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Hillsboro Rocks! And kindness does too

Staff writer

Take a walk through Memorial Park in Hillsboro and you might find a pineapple, a penguin, or Patrick from Spongebob — in rock form, that is.

The rocks are part of “Hillsboro Rocks!,” a group of more than 350 Hillsboro community members painting and hiding rocks with a goal of spreading kindness.  

Hillsboro Rocks!, which started earlier this summer, was founded by Analisa Defiesta, and to join you only have to do one thing: stumble upon someone’s painted and hidden rock or paint and hide one yourself.  

“People join to share their rock finds and their painted rocks,” Defiesta said. “It encourages people to get outside and do something very inexpensive as a family.”

Hillsboro Rocks! is part of a nationwide “Kindness Rocks” movement where citizens paint rocks with inspiring messages or creative art before hiding them in a public space, such as a park or library, for others to find and either keep or rehide for someone else to find.

“I think this builds community by starting with the family and encouraging time with your kids to do a project at home,” Defiesta said. “And then it’s a treasure hunt hiding them and finding them. It encourages us to get out, and there’s certain rocks that will just bring a smile to your face. It just brings the community together by creating a little piece of happiness.”

When hiding her rocks, Defiesta hopes it will brighten the day of the person who finds it.

“My kids really like to find treasures and something as simple as a painted rock they find is seen as a treasure,” she said. “It’s like finding a diamond, and they get excited about it.”

And while Defiesta hides lots of rocks, she said finding rocks never gets old.

“It was so exciting for me when I found my first rock that I hadn’t painted,” she said. It was a purple and white polka-dotted rock.

Defiesta said it is a treasure hunt for all ages and artistic skill levels.

“You don’t have to be creative,” she said. “I am one of the least creative people I know, so how we do it is when we see a rock we look at the shape and it will remind us of something.”

For example, she said a rock shaped like a triangle could make a good pizza slice.

“Find whatever inspires you and give it a try,” she said. “There’s no right or wrong way to do it. Don’t be intimidated and just start painting.”

To get started, Defiesta recommends looking for rocks in your own backyard. The Lumberyard in Hillsboro also sells them. She just asks that people do not take rocks from private businesses or yards.

Acrylic paints and finer-tipped paintbrushes work best, and she said to remember to spray rocks with a clear sealant afterward to preserve the rock artwork before hiding the rock in Hillsboro.

Audrey McPhail recently started painting and hiding rocks across Hillsboro.

“As a stay-at-home mom it’s hard to find things to do all the time, so it’s been good to be able to go out and find them and then paint some ourselves,” she said. “The fact that it brings families outside of the house and off of games is my favorite part.”

Defiesta said more than 350 members is a good-sized group for the size of Hillsboro, but she hopes to see the kindness rocks movement continue to grow.

“It just brings joy to me seeing people enjoy an activity like this,” she said. “It’s really bringing the community together, and I think that’s the neatest thing.”

Last modified Aug. 30, 2017

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