Finding hidden happiness in ‘Stockton rocks’

Dannica Chhun, Staff Writer

Locals have discovered painted rocks hidden all around Stockton. The woman behind the often inspiring painted rocks is Eileena Mendiola, a native Stocktonian who said in an interview with “Good Day Sacramento” that she wanted “to bring positivity and bring families together.”

It’s relatively easy to participate in “Stockton Rocks.” Simply find a rock, paint it with an image or positive message, and then hide it somewhere around Stockton areas. If someone finds a painted rock, then the person may rehide the rock or keep it and post their find on the “Stockton Rocks” official Facebook. They may also donate the rock to a loved one to lift their spirits.

“It was fun, like seeing the crazy places people hide them,” Bear Creek junior Lauren Gahn said; she participated in the event with her family by Trinity Parkway.

More than 10,000 people follow Mendiola’s Facebook page and participate in the event. Parents who participate with their kids post their pictures of their newly found rock on Facebook, where they can see if anyone in the community has found their rock as well.

“Stockton Rocks” has reached thousands of people in Stockton and some elementary schools have participated in it. Some teachers have engaged their students with painted rocks to spread positivity on campus.

“It’s got teachers talking about how to spread some positivity on campus,” Parklane elementary teacher Lea Rodriguez said.

As the number of people participating increases, so does the positivity within the community. People that have lost a loved one or simply had a bad day are given painted rocks and it immediately uplifts their day.

“Older people like my mom’s age are happy when they find one,” Parklane elementary teacher Lori Ring said.

“What’s so nice is that there are a lot of positive comments [on their Facebook page] — there’s no negativity,” Rodriguez said. “Instead of the negative stuff filled on Facebook, people are making pictures of little kids holding the rocks.”

In a city that has been plagued by a rise in crimes and homicides, “Stockton Rocks” helps lessens the negativity from it.

“Now people are talking about “Stockton Rocks” on Facebook instead of the Stockton crimes,” Elkhorn lunch worker Michelle Rodriguez said.

“I think it really brought the community together because like, it let people show their artwork, and even if you weren’t good at artwork you still got to see people’s bad artwork or splashes of paint or whatever,” Gahn said.