By Jensen, Randy on May 21, 2020.
A Lethbridge Family Services client project that brought inspiration to hundreds throughout the city has begun making its way into parks and neighbourhoods.
Workers in the DeCapo Disability Services department were brainstorming of ways to engage their clients more during the COVID-19 pandemic and discovered The Kindness Rocks Project. As a way to inspire their clients through this tough time they took their time to paint the perfect rock and deliver a care package to join in.
“A few of our support workers in our DeCapo Disability Service department found the Rock Project and they thought it would be good because everyone can paint rocks, so we talked with our clients through Facetiming and they shared some of the rocks they would love to have,” says Michelle Gallucci, director Advancement & Communications, Lethbridge Family Services. “The staff got together and found beautiful rocks to paint and we received a donation of supplies and they painted a lot of rocks for the clients, along with giving them care packages and craft packages.”
Individuals with disabilities are faced with even more isolation during this time as many of their everyday services are either limited or removed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Through this care package, the Kindness Rock initiative and other programs, Lethbridge Family Services is making sure their disability clients are kept stimulated, active minded and to give them much needed interaction.
“The DeCapo clients were beyond happy because it’s not just connecting with them through video conferencing and whatnot, but this is their own messages that they actually asked for and our staff went through a lot of research to make sure that they got it just right,” says Gallucci. “Also by leaving the care packages, we are doing crafts with them. If they don’t have an iPad to connect with us, we will lend them one, and we do that every day. We do book club every day and we do the rock painting, so it is really important for them to have the supplies because not everybody does, and it is taking up hours of their day which is important.”
Since the beginning of the Kindness Rock initiative only a few weeks ago, colourful rocks have begun to spread throughout parks in the city, on front lawns of homes and in windows for passersby. Gallucci says it is a colourful inspiration for anyone and everyone and she hopes the trend catches on more in the city.
“This is a difficult time for everybody, it doesn’t matter who you are, there are implications to our mental health. Everyone, whether you are self-isolating, working from home, or going into work, it is difficult as well,” says Gallucci.
“I think random acts of rock-kindness is really easy, children can do it, families can do it and if you are leaving them throughout your community, it shows that someone cares about you and sometimes a surprise message can really inspire someone. I just love this project and I really hope it takes off even further in Lethbridge because it’s beautiful and also artsy.”
During the extended time of isolation, LFS continues to work on different projects to help promote healthy minds.
As everyone works through this difficult time, family services are working on a new project to support front line workers.
“Being an essential public service that is open, we want to promote healthy minds because we know that this has been a difficult time for everyone in Lethbridge,” says Gallucci. “To compensate, what we are trying to do is these inspirational art projects.
“We are working with our clients with this, but we are also going to start opening up for frontline workers and responders for anyone who feels like they have mental health needs that they can’t cope with.
“We are opening counselling briefings and session counselling, so we will be putting that out in a few weeks when we work out with the government what that is going to look like.”
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