In 2015, Megan Murphy took daily walks alone on a Cape Cod beach to chat with her mom and dad, who both had passed away. “I would often ask my parents to send me a message,” Megan says. She would also glance at other people walking the beach and felt as if they, too, were feeling introspective, contemplating life and hoping for a sign from above.
One day, Megan took a Sharpie marker on her beach walk. In a quiet moment, she picked up a rock, spontaneously wrote, “You’ve got this” on it, and left it on the shore. Surprisingly, a local friend who knew Megan walked that beach, found the rock, recognized Megan’s handwriting, and reached out to her to say, “The message on the rock made my day.” The now globally recognized Kindness Rocks Project was born.
The project’s mission is refreshingly simple. “Take one when you need one, share one with a friend who needs some inspiration or leave one for another. One message at just the right moment can change your whole day, outlook, life.”
“I first became aware of this inspirational and uplifting project while I was on a hike. I immediately connected with the concept and began considering how I could make it a part of our mission work at the hospital,” says Michele Canto, CAVS and Volunteer Services Manager at St. Joseph Hospital. “I felt strongly it would be a great fit for St. Joe’s deep belief in caring for patients and their families in a holistic way – clinically, emotionally and spiritually.”
St. Joseph Hospital’s Project SEARCH internship program, which offers employment and educational opportunities to individuals with cognitive and physical disabilities, spearheads the Kindness Rocks Project. Interns paint rocks in bright, cheerful colors and add messages of support, encouragement and joy. They give them to patients and their families, or hide them throughout the hospital’s campus to be found by someone who may need one.
“It’s really fun to work on the Kindness Rocks Project. I like painting the rocks and thinking up nice things to say that will make people happy,” says Anna Rochez, Project SEARCH graduate and valued hospital volunteer. “The absolute best part, though, is hiding rocks around the hospital. What a wonderful thing for people to unexpectedly find a caring message that makes them smile.”
St. Joseph Hospital in Nashua is a Covenant Health member.