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Kristina Nigro has been painting rocks and placing them throughout town hoping to brighten people’s days and recently started a Facebook page, Kindness Rocks of EH. (Photo courtesy of Kristina Nigro )
When Kristina Nigro was laid off due to COVID, she immediately began looking for another job. The job hunt, however, was stressful and with very few places hiring, she was looking for a creative outlet.
“I started painting rocks—it was my pressure release,” says Kristina. “After I painted them, I’d place them around Cosey Beach when I was out walking. The next time I’d take a walk, they’d be taken. Apparently it was something people were enjoying.”
Though Kristina took a bit of a break during the summer months, as the weather cooled and she began walking more, she was inspired to bring back the small, decorated stones.
This time, though, she was curious about their path so she created social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram named Kindness Rocks of EH. Now when she places the rocks, she includes a card with them so people can share their find.
“I wanted to find a way to trace the rocks and created a page where people can post about them, participate in finding them or placing them, and paint them along with me,” says Kristina. “I researched it and I’m not following a worldwide page and there are other states and towns that do this. I started to share my page, Kindness Rocks of EH, and once it was posted to The Good Things About East Haven [Facebook page], it gained traction.”
The Facebook page explains that the purpose is to “help share kindness through decorated rocks.” Kristina posts photos of rocks that she has created and encourages others to post photos when they find rocks or paint and place their own.
She explains that if anyone comes across a painted rock, they are welcome to “see it, smile, and simply enjoy,” take it home, or move it to a new locations. No matter what people choose to do with the rock, she encourages people to snap a photo and share it to the Facebook or Instagram page and include #kindnessrocksofEH.
After the page was created, Kristina was excited to receive a message from a woman who had found the rocks over the summer and placed them in her garden.
Kristina also uses the page to take suggestions about places people would like to see rocks placed. She has often frequented the beach and parks, but taking suggestions from the community has led her to new places in town, as well.
“I never knew the Shoreline Greenway Trails existed,” says Kristina. “I went for a hike and it was a great place to put some down.”
Many who follow the page have asked for Kristina’s advice on creating their own rocks to place. Kristina suggests acrylic paints, noting she finds small bottles at WalMart for about 50 cents each. Once the paints are dry, the rocks should be sprayed with a clear sealer so they can be protected in the elements. She uses Rustoleum Hammered Top Coat. When it comes to the rock, any will do and she is often inspired by what she finds.
“I pick up rocks anywhere. It may be an ugly looking rock, but you can make it into a beautiful project,” says Kristina. “I’ll look at a rock and see what comes to me. Other times people request things and I’ll try to find a rock that fits that.”
Many of her requests come from her nieces and nephews—she has five under the age of six—so she often finds herself painting trolls, baseball bats, or Ninja Turtles. She also is inspired by the time of year, having just made several Halloween and fall rocks and getting ready for the Christmas season.
Kristina has always enjoyed the arts. One of her favorite jobs came about when she was substituting at the elementary school she attended when she was growing up in East Haven. She had been a substitute in the school and for the last three months of the school year, she was asked to be a permanent sub for the art teacher she had when she was little.
“I got to do lesson plans and do projects with the kids,” says Kristina. “I really enjoyed it.”
Kristina has also had a lifelong passion for animals, noting that she has been “obsessed” since getting her first dog at the age of 10. She has worked as a veterinary technician, taken courses in dog training, and done petsitting.
“I love animals,” says Kristina. “People who know me know I have experience with animals and call me with questions, to cut nails, or watch their pets. I’ve been around animals for 20 years so I have a lot of knowledge.”
Kristina also enjoys helping humans. When Relay for Life was hosted on the shoreline, she was involved in that event. After Hurricane Irene, she was part of the group People Helping People, which set up at the town’s beach house where residents could charge their phones or get needed supplies.
“I love helping regardless of what it is – there’s a good camaraderie in town and people tend to come together when there is a need,” says Kristina, who is excited to bring joy to people through her painted rocks. “It makes me happy to make someone else happy by finding one of the rocks. I love that people enjoy them.
Jenn McCulloch is the Correspondent for Zip06. Email Jenn at .