West Windsor, N.J. – The Mercer County Community College (MCCC) community has many ways to show love and concern for students, faculty and staff members – words of encouragement, pats on the back, and warm hugs come to mind.
On March 27, students and staff joined forces to share the love in a whole other way – by penning personal messages on hand painted rocks during a lunchtime session on the West Windsor Campus. In doing so, they joined the national movement known as “The Kindness Rocks Project.”
Some students arrived early and eager to start, having heard about the event. Others were drawn by the promise of a creative lunchtime pursuit. First participants painted the top side of their rock. A blow dryer was employed for quick drying. Then they completed their "kindness rock" by penning a message of hope and inspiration direct from their hearts to whomever might need it on a rough day.
“Smile,” “Love Yourself,” “Do You,” “You Matter,” and “Be Fearless” were among the many messages adorning the final pieces. Several were simply ink drawings – of peaceful butterflies and funny faces. By the end of the two-hour session, students had completed 41 rocks.
Said Gisselle Carballo, a Public Health major, who worked on two pieces, “I love art. And, this is motivational. It speaks to the spirit of people who may be having a hard day and need a reason to smile.”
Added Liberal Arts student Sharon Ryan, a returning adult who calls Mercer her second chance, “I am career driven and need to make my education count. It was great to be able to pause and do a project like this for someone else. You never know what people are going through. This kind of gesture can be the difference.”
The “Kindness Rocks Project” was founded by Megan Murphy of Cape Cod, Mass. Starting in 2015, the initiative has since spread to schools and organization across the nation and globe. More about the project can be found at www.thekindnessrocksproject.
According to Senior Counselor Dorothy Gasparro, who co-hosted the event with the Student Life and Leadership Office, “The goal is to spread kindness and uplifting thoughts that just might help a person move forward, get out of the funk – whatever is needed in the moment. We all have those days when we just need a hug…or in this case a rock!”
Gasparro notes that she was very pleased with the turnout. "I was so happy with the energy in the room," she said. "We will definitely do it again as our garden needs replenishing."
The rocks are on display in a three-tier "inspirational garden" on the second floor of the Welcome Center. "Anyone who needs a lift is invited to take a rock that speaks to them and carry it with you," Gasparro said.