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Rock painting project honors 4-year-old flood victim

Smile for Maci rock painting project
Posted at 9:54 PM, Jul 27, 2021

An Arizona community is using art to honor the memory of a little girl swept away by floodwaters last week.

Four-year-old Maci was swept away by a flash flood in the town of Pima. Her body was found a few days later.

The community helped with the rescue efforts and now, they are helping to keep Maci's memory alive.

Vanessa Romero created a rock painting project in her honor, calling it "Smile for Maci."

The rocks will be spread throughout the state. The hope is that people will find them and smile for Maci, a little girl who always had a smile on her face.

"I think the best way to honor someone who has passed is to continue to talk about them and to continue to let them live through your memories," says Samantha Armitage, who participated in the "Smile for Maci" project.

"The second we heard that there was a four-year-old that was missing from the flood, it was just so heavy on my heart," said Romero.

Romero created a Facebook group with hundreds of members already. She is asking that people use the name as a hashtag on the rocks, along with painting them pink or purple with designs.

"The second you find those rocks, you just pray for the family, and then, just think of that beautiful little girl and just smile for her. Every single picture that I have seen of that little girl, she is just smiling from ear to ear. So, that's why we came up with the name "Smile for Maci," says Romero.

Many people are already participating, touching hearts across the country and across Arizona. People have been gathering to paint, even those where the tragedy hits a little harder.

"Maci's aunt is married to my cousin," says Armitage. Armitage invited people to paint with them in Mesa. She is also sharing Maci's story with other children, explaining to them how dangerous flash flooding can be.

"She comes from a very loving family, and I just think that this would be a way to honor her memory for them. Such a tragedy, such a short life but she brought so much joy, that hopefully, that joy will continue to spread as people find these rocks," says Armitage.

If you would like to participate, you can join the Facebook group "Smile for Maci."