Four-hundred little blue rocks, with messages of peace and understanding, are spreading out from one Little River school around the country.
Last week, Riverside Elementary School students drew messages on 400 rocks that are hidden around the county, and sent as far away as California, New Jersey, West Virginia and Australia.
“I felt like the rocks would be something that would [make] it real to them, that they would actually get to participate in it and get in their mind the idea of how kindness can be spread throughout the world,” said Riverside Elementary guidance counselor Felecia Bellamy. “Bullying is a problem period, in the world. You have adult bullies. I think it has to do with people not learning the lesson of respect, not learning how to be kind early on. Hurt people hurt people.”
On Tuesday, 17-year-old Socastee High School Daniel Alvarado was charged with disturbing schools after attacking other students who were picking on him and laughing at him, according to a police report.
Never miss a local story.
But that type of behavior can be stopped if kids are taught about kindness and respect at an early age, said Bellamy.
“In a world where we have so much negativity, I have taught my students that I feel they can change that by getting the lesson of respect and kindness and caring and getting it embedded in their hearts,” said Bellamy. “I honestly believe that if they learn it on the elementary level, when they’re in middle school or high school, they will practice kindness.”
The rocks are blue in color. One side has a message written by a student and another has instructions to re-hide the rock and tag Riverside Elementary School on Facebook with the location of where it was found.
“I like it a lot, because you say kind words and it can brighten up people’s day,” said fifth-grader Desintee Vereen, who wrote “Follow your dreams” in pink and gold. “Say someone is having a bad day and they’re not feeling too good, they might pick up the rock one day and read it and turn their frown upside down.”
Fifth-grader Drew Prince wrote “Smile, you are special.”
“Everybody is special in their own way,” he said. “I think it’s a good idea, because it helps to make the world a better place.”