CHULA VISTA, Calif. (KGTV) -- A Chula Vista mother is encouraging people to paint rocks in support of missing woman May "Maya" Millete.
Maribel Hernandez says chalk art and rock art give her and her children a much-needed break from all the screens.
"[It's] just to get them out of the house, and get them in the yard, and not on the video games so much," Hernandez said. "So it's a little activity we do."
Hernandez started the hobby a few years ago when she saw a little painted rock outside a Chula Vista grocery store. It made her smile.
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"You can either keep the rock, or you can decide to hide it again, and they encourage you to do more drawings," Hernandez said.
Over the holidays, Hernandez and her family painted about a dozen Christmas-themed rocks. A few weeks later, she learned about fellow Chula Vistan, May "Maya" Millete's disappearance. She had been missing since Jan. 7, 2021. The story inspired Hernandez to pick up a paintbrush.
"I just did a rainbow because for me that's a symbol of hope, so I put her name on it," Hernandez said.
Hernandez does not know Millete personally. But she says they share a lot of things in common.
"I just feel a connection to her because I'm a mother, we're the same age, and I just feel like what happened to her could've been me, could've been any other person," Hernandez said.
So she went onto her Facebook group, "Chula Vista South Bay Rocks," and invited others to join her in painting rocks for Maya, and leaving them along hike paths and parks.
"I feel like if her children see these rocks in the neighborhood, maybe it'll bring some hope, and also for all the people that are out there helping to look for Maya, maybe a little form of encouragement," Hernandez said.
She says the goal is for people to not only notice the rocks but to always keep Maya Millete on our minds.
"I don't consider myself an artist, so I think anybody can do it," Hernandez said. "When I find a rock, it kind of brings joy and smiles to people's faces, so I'm hoping this will do the same."