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Hope Rocks: How one student is spreading positivity in her rural community

Josie Morgan is used to being busy with school. As a freshman at McDowell High, her time is usually filled with keeping up with all of her classes. On March 16, her daily schedule, along with those of thousands of students across the state, suddenly changed.

With more time on her hands, Josie wanted to put her time to good use. She started the Hope Rocks Facebook page, a creative project to spread positivity in her community by inspiring others to paint rocks and place them out for others to see.

Josie Morgan painting her “Hope Rocks.” Courtesy of Myra Morgan

“They didn’t have school anymore,” said Myra Morgan, her mom. “It was that very first week that we were home. She [Josie] was like, ‘I gotta do something.'”

It all started on a family walk where the family found stones that are actually river rock. Josie started cleaning them, laid them on the porch to dry, and painted them with positive messages — the word hope, smiley faces, “we are the world,” and more. 

One of Josie Morgan’s “Hope Rocks.” Courtesy of Hope Rocks Facebook page

“We have been putting them in our neighborhood right now as a start,” Myra shared. “We gave our most special one that we loved to our neighbor. His wife is dying with cancer. She’s not doing well, and he’s taking care of her. He can’t go anywhere. We’re buying groceries, trying to keep them going.”

“We put it next to one of their plants. We didn’t want to put it too close to the house because every time they come out, they wear masks.”

One of Josie Morgan’s “Hope Rocks.” Courtesy of Hope Rocks Facebook page

The rocks have allowed Josie and her family to feel more connected to their community.

“It’s allowed us to kind of get out and touch base with our neighborhood and see the needs that are going on and and and having us come and be those puzzle pieces that feel fill those gaps,” she said.

Josie is using Facebook to share her message and inspire others to paint their own rocks and share photos. Follow along and add your own to the page here

Alli Lindenberg

Alli Lindenberg is an executive fellow for EducationNC.