Goodyear Rocks spreads messages of hope and joy throughout the city
Tammie Sikes was trying to think of a way to add a little extra joy to the lives of her fellow Goodyear residents.
The idea came during a visit from her sister from Washington state.
“She was telling me about these rocks that she was finding. One was from a group called Whidbey Island Rocks. It was beautiful,” Sikes said. “She said, ‘You should do something down here.' And so I looked, and I didn’t see anything (similar). So I thought, let’s go ahead and start something.”
That’s when Sikes created Goodyear Rocks, which has grown to nearly 1,500 followers on Facebook.
“It’s really simple. You just paint a rock, and then you put a note on the back saying that this is for Goodyear Rocks,” she said, adding the group is happy to provide tips for those who have little or no experience in rock painting.
Once painted, the rocks can be left anywhere around Goodyear. There's also a trading post at Sugar N Spice at 14970 W Indian School Rd.
The hope is that the person who finds the rock will post a photo of it to the Goodyear Rocks Facebook page. At that point, the rock finder can either keep it, or re-hide it for someone else to find.
Rocks used by the Goodyear Rocks group can be found at local landscaping companies.
“It cheers people up. When you read the posts on our Facebook group, so many people say how it brightens their day and how much of a difference it made -- that they needed that rock at that time,” Sikes said.
Jean Reynolds, who’s lived in Goodyear for 35 years, helps Sikes run the Facebook page, and does a lot of rock painting herself. She even meets up with fellow Goodyear Rocks members for painting sessions.
“Making people smile is basically what it comes down to,” she said. "They never know when they’re going to find a rock – or sometimes, we believe the rock finds them.”
Some of Reynolds’ projects include paintings of her dogs, a ladybug, and a colorfully-painted rock with the word “hope” on it. Her favorite project is one of her simplest: a painting of a semicolon, which has become a symbol of hope for those struggling with depression.
“It’s a good feeling for me that I can give back to our community,” she said. “The point is that they find it and it makes them feel better.”
Sikes has been delighted to find rocks on her own, including in front of the Goodyear Library, and by a tree in her neighborhood. But she said Goodyear Rocks is open to people who live beyond the city, and even outside the state of Arizona. After all, it’s not just Goodyear residents who need a little encouragement from time to time.
“These rocks can be placed anywhere. We’ve had people who are on road trips find a rock and then place it several states away, which is really kind of fun,” she said. “I hope that people will join our group and that they will encourage their family and friends to do it wherever they are in the nation.”