Buddy Mentors and Eagle River Youth Coalition sprinkle happiness around Eagle | VailDaily.com

Buddy Mentors and Eagle River Youth Coalition sprinkle happiness around Eagle

Jesus Palacio shows off his "Free Hugs" sign in one hand and a bunch of bright yellow balloons in the other as his participates in a Happiness Sprinkling in Eagle Monday.
Pam Boyd/pboyd@vaildaily.com |

EAGLE — People in Eagle are accustomed to the sight of sign-wavers populating the U.S. Highway 6 roundabout on Eby Creek Road.

But Monday, Jan. 29, the messages on those waving signs did come as a surprise. “You Rock,” “It’s going to be okay” and “You ARE a good parent” were some of the messages shared by a group of people clad in bright yellow T-shirts emblazoned with smiley faces.

The wavers were representatives of the Buddy Mentors Program and Eagle River Youth Coalition, and their only goal in sharing those affirming statements was to make people happy. Monday the groups gathered in Eagle to celebrate the county’s first-ever Happiness Sprinkling.

Happiness Sprinklings are grassroots events, launched by Laura Lavigne in Anacortes, Washington, that have been held across the country and around the world. The signs in Eagle were road maps of the movement. Signatures from people who had sprinkled happiness in far-flung locales decorated the backs of the signs.

“The purpose is simple: to make people happy,” said Janet Casson, Buddy Mentors Program manager. “We are not soliciting anything. We are not promoting or protesting anything. We are simply sharing good vibes and positive messages with our community.”

The group began sprinkling happiness outside Yeti’s Grind around 3 p.m. Monday, moving down Broadway and out to the roundabouts before circling back around town.

Youngster Jesus Palacio grabbed the “Free Hugs” sign, a popular choice with other happiness sprinklers, judging by all of the signatures on its back. Mentor Steve Bullis joked he was glad someone else took that sign.

“It seems like a lot of responsibility,” Bullis said.

Palacio was up for the challenge. He had only had the sign in hand for a few moments when a pair of local women came out from Yeti’s and took him up on the offer.

Judging by their smiles, Palacio’s hug made them happy.

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