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Why 600 Kids in Tennessee Are Writing Inspiring Notes (and Hashtags!) on Rocks and Placing Them All Over Town

This article is one in a series at The 74 that profiles the heroes, victories, success stories, and random acts of kindness to be found at schools all across America. Read more of our recent inspiring profiles at The74million.org/series/inspiring.

Sometimes rocking kindness is as easy as a bit of paint and some smooth stones.

To mark the start of the school year, Carpenters Elementary School, in Maryville, Tennessee, which has made kindness a touchstone, took a cue from the Kindness Rocks Project and had all 600 students paint words of inspiration and caring on rocks that will be distributed all around their Blount County community.

To see how far the children’s messages of kindness will spread throughout the fall, each stone bears the hashtag #CESKindnessRocks, so anyone who finds one can take a picture and share the love, reports The Daily Times.

The Carpenters Elementary School students’ effort is part of a worldwide movement started by a Massachusetts mom, Megan Murphy, who was hoping to create moments of encouragement for fellow beachcombers on Cape Cod.

What started on the beach has moved to parks, hospital grounds, and schools nationally and internationally.

In Ontario, Canada, middle school students used the rocks to help punctuate a discussion on kindness this past spring. “We realized how a big gesture isn’t the only form of compassion and kindness, in fact it’s the little things that really make a difference in people’s lives,” wrote an eighth-grader at Bond Lake Public School.

Morrison Elementary School in Massachusetts even brought Murphy in to lead a springtime assembly to help kick off a Kindness Rocks effort there.

“This isn’t about me. The project is about people,” Murphy told Today.com. “It’s about after people find a rock and they have that feeling about the rock and realize there’s another human being who actually gets them. They realize they are not alone in this world.”

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