This an example of the artwork done by Woodland Heights students. Woodland Heights teacher Mary Ann Myers got the idea from YouTube to create a random act of kindness. (Courtesy photo)

Woodland Heights first-graders paint rocks, hand out to community

By RICK GREEN, Laconia Daily Sun

LACONIA — The children of Woodland Heights School got a break from reading, writing and arithmetic on Friday to deliver rocks to the community – rocks of kindness.

The young people painted designs on stones for personal delivery to people of the community. It was just a random act of kindness to cheer people up.

Some teachers at the school learned of the “kindness rock” concept on YouTube and jumped on the chance for the schoolchildren to do something for the community.

First-grade teacher Mary Ann Myers walked her students a mile into the downtown area on a crisp, sunny morning.

They brightened the day for people by handing them a colorful rock. They also placed the stones in gardens for people to enjoy or take with them. People could also further the good deed by making their own painted rocks.

“We felt it was a cool idea, something that our community could use,” Myers said. “We wanted to spread some kindness and our kids could feel like they were doing something for the community. They get some smiles and happiness and brighten someone's day.

“We're trying to put them in places where there is heavy foot traffic and people can really benefit from them.”

She explained to 6-year-old Kaleb Eisner the importance of a random act of kindness.

“Be the change,” she said. “You can be the person who changes the world.”

As they crossed Union Avenue, Kaleb handed a brightly colored stone to an older gentleman in the crosswalk.

The man seemed thankful, and the boy was pleased.

“That made me feel happy,” Kaleb said. He also said he was happy not to be in a classroom on a sunny day.

“Yes, I'd rather be out here.”

Principal Eric Johnson said the activity came at a good time.

“The first part of the school year, we're teaching rules, procedures and how to treat each other for the year, so you're kind of laying that foundation, so this is a nice way to kind of show that by being kind to the community,” he said.

Friday's walk also allowed students to learn more about their community and establish greater ties to it.

The school activity was praised by Jennifer Lea Reynolds, of Belmont, who writes about the need for more kindness in society and runs a website called the TheKindnessCouture.com.

“Much like a coveted fashion, kindness makes us and those around us feel happy, confident, comforted, and secure,” she states on the site.

In an interview, she said that technology in the form of anonymous commenting, Facebook posts, and Twitter messages sometimes leads people to forget about the simple need to be nice to one another.

“There is a need to remember the importance of kindness,” she said.

“It's absolutely wonderful that the elementary school is teaching this to the children. When you learn something like this when you are young, it stays with you. It's also creative and it shows that every person makes a difference.”

Woodland Heights students learned a lesson in kindness on Friday. (Courtesy photo)

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