WAILUA HOMESTEADS — Melissa Costales wants to make other people’s days a little brighter.
“Right now, the climate of the world is pretty stressful and people are looking for things to do to help themselves,” she said.
So in June, Costales started a group called Kauai Rocks, where people paint rocks and hide them for people to find.
When participants find rocks, they can either keep them or re-hide them. They can also get involved by painting and hiding rocks.
It’s part of a nationwide trend that started a year ago, she said.
“Do something positive and set it free. Let it make someone else’s day,” she said. “Good energy comes from these rocks.”
The group on Kauai has about 200 members on Facebook, where people can share their finds with the rest of the community. Some examples of the pictures painted on the rocks are a clown fish, plumerias and a ladybug.
“(I like) seeing everyone’s designs,” said Emily Pelous, a member of Kauai Rocks. “It’s always exciting when someone posts a new picture of their work. There’s a lot of talent here.”
Amber Paramentier likes Kauai Rocks because it gives her family something to do.
“It’s something fun to do with the kids — painting, hiding and finding new rocks,” she said.
Costales, who lives in Wailua Homesteads, owns Coconut Coasters Beach Bike Rentals with her husband. She was inspired to start the group after her sister got involved with a group in Everett, Washington.
“I was in Washington in March staying with my sister, after having eye surgery. I was pretty depressed,” she said. “I couldn’t see or paint. It was very frustrating. She was painting for Everett Rocks, and I would go with her to hide rocks.”
After returning home, Costales looked for a Kauai Rocks group, but couldn’t find one, so she organized one herself. She said she “volun-told” her friends to join the group.
The rocks they use are bought from garden sections at local stores — not lava rocks, she said.
“There’s no defacing property,” she said. “So far, we’ve had no problems.”
She said the hide-and-seek group is about more than just putting a smile on people’s faces. It also teaches lessons in sharing.
“The feedback I’ve loved the most is parents who tell me their kids who found five rocks and keep some of them, but re-hide others. They’re learning sharing,” she said. “Parents have said the best part is teaching a lesson. Some adults need to learn that lesson.”
Costales said the rocks have a way of connecting people from around the world. For example, when her husband painted a rock with the Seattle Seahawks logo on it, someone found it, took it to Seattle and posted a picture of the rock at the Seahawks’ home, CenturyLink Field.
Sandy Poehnelt, who lives in Koloa, said connecting with new people is her favorite part of the group.
“It’s a small creative outlet to share with a complete stranger, who may not stay a stranger,” she said.