Last school year, Serendipity Art School in Flushing began experimenting with its own version of the Kindness Project, an internationally known initiative started by a Massachusetts woman who found a positively decorated walk on a beach right after she experienced loss. Finding the rock inspired the woman do decorate her own rocks with positive, encouraging messages and either give them to loved ones or place them in parks or beaches, hoping someone who needed them would find them. At Serendipity, the project will become fully integrated into the students’ curriculum in January of 2020.
Joanne Fennell, the schools’ owner and director, says the both the kids and adults she teaches responded positively to the project when they tried it last year.
“I know some of [the kids] have gone through divorce, and they encourage one of the parents by giving them the rock,” Fennell says. “I know people who have lost grandparents and set something up in their house.” She also says that neighborhoods are filled with kindness rocks throughout the area, especially close to schools.
Fennell explains she didn’t fully integrate the Kindness Project into her curriculum last year because she couldn’t devote a whole class to it. However, the positive feedback she has received encouraged her to make the project a more deliberate part of her curriculum. She chose January because people need a little cheering up when all the holidays are over and all that’s left is cold.
Serendipity Art School offers art making classes for both kids and adults. Fennell encourages kids from a young age to experiment with shapes, colors, textures, and more, and as they grow more artistically confident, they learn how to paint stick figures, faces, and more. In 2020, after all the holiday-focused art, her young students will begin a project on the Coral Reef to inject some brightness and fun into the dreary months in the same fashion as the Kindness Project. Serendipity offers a summer program in addition to its semester-long classes.