Date: May 18, 2017
Contact: Carrie A. Dittman, Centerville-Washington Park District, OR Sarah Swan, Centerville City Schools,
Subject: Centerville Elementary Students Paint Rocks to Spread Kindness

CENTERVILLE, OH: The fifth and second grade students at Centerville’s Cline Elementary School have formed a partnership to spread the message of kindness throughout their school. Their mission began when they learned about a rock painting project from the Centerville-Washington Park District.

In March, the Centerville-Washington Park District began painting and hiding rocks throughout their 50 parks. They invited others to participate by painting and hiding their own masterpieces. Each painter identifies their rocks with the tag “#CWPDrocks” painted on the back. When park visitors find the rocks and search the internet for the hashtag, they learn more about the project. A CWPD Rocks Facebook group formed for people to post notes about rocks they have hidden and/or found on park visits. In two short months, the group has grown to 285 members, with new members joining every day. It is a big continuous hide-and-seek game within the parks.

Cline fifth grade teacher Cara Michaels started noticing the rocks during her walks in the parks. She saw the hashtag and did research to learn more. Michaels told her students about CWPD Rocks and similar projects she found during her search. The students brainstormed how to get involved in their own way. Fifth graders at Cline have second grade book buddies, so together with Marcia Waters’ second grade class, they read kindness-themed books and came up with messages to paint on their rocks. The students designed rocks together and hid them throughout the school to inspire acts of kindness among their fellow students.

All of the schools within the Centerville City School District have a building theme. This project ties directly to Cline Elementary’s CARE theme (Citizenship, Accountability, Respect and Empathy) which reminds students to act respectfully and treat each other with kindness.

“We started the CWPD Rocks project to surprise and delight park visitors. We were touched to learn Cline Elementary students had been inspired to spread messages of kindness after a teacher found some CWPD rocks,” said Ginger Clark, volunteer coordinator at the park district. “Our goal was to brighten someone’s day, and these students have brightened ours!”

Clark brought the project idea to the Centerville-Washington Park District after learning about a similar project from a friend in Florida. Communities across the nation have been adopting rock-painting projects to spread happiness. The park district plans to continue the CWPD Rocks project indefinitely and they welcome anyone to become involved.


The Centerville-Washington Park District operates eight community parks, nine nature parks, and 33 neighborhood parks encompassing more than 1,000 acres in Centerville and Washington Township. For more information about the Centerville-Washington Park District, please call (937) 433-5155 or visit