Martin Avenue starts a tradition of spreading kindness


Bellmore residents can expect to spot brightly colored rocks in various nooks and crannies throughout the community. Be it on a stroll through the park, on a Dunkin Donuts coffee run or a walk home from school, residents are encouraged to pick up these rocks — each of which contains a positive message designed to brighten someone’s day.

The Martin Avenue Elementary School sixth-grade class started the project, called “Kindness Rocks,” by designing the rocks and placing them around town as part of the school’s Character Education Program, which is in its second year and aims to teach students important lessons such as the value of kindness.

“You never know if someone needs something special,” said Rachel Graber, a sixth-grade teacher at Martin Avenue who, along with Stephanie Schwartz, also a sixth-grade teacher, brought the “Kindness Rocks” program to their classes. She added that Martin Avenue students have distributed roughly 300 rocks throughout the community.

Students also created a rock garden at the school, which, Principal Leyna Malone said, started with just a handful of rocks before growing more and more plentiful. Younger students at Martin Avenue eventually followed suit, creating their own rocks and writing their own positive messages.

“It leaves behind a legacy for the sixth grade,” said student Samantha Rooney.

“And it teaches people to be more kind,” Julia Savino chimed in, adding that, day-by-day, she has noticed more rocks in the garden.

“I found a lot more rocks by my dance studio,” Rooney said.

The project includes a social media component, in which those who find a rock can take a photo and post it to Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag “Martin Rocks.” Malone said that she has seen the hashtag catch on, with district parents who find them posting to express their appreciation.

In honor of Board of Education appreciation month, representatives from Martin Avenue also brought rocks to a the Nov. 1 meeting of the Bellmore-Merrick School District’s board, giving one to each of it’s members.