Armed with a Sharpie and rocks, this guy is lifting people's spirits every day.
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The best parts of the world are those that are full of random acts of kindness.

In the wake of Ferguson and Black Lives Matter, the St. Louis area has a reputation for being a segregated hot bed of neighbor-against-neighbor rage. That's what we've seen on the news.

But what if you were there?


You'd get to see how people actually live every day. You'd see neighbors of all kinds talking together, playing together, and helping each other out.

That's exactly what artist Bryan Payne is doing — and he's showing us we're all connected.

He's a local artist who's hiding treasures. What? Yes. Image by Jarred Gastreich.

Bryan is the guy behind a unique treasure-hunting project: Doodlestones.


Round 3 of doodlestones starts today!
A photo posted by @doodlestones on


"This constant impulse to want to connect. I feel like everyone's got this," Bryan says.

So what, exactly, are Doodlestones?

Bryan is an artist and amateur urban archaeologist and treasure hunter, and he's putting his passions to use by creating small stones decorated with friendly faces. He hides them in places where people cross paths as a way to help make his town a friendlier, kinder place. By geotagging and using location clues in the images he posts on Facebook and Instagram, he leaves behind a trail of tiny, happy artworks.


The 75 year old Kingshighway bridge is being torn down and with it goes the infamous diy skate park that is underneath it. Bug Chaser played a show here yesterday to send it off and tons of people were getting their last skate session in. I did a little memorial with the objects found on site, by next week it will all be gone.
A photo posted by @bryancharlespayne on


"I wanna find a way to connect all people. Not just an art crowd or a certain scene. It crosses all boundaries." Bryan says.


#doodlestone @pdianegs #cherokeestreet thank you @bryancharlespayne @flowersandweeds
A photo posted by Jennifer McComb (@mccombhoney) on
A photo posted by @doodlestones on


Each stone comes from a river in his home state of Missouri. On each stone, he writes "#doodlestone," the date, and "finders keepers."

Thumbs up. Image by Jarred Gastreich.


Breakfast time?
A photo posted by @doodlestones on


A quick glance at its Facebook page shows just how many folks agree and are joining in.

"People following the clues are starting to find them," Bryan says. "They're all geotagged. You can click on the map and see them on the map, whatever the satellite proximity is."

Images via Doodlestones' Facebook and Instagram.

Bryan wants everyone to be on a hunt for treasure, whether that be for Doodlestones themselves ...


Got three doodle stone fans at the farmer's market, so I gave them each treasures to take home. They told me they paint on stones with their grandma.
A photo posted by @doodlestones on

...or a new small business they find while hunting for Doodlestone treasure...


Found my first #doodlestone! I'm leaving it behind because it fits so perfect. Hint: Egghead can be found at the best place to get grilled cheeses on a Saturday morning.
A photo posted by It is Alright, Ma. (@itisalrightma) on

...or a kind moment with a neighbor they might not have known.


Portrait of an artist being super friendly. Image by Jarred Gastreich.

That very thing has already started happening around the St. Louis area. One of the Doodlestone treasure hunters found him on Facebook, and they met up.

"The family in the photograph contacted me after finding the two Doodlestone ghosts in their planter. ... I ended up giving them each a Doodlestone of their choice from my newest batch as a thank you for their willingness to engage in the project in a new way," Bryan said. "What I got to experience with them is a huge part of what it's about for me: hearing stories, looking at treasures, and finding a new way to connect with the community."

Bryan hiding stones. Image by Jarred Gastreich.

One small idea is turning into a discovery ground for an entire town.

Bryan notes, "This is the first way that I've been able to use my resources to create some sort of community, building to bring people from across barriers together."

Images via Doodlestones' Instagram.

Helping humans connect with their surroundings and tap into their community. It's an innately positive pursuit. How does it not help to direct somebody to a new coffee shop or a new park?

"I think both things help in different ways, it's all connected," he says. "Taking people outside their comfort zone and leading them somewhere else that's safe … or fun or adventurous."



"I'm an artist, and this is my take on how to build community. I realize now that's my job, to build community."

And from the looks of it, this artist's hope to be a small part of creating more joy and connection and kindness is already working.

I can't wait to see it grow.


Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

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In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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Even as millions of Americans celebrated the inauguration of President Joe Biden this week, the nation also mourned the fact that, for the first time in modern history, the United States did not have a peaceful transition of power.

With the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, when pro-Trump insurrectionists attempted to stop the constitutional process of counting electoral votes and where terrorists threatened to kill lawmakers and the vice president for not keeping Trump in power, our long and proud tradition was broken. And although presidential power was ultimately transferred without incident on January 20, the presence of 20,000 National Guard troops around the Capitol reminded us of the threat that still lingers.

First Lady Jill Biden showed up today with cookies in hand for a group of National Guard troops at the Capitol to thank them for keeping her family safe. The homemade chocolate chip cookies were a small token of appreciation, but one that came from the heart of a mother whose son had served as well.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.