Catawba Island ROCKS! Spreading kindness one rock at a time brings smiles

May 19, 2021 | Around Ottawa County | 1 comment

The movement of spreading KINDNESS one rock at a time began on Catawba Island.


Catawba Island ROCKS was designed to encourage kindness by creating works of art on rocks. Every kindness rock is made with love, hoping the final product will create a smile for the person finding it.

You never know who may need that smile during their day.

Catawba Island ROCKS is based on Catawba Island in Port Clinton, but has welcomed members come from many other states and even a few other countries, as well.

This kindness group was created on June 26, 2017 by Denice Day. She found a kindness rock while on vacationing with a group in Kerrville,Texas led by Robin Rohde. She and her husband, Ted Day of Catawba Island, created the group on Facebook and chose to name it Catawba Island ROCKS.

A few months after the group was created, I joined as a co-administrator. The group now has more than 1,700 members and is continuing to grow.

Even if you aren’t a professional artist, you can still participate. A painted rock, no matter the skills that created it, is a fun surprise for all.

The process is to paint, hide, find, then re-hide for others.

Painting kindness rocks have no limits and the possibilities are endless. Some popular types of rocks include painting a picture and adding an inspirational saying.

Rock painting is a fun family activity or great for a group of friends. Many of the painters say creating kindness rocks is a stress reliever, or gives them a sense of purpose, knowing they are doing good for others.

The artists enjoy reading the heart warming stories of the finders of the kindness rocks.

My own father was a resident in a nursing home. He wasn’t a fan of the rock movement until he heard the nurses and residents talking about the painted rocks that were found. Towards the end, I conveniently left a few rocks for him to share and every trip afterward, he needed more.

I was soon contacted by a son of a fellow resident. When cleaning out his room, the son found his dad’s collection of painted rocks on a shelf in his room. Of course he didn’t know what Facebook was, but he enjoyed collecting the little painted rocks.

Another member shared the kindness rock she found was at the perfect place at the perfect time. She was in a dark, unhappy part of her life and having a bad day.  Finding the “you matter” rock, made her think twice and believe in herself.

This is why members “spread kindness one rock at a time.”

Members have started a community rock garden for people to Take one for Inspiration, Share one for Motivation, Leave one to help our garden grow.

In 2019 our first community rock garden was housed at Pizza Hut in Port Clinton. In 2020 and 2021 Carrie Kruse, the owner of Rudders Cafe, 3260 NE Catawba Rd., Port Clinton, allowed a community rock garden. Diana Stine skillfully created a sign for the garden, while other wonderful artists work together to fill the community rock garden.

Please watch the Catawba Island ROCKS Facebook page for further collaboration projects with Rudder’s Cafe’ and also a few pop-up garden events around the area.

Members don’t only place rocks in a community rock garden and hide them for others to find. Painting rocks for every resident and team member of Otterbein-Pemberville Senior Life amidst the pandemic early last year, I was able to do my part to make the residents smile and feel loved.

Jennifer, Emmaline, Zachary, and Sydney Wertz made spring stained glass egg decorations for all of the residents’ windows to warm their hearts during this unfortunate time. Denice shared the extra rocks with other “sister”

Otterbein SeniorLife locations.She sees the rocks around the locations on a daily basis and can’t help but smile whenever they pop up.

In the past, Denice has taught Mandala painting class at Lilly and Gerts in Port Clinton. Melissa has also created memorial rocks for two children lost too early, painted with a 4-H club, held painting events, held community contests, created rocks for fire victims in California, painted rocks for suicide awareness, and created flag rocks for the Ohio Veterans Home.

To help spread smiles one rock at a time, feel free to add the group Catawba Island ROCKS on your facebook page. If you don’t have facebook and you would like to join, email questions to

Even though the artists like seeing their rocks posted, we must remember, “Not all who wander are lost.”

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1 Comment

  1. MaryAlice

    This is so very sweet and encouraging. I was browsing looking for a place to retire and this has given your area a huge amount of points. You may have cold winters but warm hearts is more important.


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