Batavia, NY- Veterans at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center are enjoying some words of encouragement from students at Genesee Community College in Lima. The students expressed them in a unique way through a project that began in a Human Relations 1 (HUR 101) class. Instructor Laurie Rogers delivered them in time for the inspirational quotes to be enjoyed this coming Memorial Day and for many years to come.
Rogers, a campus center associate at GCC Lima, encouraged her students to show kindness during Random Acts of Kindness week in February. The kindness movement has taken off at GCC with a new club called the RAKtivists leading the charge.
“My students wanted to collect rocks and paint inspirational quotes on them for the vets at the Canandaigua VA,” Rogers said. Frigid temperatures did not deter student Ashley Seils from donning her waders and collecting more than 30 rocks. “My friend Olivia and I decided to go to Long Point on Conesus Lake,” Seils said after an unsuccessful attempt to find rocks at the Downs in Avon. “The ice was completely frozen over and we could walk on it. There was snow on top of the ice so it took a little to search for where the shore would be. Once we found where the shore would be, then we started to break the ice.” Moving in small sections, they cracked ice and pulled out rocks, successfully gathering enough for the whole class to paint. She endured the cold and wet for one reason. “I decided to go on this adventure due to the cause it was for—our veterans,” Ashley said.
The class painted the rocks, wowing Rogers who noted “the students’ creativity and compassion really shined.” The designs are as varied as the group of students. Some of the rocks share a single word such as “dream” or “brave.” Others offer encouraging phrases like “You are braver than you believe,” and “H.O.P.E—Hold On Pain Ends.” “Their inspirational quotes warmed my heart,” Rogers said.
The veterans appreciated the gesture. “It was very special to deliver these to Canandaigua,” Rogers said. “They are going to have the vets put the rocks in one of their gardens.” As the weather warms this spring, the veterans can feel the warmth extended to them by GCC students who took the time to show how much they care.
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Photographs of the rock painting project are available here: