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Local girl makes ‘kindness rocks’ for cops

Posted on Thursday, November 16, 2017 at 2:00 pm

By Rachel Christian
Staff Writer
Third grader Bella Ramirez wanted a rock-solid way to show her support for local law enforcement officers.
The 8 year-old student at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School in St. Cloud ultimately settled on one-of-a-kind handmade “Kindness Rocks.”
Each brightly colored stone is hand painted and decorated by Ramirez,

Submitted Photo
Bella Ramirez shares a kindness rock with Winter Haven Community Service Officer Katelyn Hovercamp.

who also inscribes a kind word or inspirational message on each of the pieces. The young girl then hand delivers her creations to regional police officers as a token of her appreciation.
“It seemed like a nice thing to do that they might also like,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez’s mother, Jeanne, said the decorated stones started as a creative way for Bella to fulfill required volunteer hours at her school. The mother-daughter duo came across the idea of Kindness Rocks through the website Pinterest.
Ramirez first began handing out her kind rocks at the Winter Haven Police Department, where her father is an officer.
But it wasn’t long before the thoughtful student decided to take her school project to the next level.
“We just thought it would be for the officers in Winter Haven,” Jeanne explained. “But then it blossomed into something much more.”
When Matthew Baxter and Sam Howard of the Kissimmee Police Department were fatally shot on Aug. 18, Ramirez expanded her mission to include all police officers in Osceola County. It was a tall order, but Jeanne said Bella was determined to show her support. The elementary school student created the hashtag #KidsBackTheBlue and wrote it on the back of each rock. Many officers have used the special hashtag when they post photos of their keepsakes on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram.
The young girl’s simple way of saying thanks resonated with other members of the community. The Home Depot in St. Cloud donated three bags – or over 300 stones – to facilitate Ramirez’s project.
As for the law enforcement officers themselves, the stones serve as tactile reminders of support from a caring young citizens.
“The Kissimmee Police Department was deeply honored that Bella took the time to make and distribute the rocks,” said Deputy Chief John Lewis. “It was especially wonderful seeing her personally hand select a rock for each officer.”