Maplewood: How Grateful Are You? Say it in Writing

Two local residents launch 40-day Gratitude Graffiti Project to encourage residents to express their thanks


Do you believe that gratitude can be contagious?

Two Maplewood residents, Lucila McElroy and Candice Davenport, are convinced that it can be. They are launching the first Gratitude Graffiti Project, an interactive, public effort to encourage residents to express their gratitude each and every day.

The goal of the project is to give people an easy way to stop for a moment to count their blessings, by putting it into words (or pictures).

For forty days, beginning on Saturday to coincide with the Maplewood Wellness Fair and culminating on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 22), participating businesses will post a Gratitude Stop Sign ("Today I am grateful for...") in their windows. Patrons can write or draw their message in window chalk on the storefront window or door. 

Both branches of the the Maplewood Public Library are adding a different spin with a special "Date Due for Gratitude," where visitors can write or draw their messages of gratefulness on a card and post it on a Gratitude Wall. At the project's end, the cards will "circulate" inside books throughout the library -- perhaps inspiring others to add their own messages of thankfulness.

For more information, visit the project's website

"The Gratitude Graffiti Project is a forty day practice of purposeful appreciation of one’s life through interactive art," said McElroy. "Our vision is that we, as a community, help each other in elevating our happiness and fulfillment levels.  Expressing gratitude is a simple and easy practice, and one that can positively influence each individual and our community as a whole."

"Maplewood Library is looking forward to participating in The Gratitude Graffiti Project," said Joanne Breckerich, programming and publicity director. "These expressions of gratitude will be posted in the library, serving to inspire others to share their gratefulness and to enjoy the peace of mind true gratitude can bring." 

Local "Gratitude Stops" can be found at:

  • Maplewood Karate
  • Lotus Petals Flower Design
  • Core Mind and Body
  • Fringe Hair Design
  • Way of Life Karate
  • Cupcake Corral
  • Maplewood Village Coffee
  • Words (via Facebook)
  • Eastside Fitness
  • Express Yourself Studios  
  • Kokoro
  • Pro Elite Nutrition
  • KnitKnack

"The Gratitude Graffiti Project is a community-minded way of enhancing one another’s wellness as individuals share their positive messages with neighbors,” said Deputy Mayor Kathleen M. Leventhal. The project will be represented at Saturday's Wellness Fair on October 13th in Memorial Park.

McElroy is a wellness coach and founder of the Perfect Mom Reform School. Davenport is public health nurse and health educator for the Maplewood Health Department and a public health program coordinator for Rutgers University.

Lucila McElroy October 11, 2012 at 01:04 PM
Thanks so much for your support! Make sure to also stop by Kokoro. They will have a special "Japanese" version of expressing gratitude inside the store (inspired by the Japanese Tanabata Festival) starting this Saturday.
Rita Desnoyers-Garcia October 11, 2012 at 01:15 PM
Love it! I'm grateful for Lucila McElroy and Candace Davenport for co-creating this project. Well done, ladies..
Carolyn Maynard-Parisi October 11, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Just added Kokoro to the list - thanks!
Express Yourself Studios October 13, 2012 at 01:39 AM
Love, love, love this idea!!!
Lucila McElroy October 14, 2012 at 02:33 AM
We are so happy that you are part of it!


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