2017-08-09 / Front Page

Children paint stones with messages for people to find, rehide

By CAMERON PAQUETTE

In front from left, Connor Frederic, Ally Frederic, Payson Carter, Nora Carter, Bella Alva (back) Ashlyn Carter, Ashlynn Smith, Lucian Smith and Emily Smith pose for a photo with their hand-painted rocks before hiding them in downtown Charlestown for passersby to find.— CAMERON PAQUETTE PHOTOIn front from left, Connor Frederic, Ally Frederic, Payson Carter, Nora Carter, Bella Alva (back) Ashlyn Carter, Ashlynn Smith, Lucian Smith and Emily Smith pose for a photo with their hand-painted rocks before hiding them in downtown Charlestown for passersby to find.— CAMERON PAQUETTE PHOTOCHARLESTOWN — It’s a big world out there, but the development of social media has allowed people from around the globe to connect over great distances, learn new things and communicate. Now, a small group of children in Charlestown are hoping to reach out to that wide world and hopefully elicit a smile along the way.

On Monday, Heather Smith and nine children ages 3 to 10 were out along Main Street in Charlestown hiding painted rocks with messages around town. On the underside of each rock is a set of instructions — take a picture of the rock you find and post it on the Sharing Smiles NH Facebook group page, then, take the rock somewhere else and rehide it for someone else to find.

“We’ll see how far they can travel,” Smith said of the first batch of painted rocks, some of which were hidden around town Monday.

Smith, who runs a daycare during the summer months, got the idea when her daughter picked up a painted rock outside of a restaurant in Wells, Maine recently. On the bottom of the rock was a sticker with instructions to post a picture of the rock on the Seacoast Maine Rocks Facebook page.

A quick visit to the Seacoast Maine Rocks Facebook page illustrates what Smith is hoping to achieve with Sharing Smiles NH. Photo upon photo of people holding their discovered painted creation can be found from participants in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

“I found this in the back of a Silver Ford Explorer rental car at Boston Logan Airport before flying home to Roswell, Georgia,” said one woman, attaching a picture of a polished stone painted to resemble a strawberry ice cream cone on one side. “My husband flies internationally for his job and will take it with him. Next stop…...Singapore!”

For Smith and the children in her charge, the process began last week with gathering rocks from her property and some of the town’s trails. Last Wednesday, the kids painted their rocks with messages and images they hoped the world would see, and on Saturday the Sharing Smiles NH Facebook page was formed.

Smith’s daughter, Ashlynn, said she hoped a stone with a beach and palm tree with the message “Love is free” would find its way to Florida. She hopes that another, which she painted in the likeness of a fox’s face, finds its way to Alaska, or maybe Paris.

Heather Smith said that part of the idea is for the children to take the opportunity to learn about the world through seeing pictures of where their painted works travel to on the Sharing Smiles NH group page.

“A lot of kids don’t get the opportunity to travel as much as I think they should,” she said.

Those who find a rock painted by the children can post a picture of it to the Sharing Smiles NH Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1451161134953761/?fref=nf

“Let’s see how far our smiles can travel,” the page states.


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