The landscaping around Los Medanos Elementary School in Pittsburg is a little more colorful these days. And a whole lot kinder.
7-year-old Stephany Martinez is the reason why. "I put some rocks around the school," Martinez said.
To be clear, they were not just "some rocks." They were the result of a collaboration between Martinez and her mother, Rosy Mendez.
Mendez, at home, had been stressing the importance of kindness to her daughter.
"Kindness is contagious," Mendez said. "If you are nice to someone, this person is going to be nice to you."
So, the two came up with the idea of painting rocks with bright colors, then writing inspirational messages on them with the hope of scattering them around the school. That is if Principal Milly Estrada agreed to it.
"Immediately, I said, 'Of course,'" Estrada said. "In all my years in education, I had never had a someone come to me with such an initiative."
Now, dozens of "Rocks of Encouragement" adorn the school.
The hope, Martinez says, is that the messages will provide a boost to any of her classmates who are feeling down or, as Martinez puts it, having a "blue" day.
"When someone has a blue day they could pass by and see the rock and it's kind of a message to them and probably they could have a happy day again," Martinez said.
Martinez says her classmates have told her they love the rock and their positive messages.
Adults around her hope it inspires other kids to do something similar and, perhaps, turn a single rock of encouragement into an avalanche of kindness.