This group of Colonial Heights women has made 13,000 signs to spread kindness

Posted at 10:20 PM, Nov 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-18 16:25:46-05

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. -- In a small garage in a quiet Colonial Heights neighborhood, you'll find a group of ladies at work every Friday.

Their mission to paint "Be Kind" signs didn't originate in this garage. The project actually started in Richmond. However, for Crystal Phelps, the project started in Ashland with a friend needing some help painting signs.

"Back in February of 2020, I went to her house twice and she said, you can do this down here," Phelps said.

Thus began another unofficial chapter of "Be Kind" sign painters with Crystal as their unofficial leader.

"Never ever thought it would be to this point," Barbara Vaughan, another sign painter, said.

Crystal said that so far, almost 13,000 signs have been made in the Colonial Heights garage. All 13,000 of those signs have been given away for free.

This group of Colonial Heights women has made 13,000 signs to spread kindness

"I give them to workers in parking lots, they could be plumbers, electricians, people traveling from different states. I love to stop and say, hey, I've got a "Be Kind" sign for you. They're shocked that, a lot of people are very shocked that they are free," Vaughan said.

"It's just kind of amazing what it does to people, these signs, how they change people when you give it to them," Christine Clarke, another sign painter, said.

If you take a look around, you'll see the signs everywhere.

"It's humbling, I guess, is the biggest thing. It's just humbling to see God's work and move and just see the different people where these signs pop up," Phelps said.

The painters said that seeing a sign they have painted when they out bring them a special kind of joy.

"It just brings a smile to your face. It's not about us, I know that God has helped us to do everything we've done," Vaughan said.

This group of Colonial Heights women has made 13,000 signs to spread kindness

While the "Be Kind" signs started during the early days of the pandemic, these ladies think the message today may be more important than ever.

"Kindness is something that anybody, it doesn't matter who you are, you can share. A smile, hold the door, a thank you, a compliment. I mean, it can be free," Phelps said.

For Greg Hospodor, his family's sign is displayed in a front window.

"Sometimes, we can take a minute just to remember there's a place for kindness too. I think today, be kind is a message we can all take to heart," Hospodor said.

"I think other people really get the message and understand that it's not just about a sign, it's about the message of what this sign means," Phelps said.

On the back of the sign is a note detailing how the signs came about along with a Bible verse.

"We put the Proverbs 16:24 on the back of ours," Phelps said.

This group of Colonial Heights women has made 13,000 signs to spread kindness

"The reason we don't spell Proverbs out on the back of that or even write the verse out is because we want somebody to look it up," Vaughan said.

The group said after giving away 13,000 signs, very few people have turned them down.

To undertake their task is to rely on donations.

"We don't waste anything here," Phelps said. "It's kind of crazy the support I've been given by the community. I get emails almost every week and it's just amazing to be a part of something bigger than me."

What started out to just be kind signs has grown into a mission of love. There's a dedication to knowing that if they paint them, they will bring a smile to someone's face and just maybe put a little more kindness into this world.

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