For one family in Wisconsin, the path to healing from terror and violence started with a random act of kindness. After a shooting at their local mall, they set out to bring smiles back to the community.

From Violence to Kindness

Random Acts supporter Teresa Geurts’ daughter was working in the mall when the shooting started. “She, her co-workers, and her customers (some as young as 3 years old) were locked down for 3.5 hours. It was terrifying for everyone involved, including family and friends who watched from afar as they searched for the shooter,” Teresa said. “I knew we had to do something to help the people in this community heal. I knew we had to do something to help us heal, too!”

A painted rock with a blue background, a rising sun, and the text "Here comes the sun"

One of Teresa’s painted rocks!

Teresa made a plan to bring smiles to strangers at the mall by doing what she loves: painting rocks! Using funds generously provided by our wonderful donors, she was able to purchase rock painting supplies, small-denomination gift cards that were purchased primarily from local businesses, and gift bags to put everything in. Teresa made sure to get her family involved in the project by painting the rocks together. She included a kind note in each bag along with a gift card and a painted rock.

Teresa distributed 74 gift bags to random shoppers at the mall, and any extra painted rocks were placed around the outside of the mall for people to find. Although some people treated the random act of kindness with suspicion, many others were pleased by the gesture. Teresa recalls one woman who received a rock that asked “Did I Make You Smile Today?” and joyfully replied, “Thank you! You did make me smile today!”

Healing a Community

When an act of violence damages a community, it can be difficult to know what to do next. Follow Teresa’s lead, and carry out a random act of kindness! If you need help to pay for your act, submit a proposal for funding on our Sponsored Acts page, just like Teresa did! If you want to discuss your idea, please reach out to a Regional Representative in your area. Doing a random act of kindness brings joy to the giver as well as the recipient, so get out there and cover your community in kindness!