PORT WILLIAMS, NS - Youth in Kingston, Port Williams and Windsor are invited to participate in an artistic workshop to dot their copies of a friendship mandala in hopes of inspiring them to do positive actions in friendship, gratitude, and peace.
These workshops are hosted by Travelling Kindness Rocks creator, Ginger LeBoutillier who initiated the program in 2015 when she was a Grade 5/6 teacher at Falmouth District School. With her students, LeBoutillier had been exploring dot painting, which she says ignited a new-found passion in her.
“The students were having a difficult time getting along, so I brought a basket of my very first painted rocks into school and invited students to take one and place it on their desk,” says LeBoutillier.
This was to be an example of kindness shown to them, so in turn they would be kind to each other, she says.
• Read more about Ginger LeBoutillier’s Kindness Rocks: http://www.kingscountynews.ca/business/windsors-travelling-kindness-rocks-connecting-humanity-dot-by-dot-157197/
A few months later, LeBoutiller had the idea that the rocks could travel. The students, staff, and families of Falmouth District School voluntarily mailed the first couple hundred Travelling Kindness Rocks during the fall and winter of 2015. In the spring 2016, the rock travels were funded by donations from various people around the world, she says.
Now, Travelling Kindness Rocks is a social enterprise, as people get involved in the dotting events and global programs, thus funding the original idea.
As of the end of this month, LeBoutillier says 1,000 Travelling Kindness Rocks will have been mailed to specific individuals who need kindness and will have been received in 24 countries.
LeBoutillier says the idea is to globally connect people dot by dot, using these dot mandalas to represent the individuals involved and the mandala as a whole to represent a united community of people. The black base represents the difficult time in the recipient’s life. The centre white dot, the first to be painted, signifies hope and the focus of one’s spiritual beliefs. The colourful, organized dots of the mandala symbolize our united gesture of kindness and interconnectedness, she says.
There are several workshops offered by Travelling Kindness Rocks, and the youth program is the newest type. The idea, LeBoutillier says, is to show participants that social media can connect us all and should be used in this way.
At the event, participants will dot their copy of the mandala. Afterwards, youth are invited to complete a positive action related to the theme of friendship, such as gifting the mandala to a friend, spending time with a friend, or making a new friend. They are challenged to take a photo of the act and mandala and post it to social media, says LeBoutillier. Each mandala is connected to a hashtag, for instance #TKRfriendship, so people everywhere can follow along as these posts are made.
“Everything we do relates back to the understanding that humans are connected,” says LeBoutillier, “and our work is about creating ways for people to experience these connections.”
Youth events will be held on Feb. 3 in Kingston, Feb. 10 in Port Williams and March 4 in Windsor. The cost is $15 (plus tax) and are recommended for youth aged nine and older.
Go online: Any groups interested in holding a Travelling Kindness Rocks event can contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 902-306-0327. Visit travellingkindnessrocks.ca to find details about group events, school visits, and fundraisers.