STERLING — A local couple has turned to something as simple as rocks as a way to spread kindness across the region.

Jennifer Lanciani, who grew up in Sterling, along with her boyfriend Daniel Moniz, started the Facebook group Central MA Rocks in July with the intent to spread some cheer and positive energy through painted rocks.

Kindness rocks have become quite popular over the last several years. People paint things on the rocks such as kind words, colorful pictures, and encouraging, positive messages, and then hide them for other people to find.

Both Lanciani and Moniz are creative by nature. Moniz began painting rocks to pass the time while Lanciani made jewelry.

“When he had quite a collection going, he reached out online to see if there was a group that would like to do a scavenger hunt type of thing with them,” Lanciani said.

The couple, who live in Clinon, was introduced to the Clinton, MA ROCKS Facebook group in May.

“We hid a couple hundred rocks around Clinton, but I wanted to expand our area,” Lanciani said.

Lanciani looked around on Facebook but could not find an active group dedicated to kindness rocks in Sterling, or in the Wachusett area. She talked to her sister, Sterling resident Rebecca Lanciani, and decided to start Central MA Rocks. The group has 44 members and is growing.

Group members paint and hide kindness rocks around the area, getting their inspiration online and from special requests. One member is currently working on painting and distributing a line of video game-themed rocks.

“You see a rock and it tells you what it should be,” Lanciani said. “I found a rock that was a box shape and knew it should be a Rubik’s Cube.”

Lanciani said she and Moniz don’t always have time to hide all the rocks they paint, so they often pass some along to family and friends to help. They have hidden rocks at a local park and then, while sitting and enjoying the weather, watched people discover them.

“The excitement on the finder’s face is why we keep doing it,” Lanciani said. “The pure joy.”

Anyone is welcome to join the group.

“If you find a rock, you decide what to do — keep it, leave it, move it,” Lanciani said. “All we ask is that if you do find one, please take a minute to take a picture and post it. We love seeing that they've been found and hearing if they have moved or even found a new home. The goal is to put a smile on someone’s face and maybe brighten their day. We have found that the painting, hiding, and hearing they have been found brighten our day every bit as much as finding one.”

For more information, follow Central MA Rocks on Facebook. And keep an eye out for a rock that might just be meant for you.