As an essential healthcare worker, she wanted to spread a little joy during the rough times of the pandemic. She did so using chalk and creativity!
If you are ever walking down South Street Bridge, keep an eye open for these colorful quotes made with chalk that will guarantee to crack a smile on your face.
Katie Woo Castelo is a pediatric nurse and is the artist behind @chalkinyourwalkin Instagram page, where she posts pictures of the sweet messages she writes in chalk on the South Street Bridge. Her journey started during the lockdown in 2020. Being a pediatric nurse and her husband also working as a healthcare worker, with two kids at home, she worked evenings and spent the day with her children.
As we have all experienced, being home all day was difficult, especially with young kids, so Katie and her children would get exercise by biking and scootering through South Street Bridge when her children were on recess from online school. Katie would think of the essential workers who would cross the bridge every day, which included herself, and how they would experience, as she calls it “that nervous energy of not knowing what to expect, and we were all very scared, we were all very anxious, we were hoping each day that we had enough PPE, and I wanted to do something to uplift them and thank them, to encourage them as they walked through the bridge.” Indeed, armed with a box of chalk, with her children by her side, Katie’s creative journey of writing these positive quotes on the South Street Bridge began.
Katie’s Instagram posts include her children who were a big inspiration behind this project. It was important to her that her kids be a part of the process; “my daughter especially has been very impacted because strangers would come up to us and say thank you, and it has been so meaningful.” Being a good mother, Katie often used this project as a learning opportunity and a chance to talk to her kids about current events. When Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away, she stretched out one of her quotes on the street, and explained: “it’s good for me to talk to my daughter especially about the impact that [Ruth Bader Ginsburg] has on the world and feminism and our country.”
As a pediatric nurse, Katie wants to encourage young children to be leaders in making the world a better place. To encourage this, she is going to take her project in a new direction to target younger folks and write about climate change, COVID-19, gun violence, and other important topics “that speaks to how important it is for our kids to make this city, this country, this world a better place for their kids” as she passionately said.
Finding a source of peace and a way to relieve her anxiety from being a nurse during a global pandemic, has also been a major benefit of this project; “it’s been a really really fun project and a way for me to show my kids how to make strangers’ days.” She said, “especially now as we see cases rise again, and I’m starting to feel that anxiety again, it’s been a really nice outlet for me too.”
She only started posting her work a year after she started this project and her Instagram account is growing, be sure to give her a follow and support her honorable endeavor!
[Featured image: @chalkinyourwalkin / Instargam]