Shannondale is launching a new program, “Shannondale Rocks” to bring smiles to fellow residents and people across Knoxville. Buckingham Residents Betty Craig and Del Neely came up with the idea to bring the community together. The idea stems from the Kindness Rocks Project. The concept is simple, those who find a free, decorated rock discover a random act of kindness.
As Buckingham residents, Craig and Neely aren’t shy to get involved in enhancing neighborhood morale. Craig always notices when staff place flamingos outside of homes on people’s birthdays. Before Christmas last year, Neely put up a Christmas tree in the clubhouse with every Buckingham resident’s last name on an ornament. They both enjoy celebrating their neighbors and want to extend kindness to even more people in Shannondale and beyond.
Craig and Neely weren’t looking for a new project, but this one happened to find them. Craig has a group of friends who paint rocks and started to do so as well. But to tailor Shannondale Rocks to their community she turned to Neely. The thought is they could become the “rock fairies” at Buckingham.
Making a Movement
Both these ladies have arts and crafts talent. They are both sewers who quilt, but rocks were new material for them.
Here’s how it works: They wash and dry smooth river rocks and use acrylic paint and specific pens to create designs. Craig enjoys painting whimsical animals and nature. A few of her favorite designs are mice, birds and flowers. So far, Craig has painted about 30 rocks for this project. “I’m a person who can copy things. I don’t have the intuition to create something out of nothing,” Craig humbly shared. So, she finds ideas on Pinterest. Neely sticks to writing inspirational quotes and blessings, giving people hope.
The ladies say the best part is – if you make a mistake, you can just paint over it. When the rock is finished, they spray it with a clear acrylic sealant so the weather doesn’t wear it nor will the paint wear off.
While the project started on a whim, soon Craig and Neely realized by having a Facebook group they could connect with more people that way now, when someone finds a rock, they can share it far and wide.
Craig explained the Shannondale Rocks program is a “movement.” The trend began in the U.S. and spread to the U.K., Australia and New Zealand.
Neely comes up with adding a weatherproof QR label to the back of the rocks. Finders can scan the QR code with their camera phone and it takes the user to the Shannondale Rocks Facebook group. From there, the person can share where they found the rock and what they plan on doing with it.
“We just have to get the word out now,” Neely said, “And to let people know what to do if they come along a rock.”
Craig and Neely have volunteered to teach a couple of classes on campus. They will teach rock painting to residents at the Lodge and the healthcare center to enhance positivity around Shannondale of Knoxville.
“I’m excited. It’s given me something to do.” If we can bring a smile to one person, it’s worth all our time and effort,” Neely said.
Shannondale of Knoxville’s activities team is all for allowing those residents to try painting a rock. The project brings the outdoors in for people in the healthcare center and creates a happy experience. Residents can decide to give their art project to someone, keep it, or have someone hide it for them. Kindness keeps passing onward.
Craig explained, “It’s just plain fun. And it’s something different to do.”
Neely’s daughter is affiliated with Knox Area Rescue Ministries (KARM). It has a courtyard for homeless people to come to during the day. Craig plans to hide some of the rocks there with messages or tributes that thank veterans who are homeless. They also plan to hide the rocks in parks, hospital courtyards and activity fields.
Craig and Neely view this project as a huge opportunity to reach people who needed a bright spot in their day. They hope to make hundreds of rocks.
The goal is to brighten people’s day. “We think it’s a wonderful way to bring some joy to someone’s day,” Neely said.
The long-term goal is simple-to bring joy and smiles to anyone who finds a rock or helps with the project. They know this is as much of a win for them to create the tiny masterpieces as it is for someone to find one.
Craig said, “I came to Buckingham three years ago. And it has truly been a community for me.” After living in Knoxville for more than 50 years she found a new extended family in Shannondale.
To learn about the amenities the Buckingham community has to offer click here.