One kind act leads to another. And another. Eventually, you have a whole chain of Good Turns — steppingstones toward a better world.

For Sophia Pierce, a 17-year-old Life Scout from Troop 114G of Littleton, Colo. (Denver Area Council), this string of kind acts started at the Children’s Hospital Colorado. 

Sophia remembers going to appointments at the hospital near Denver when she was very young. Doctors there treated her high myopia, or nearsightedness. 

Sophia never forgot how nice everyone was, and when she became a Life Scout and began searching for the perfect beneficiary for her Eagle Scout service project, the choice was crystal clear.

“I wanted to do my Eagle project at the Children’s Hospital because the staff and the doctors there always make the patients feel very special,” she says. “I wanted to do something special back for them.”

For her project, Sophia led an effort to design and install a path of 30 resiliency stones at the hospital. Each is colorfully designed and features whimsical animal images below uplifting messages like, “Find Your Fire,” “Here, You Matter” and “Ama,” a Spanish word for “love.”

“I hope people who see my project get inspired and feel more hopeful and happy when they walk along the path and see the stones,” Sophia says. “The reaction has been really positive so far. One person said it made them cry happy tears.”

How did Sophia do it? She took Bryan on Scouting behind the scenes to tell us more.

Sophia paints one of her stones. “Eres Fuerte” is Spanish for “you are strong.” (Courtesy of Lowel Pierce)

Wanting to help

Sophia knew she wanted to do her project at the hospital. She also realized that many young people were dealing with mental health issues during the pandemic. 

Channeling her artistic abilities, Sophia came up with the idea to design and paint stones with animals and inspiring words on them. 

“At first I thought it was way too ambitious to commit to 30 stones with messages and paintings during her summer vacation, because she had other activities planned,” says Lowel Pierce, Sophia’s dad. “I asked her what she thought about changing the number of stones to 15 or 20. She said, ‘No, it needs to be 30.’ She was right, because with the length of the pathway at the hospital, it worked out to one stone every 3 feet — a perfect distance.”

Sophia recruited troopmates and friends to help her design the stones. The mom of one of her Scout friends suggested that the messages would last longer outside in the elements if Sophia could get them engraved or sandblasted instead of just painting them onto the stones.

So Sophia contacted Galen Barr, who owns a landscape supply company called Foothills Stone. 

“After I showed him a slide presentation about my project, he offered to donate the flagstones and the sandblasting labor,” Sophia says. “That was an amazingly generous offer that made the whole thing possible.”

Lowel says he was proud to watch as Sophia contacted the owner of a local business and made a professional presentation. He says Sophia’s nearly three years in Scouting gave her the confidence she needed in that moment.

“She’s always been more of an introvert, but now she’s a self-described ‘omnivert,’” he says. “I’ve seen her step up and take on the duties of being [senior patrol leader], learning to lead on some things and delegate on others. She’s very poised now talking in front of people.”

Sophia and her volunteers work on the project. (Courtesy of Lowel Pierce)

Creating art

With the supplier on board, Sophia started work on the design. She used an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil and an app called Procreate to design the messages and artwork for each stone. 

She invited Scouts from her troop and other friends to submit design and message ideas and incorporated some of those into her plans. 

“The others I designed on my own because I love to draw,” Sophia says. 

She converted those designs into useable image files for Barr, the generous owner of Foothills Stone, who used them to make stencils for the sandblasting.

Finding a talented expert and trusting them to do some parts of a big project was a lesson in itself. You can’t try to do it all.

“I learned how important it is to delegate different jobs and to inspire people to want to participate in my project,” Sophia says. “It pushed me outside of my comfort zone, for sure.”

The finished project, which Children’s Hospital Colorado shared on its Facebook page, is now in place and ready to bring hope to those who need some healing.

“This was the biggest project I’ve ever done,” Sophia says. “It feels good to accomplish something.”

Courtesy of Lowel Pierce
Courtesy of Lowel Pierce

Thanks to Scouting volunteer Anselm Beatson for the blog post tip.

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