coronavirus pandemic

Chalking Up Something Positive, Despite the Pandemic

Allied Gardens woman's daily routine is uplifting for her neighbors

NBC Universal, Inc.

She’s walked out in front of her Allied Garden home with a piece of chalk every day since April. Some would think it’s a hard pace to keep up during a pandemic.

“Actually, not as difficult as I thought they’d be,” said Dana Peterson, while standing next to a children’s chalkboard in her driveway.

Peterson takes the chalk and writes a short message: “Spread joy today.”

It’s the latest message she displays for neighbors, pedestrians, and drivers. Others have included “Great day to build a fort,” “Turn up the volume and dance,” and “Did you call your mom?”

“I had this chalkboard that was taking up space that we weren’t using,” Peterson explained. “I thought that I was going to get rid of it and I thought, ‘Maybe I’ll just set it out front and start writing some notes on it.’ So, every day I write a new message.”

The neighbors noticed.

“I think it’s challenging to be positive,” said Ann Marie Kissel. “I mean, in the middle of all the chaos, it’s nice to walk by a house that has a positive message.”

“I wanted to bring happiness. I wanted to cheer people up,” continued Peterson.

It worked.

“I think it was kind of cool because she was trying to make people feel happy about it,” said her 8-year-old daughter Desiree. “She keeps putting things that make people feel happy.”

“You can’t remove the negativity, but you can enhance the positive,” Peterson concluded. “I’m just going to keep it going until maybe my board falls apart.”

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