Painted rocks surprise people all over North Carolina - | WBTV Charlotte

Painted rocks surprise people all over North Carolina

(Source: Tresa Roark) (Source: Tresa Roark)

(Molly Grantham and Kelcey McClung) - If you spot a colored rock, stop and take a closer look. Your eyes aren't playing tricks.

In counties all over North Carolina, colorful rocks painted with uplifting messages have been hidden for others to find.

It started with Tresa Roark who lives in Wilkesboro. Roark's goal was simple: Leave painted rocks in plain sight on well-traveled daily paths.Those who stumble upon them will smile, be inspired and hopefully share their own.

“Everywhere and everyday you hear bad news about people getting sick and hurting each other,” Roark said. “I wanted to do something uplifting, positive and free without expecting anything in return.”

Roark started by creating a Facebook group called “Color Wilkes.” She labeled a few rocks with instructions on the back and started spreading the word.

“I hid about ten the first time and nothing happened,” Roark said. “But I never gave up. I kept planting rocks and eventually it took off.”

Since she started this in January, people in Catawba, Gastonia, McDowell, Caldwell, Burke, Surry and Watauga counties have adopted her idea. Roark says there are even groups in California and Florida.

Shelley Winters lives in Burke County. She thought coloring rocks would be a fun game for her family to play. Winters started a “Color Burke!” Facebook page in March, which currently has 11,000 members.

“This group of people have actually boosted it to more than just a game,” Winters said. “Total strangers are encouraging each other, cheering each other on in life. It's really lovely.”

Winters pointed out that for health reasons, not all participants can get out and walk around. As a result, members of the group have painted rocks and “hid” them in accessible places so everyone can enjoy.

“People paint special request rocks for complete strangers. We've seen members express grief, and honor loved ones, by making memory rocks,” Winters said. “And of course, it's hard to top the excitement on kids faces when they find one.”

Penny Smith also lives in Burke County. She, too, is a colored rock enthusiast but the first time she saw one, she didn't pick it up. Smith was afraid she'd be taking someone else's rock. She then posted about it on Facebook and realized the rock was for her - was for anyone - to grab and own.

“I couldn't wait to get to my car and take a picture to post next time I came across one,” Smith said. “It completely changed my mood.”

Smith said some of the women at her church get together once a month for “Pinterest Parties.” In July, they’ll paint rocks.

“I love how the community has come together looking for a sharing such positive messages,” Smith said. “Who would've thought - rocks?? Rocks are what is sharing happiness and bringing light to some of the darkness that's out there."

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