What could little painted rocks possibly have to do with the health of a community? Can little things make a big difference? We at SOAR believe small, positive steps (and even rocks) can help to improve the health of individuals and ultimately a community as a whole.
SOAR (Strengthening Our Area Residents) is a community health initiative for the residents of Galen, Savannah and Clyde. As an asset-based, resident-driven grant, we seek to encourage residents to build on the strengths and assets already found in the community.
The pandemic we are facing has people concerned, fearful and nervous about the future, but Steve Moore, a Savannah artist and member of Clyde SPAN, approached SOAR with an eye-catching idea: What if we placed painted “eye rocks” at random locations on local trails and outdoor community spaces? What if the people who found the rocks were then directed to a local business to claim a prize?
His vision for the idea is to give people something positive and fun to focus on. He also hopes to encourage physical activity while enjoying the natural resources in our area, to show the beauty and positivity in works of art, and to support our local businesses.
SOAR assisted in reaching out to area businesses and eight answered with a resounding yes for participation and, to date, 30 rocks have been painted (and generously donated by Mr. Moore), placed at outdoor locations and about half have been found. Some people just stumble upon the rocks while others have been looking for clues posted on the Eye on Art and Music Facebook page. The result? Photos of smiling people, the sharing of positive comments and the promotion of local businesses. Win, win and win!
According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation regarding the social determinants of health, “Good health begins in the places where we live, learn, work and play.” A simple idea like finding a rock with an eye on it can indeed contribute to good health: the physical, mental and economic health of our community. One little idea can help folks to look on the bright side — and that is a good focus to have.
SOAR, a neighborhood health status improvement initiative, is funded by the Greater Rochester Health Foundation and administered by CCE Wayne. In the Savannah-Galen Community, SOAR collaborates with residents, organizations, businesses, institutions and municipalities to make a healthier place to live, work and play.
If you are interested in learning more about SOAR, please contact us at (315) 573-0903 or ab2832@cornell.edu. Our office is located at 66 Glasgow St. in Clyde. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram, @SOARClydeSavannahGalen.
Amy Bullard is the outreach coordinator for SOAR.