy thoughts. A week later, Coral lifted a heavy box from Arizona containing not only postcards, but painted rocks and a unique piece of petrified wood. As a rock is collected from each state, that state is scratched off on a large map to remind youth which states were received and what part of the country they’re located in.
Although this project has just begun, there are boxes waiting weekly for youth to open. With each care package that arrives, club members share places they’ve seen, vacations they dream of taking, attractions they wish to photograph and what makes living in Palm Springs extraordinary. In a day and age where so much of how we connect is through Wi-Fi and Zoom, this unique program brings the Boys & Girls Club of Palm Springs’ youth a passport to see our country through the eyes of fellow club members just like them.
An Interactive Space to Work through Difficult Times and Create Inspiring Messages to Share with Others (Rocks for Painting, for Fans of Pebble for your Thoughts)
Now more than ever, people are longing for kindness and connection. During these uncertain times, daily news reports focus on disturbing events such as drug addiction, acts of terrorism, gun violence, airplane rage, senseless murders and political bickering. We are being bombarded daily with images that evoke a sense of fear and hostility. The Kindness Rocks Journal provides a positive counteraction to all this negativity. The tagline for The Kindness Rocks Project is “one message at just the right time can change your entire day, outlook, life.” Sometimes, all it takes is just one simple positive message or thought to change your perspective and that is what this journal aims to do.