By Jess Winans
Local Facebook groups spread the love with painted rocks
Monica Inman Overbey was in the bathroom of Brother’s Family Restaurant in Allied Gardens when she saw something unusual — a bright, colorfully painted rock sitting on the counter.
“We live in Ohio,” she said. “And when my husband was diagnosed with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension, they told us there was no treatment there and recommended we go to San Diego. We were at a restaurant with our son and Airbnb host when I found the rock. It was amazing just to find a rock amidst the situation we were going through.”
The rock originally belonged to the local Facebook group, San Carlos Rocks (#SCROCKS) which paints and hides rocks in local spots like Lake Murray and Dailard Park. It was inspired by similar groups such as Santee Rocks, which has grown to 14,000 members since it started last May; and Allied Gardens Rocks which started last June and has 533 members.
“A lot of us were going out to Santee and finding rocks and hiding them and we thought, San Carlos needs one too,” said Katie Shields, #SCROCKS founder who founded the San Carlos Rocks group in July of last year. “We have a real sense of community here and there’s a lot of kids and adults here and so I figured why not?”
Shields created the group in July of last year and manages it through its Facebook page. Since starting, it has climbed in membership from just her inner circle to over 572 members.
“Most of [the rocks] have been hidden all over San Diego, in parks, gas stations and outside of any kind of business,” said Karen Clary, San Carlos Rocks Facebook page administrator. “I took about 50 rocks with me when my husband and I drove to Iowa last November and we left one at almost every place we stopped.”
Rock designs span from the most intricate floral arrangements to simple ladybug spots and vibrant splatter paint stripes.
“Painting rocks is therapeutic for me and it’s a way to spread love and kindness,” Clary added.
After painting the rocks according to group guidelines, members hide them around San Carlos for others to find with a note on the back sharing the URL for the Facebook page.
There are also some group rules to follow, such as: don’t hide rocks in schools; don’t decorate rocks with glue on decorations that could potentially fall off and become litter; not taking rocks from protected habitats; don’t put rocks in chain stores or businesses that don’t want them; don’t rocks in lawn areas where lawnmowers would get damaged; and don’t rocks with foul language, political statements or advertising.
“There are enough things going on in the world that bring people against one another, and so much bashing and hurtful things being said over social media, but this brings people together,” Overbey said. “The purpose is to bring kindness to others, this is just to make your day happier and let you know that someone is caring about you.”
“Today, my husband and I stopped at a little coffee shop in Adelaide, Australia and there was a sign in the shop that said ‘Be the reason someone smiles today.’ I think that’s what our rocks do.”
For more information about San Carlos Rocks or how to hide/hunt for rocks, check out their Facebook page, tinyurl.com/yagd8d6l or follow #SCROCKS on Instagram.
— Jess Winans is an editorial assistant at SDCNN, the parent company of the Mission Times Courier. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.