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Mother and daughter hope to make kindness contagious

By Staff | May 10, 2020

Kristi Aukes, 34, who usually works at STEP in Blue?Earth, has had her work put on hiatus during the COVID-19 Stay at Home order. She and her mom, Sheryl, decided to create little treasures to place all around Blue Earth so people could find them, and continue to spread kindness. So far, the kindness has spread to Elmore, Delavan, Frost, and other cities in Faribault County.

If you cannot find good news in the midst of a pandemic, you make your own.

One local woman and her daughter recently created a way to improve the moods of wandering citizens of Blue Earth who may have ventured out to Steinberg Park, Unity Trail, the Faribault County Fairgrounds and elsewhere, while still maintaining social-distancing measures.

At the end of April, Sheryl Aukes and her 34-year-old daughter, Kristi, set out on a little adventure to brighten the spirits of Blue Earth’s residents by sharing hidden treasures with others.

“Kristi and I put little trinkets in a ziplock bag with our card in it,” shares Aukes. “Then we hid them around the area. What you do is find the bag, take the trinket inside, and replace it with something else and rehide it someplace.”

Aukes and her daughter started a family-friendly Facebook group called #YouRLoved Faribault County Trinket Treasure?Find.

This small act of kindness has grown over the last few weeks. As the Facebook group grows, and more treasures are found (and hidden) around town, it seems more smiles and positive thinking abounds.

“This is a great way for families or others to not only keep physically active by walking and exploring around the area, but to keep emotionally active as well,” says Aukes.

The benefits of physical activity are clear, but it is the emotional “fitness” that Aukes says is just as important.

“It’s just a way for people to get their mind off of the coronavirus,” says Aukes. “The reason I started this is because everything is so depressing and negative with there being no school or no work for some people and we just wanted people to think happy and helpful again.

Aukes shares that her daughter Kristi was not liking being unable to go to work at STEP and seeing her friends there, so she has been very excited with this little side project that not only benefits Kristi, but benefits the finder of the treasure.

“Kristi helps fill the bags and helps hide them. Now she looks forward to going for walks to look for trinkets and treasures,” says Aukes.

And now, these random acts of kindness are beginning to spread.

“People in other towns in the county have asked if they can do this in their towns, too. Of course I said yes,” says Aukes. “Now the whole county can get some exercise while going on a treasure hunt. The real treasure, though, is paying kindness forward to the next person. I am really pleased to see the response from people and the smiles these little treasures bring.”