With the intention of sparking joy in the community through art, both Oakwood’s team and club members at our Red Mountain location banded together to create a special monument to share with others — something that has recently been drawing some new attention — the Kindness Rocks Garden.
When walking through the outside entryway of the Red Mountain Day Club, you can see the exquisitely colorful and personalized pile of rocks, many of which have been hand-painted by some of Oakwood’s own members. The Kindness Rocks Garden offers a beautiful expression of gratitude, faith, and inspiration to be shared with the entire community.
Recently, Red Mountain’s Club Director and RN, Ronnie Walters, shared her experience with witnessing firsthand how the Day Club’s Kindness Rocks Garden had a huge impact on someone’s life…
A Strange Start To A Wonderful Day At Red Mountain Day Club
Monday was a typical busy morning for Oakwood Creative Care’s Red Mountain Day Club. We were hurrying around getting things in order for the first of our senior members to arrive. Every day, our Care Coordinator, Megan, monitors the club’s Ring Camera activity from overnight, as we often see some pretty unusual things recorded. The weekends are especially active for our Ring Camera, and after reviewing the footage from the nights before, Megan wanted to bring some rather bizarre recordings to our attention.
Over the weekend, from Friday through Sunday night, many people approached our building, looking at our rock garden just to the right of our front door. We saw that people were coming at all times of day and night.
It was very strange to see the footsteps of our club become a hotspot for gatherings, so we decided it must have become a geocache location within the city of Mesa. However, we later determined it was not.
While there was an influx of foot traffic occurring over the weekend, we also noticed that our Amazon deliveries from Friday evening had disappeared – something that was, again, picked up by our Ring Camera. At that point, I decided it was time to get rid of our rock garden because it was attracting so much attention, and I worried it might also be bringing the wrong type of attention.
An Unexpected Visitor At The Kindness Rocks Garden
I had decided that after our morning meeting, I would get rid of the rock garden, and frankly, I couldn’t wait to do so. Suddenly, another one of our staff members walked in and said a gentleman was sitting in his walker staring at the rocks and that he seemed to be crying.
Determined to find out what was happening, I decided to head outside and bring him a cup of coffee and a couple of cookies. However, by the time I headed for the door, he was gone, so I decided to walk around the corner of the building, where I found the gentleman posted near the parking lot. As I approached him, I called out, “Hello, sir! Are you the gentleman who was sitting in front of our rock garden?” to which he responded, “Yes.”
I then tried to hand him the coffee and cookies, but he responded with, “No. I only have $20.” I assured him I just wanted to make his day a little better (because who doesn’t love coffee and cookies?), to which he accepted the gesture.
How One Rock Gave Hope To A Gentleman In Need
It was then that I noticed he began to cry. I gently placed my hand on his shoulder and asked him what was wrong. He responded by saying that the pile of rocks was so special to him, and he’d noticed it before.
He then went on to say, “You can see I’m an old man, and when I was growing up, we were very poor. As one of twelve kids, I never had a toy. But I always had my rocks. I would pretend they were all kinds of things and was always happy because they were my treasures. I’ve never seen anything like that rock garden you have; the fact that you would use rocks to bless other people – it gives us hope.”
He then added, “You know, Jesus is my Rock,” to which I replied, “He’s mine too.”
Continuing on, the gentleman said, “I should tell you I took a rock – your sign said to – and I’m going to give it to someone else to enjoy.” I told him that was wonderful and what it was all about. I encouraged him to please come back any time to enjoy the rocks.
When I asked his name, he said, “Paul,” and I told him, “I’m Ronnie.” I expressed to him what a blessing it was to have him, how incredible he made my day, how I hoped for him to have a wonderful day, and that I was thankful for him. After parting ways, I wept like a baby on the way back into my office.
Suffice it to say, the Kindness Rocks Garden stays! Completed with Paul’s new rock in it.
Did You Know?
Oakwood Creative Care is bringing back the JOY in aging! We believe a diagnosis should not have to define your life. Instead, we have devoted our mission to reigniting hope for caregivers and older adults with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other age-related challenges. Click the button below to learn more about how we do this through our research-based, cutting-edge, creative care model found at each of our Day Clubs.