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Rainbows, chalk messages brighten the day around Western New York

Rainbows are springing up in Amherst and Hamburg. Families throughout Western New York are creating chalk drawings and messages on sidewalks and driveways. Teddy bears might soon pop up in windows in the Town of Tonawanda.

Call them upbeat ideas in troubling times.

A large rainbow hangs in the bay window at the Snyder home of Jon and Amy Mahoney and their three young children. The rainbow went up Monday.

“We made it out of paper, paint and tape,” said Declan, 7, who created the rainbow along with his sister, Adeline, 5, and brother, Nolan, 3.

Their mom, Amy, a former teacher, said she first saw the idea on social media and news outlets.

“They were showing some of the kids in Italy and Spain hanging rainbows in their windows. We thought it would be nice for us to do that in our neighborhood so that maybe we could start the trend here, too,” she said.

It’s likely catching on.

“One of our friends in the neighborhood walked by yesterday and took a picture and sent it to my moms’ group; we have a text group. She sent it to all of them, and it brightened everybody’s day,” she said.

“It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, but if we can make someone smile, that’s what we’re here for,” she added.

Among the other creative efforts:

• The Elmwood Village Association encouraged residents to spread some cheer by joining in on an art project in their own homes.

“Gather up some art materials, follow along with our weekly prompts, create something beautiful and share it with your neighbors by hanging it on your porch or front windows! Then take a walk to see what your other neighbors have created,” the EVA posted on Facebook.

Themes are by date: rainbows (through Saturday); hearts (March 29 to April 4); stars (April 5 to 11). Balloons, pets and flowers are to follow in future weeks.

"People are putting them in the windows. That way when people are walking by, it can cheer them up,"  said Therese Deutschlander, EVA's board president.

• On Facebook, Thomas A. Edison Elementary School PTA in the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda district shared the idea of starting a "bear hunt," inspired by the classic children's book "We're Going on a Bear Hunt," by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury.

Interested residents can put teddy bears in their windows so that families going on walks can challenge kids to spot them.

•  Similarly, in the Village of Williamsville, there's an ongoing rainbow window hunt, and people are talking about it on Nextdoor, the neighborhood social networking group.

•  Chalk art has been drawing attention on social media in recent days. A resident posted that in one Amherst neighborhood, a young girl wrote “Have an amazing day!” on the pavement near neighbors' front doors.

Elsewhere, popular themes on chalk drawings include suns, flowers and rainbows and positive messages such as "Happiness ahead."

But don't be surprised if you spot a shark or two.

. . .

Have examples to share about how daily life is changing for Western New Yorkers? Reach out to Susan Martin at

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