Thursday, September 20, 2012

A beautiful note from Jason's Dad and Mom Patsy:

"Being Jason's parents, he always influenced our lives from the time he was a small boy with his acts of kindness toward other children and grown ups. Jason loved people and it did not matter who you were, he would reach out and give a helping hand and never ask for anything in return. Whenever he went somewhere, if he bought something, he bought extra to give to someone else who was less fortunate than he was. 

Our love for our son Jason will live on forever, his memory will never fade from our heart, mind and soul. Acts of kindness will be put in a brick bought in honor his name, and will be put in Serenity Gardens alongside his mother Arlene and my beloved late husband Dave."

Our son Jason
We love you
Dad and Mom Patsy Zimmerman

Stories of Love

I'm sorry this has taken longer than expected. Some last minute travel precluded me from being as timely as I would have liked. But I wanted to share some of the amazing stories that have poured in from Jason's birthday celebration weekend, which was a huge success. There are many, many people that were touched by these random acts of kindness and we can only imagine how far they spread. One good deed begets another and I hope we can remember to pay it forward every day. 

(Photo from Jason's friend Janelle)

"I have a dear friend in assisted living whom we send cards with a little money for her to buy whatever things she may need. We also send packages with giant puzzle books, crossword puzzle books and other fun items."

"I went the other day to visit an elderly friend who lives in a care center about an hour from my home. This in and of itself is not a huge endeavor, and is one I need to do more often. However, on this day I decided to take a rose to my friend, just because I could and because I hoped it would brighten her day. It did. She was grateful to have that spot of brightness in her room. I thought afterwards on m way home that perhaps this is something Jason might have done - and did do on more than one occasion for some of his friends. While I was visiting my friend reminded me that I had written her a poem when she moved into the center that she treasured. I had almost forgotten that fact. It was a powerful reminder to me that things we may think of as small and simple can have a profound effect we may not even realize on those we reach out to.

"A little while back I had a friend post on Facebook that someone she knew was looking for a wedding photographer for the weekend of Jason's birthday. The couple was on a tight budget and was having trouble finding a photographer who would work with them.  As I read the post and thought about offering my services I was hesitant.  Weddings make me nervous and while I love photography and feel that I have a talent for it, weddings are a basically a one shot deal.  I was just going to "wait and see" if another person might offer their services when I thought of Jason.  How he often would do photo shoots for others.  How much he loved photography and how good he was at it. I'm blessed to have one of his prints hanging on the wall of my front room.  So I quashed down my fears and insecurities and posted on Facebook that I would be willing to help out.

When the bride called me I could tell she was hesitant to tell me her budget.  I told her that it didn't matter what her budget was I would work with whatever she needed.  Yesterday arrived and usually I am a bundle of nerves when it comes to weddings.  This time I wasn't  I was calm and confident.  I really felt that Jason was there helping me out.  It was a beautiful wedding up Provo canyon. The leaves were changing and the weather was perfect.  I think Jason would have loved that setting.
When it came time for me to leave, the bride told me that she had left my payment at the cabin and that she would give the money to her mother to give to me later on.  I told her that would be fine. As I was saying goodbye to her mom I told her that I didn't wish to be paid for doing the photography at all.  I explained about my friend, Jason, and how today was his birthday and I was doing this in honor of him.  I told her not to tell the bride and groom but that when they gave her the money to put it in a card and tell them that the money was from someone who wished them all the happiness in the world.
As I drove back down Provo canyon the windows were down and the radio that was playing Good Time by Owl City and Carly Rae Jeppeson,  I felt like Jason was sitting in the passenger side smiling and singing along."

One of Jason's friends sent in a message noting they had done something every single day in memory of Jason ranging from Utah all the way to Texas. 

Multiple people wrote in saying they hadn't even known Jason, but contributed to his ice cream fund after reading about him in the blog world and being influenced by his words. 

"Miss A loves going out to eat, and when we go to our home state, we always go by and pick up Miss A and take her out to dinner, where she would always have a catfish dinner."

"I have a sister in assisted living. I just mailed her a box of goodies from puzzles to clothes to shooes and goodies, movies, extra. She just loves the boxes of goodies I send to her, she doesn't get much company so she loves my boxes."

Another friend had already gone about giving away an ice cream or two after following Jason's example. 

One of Jason's friends got up and delivered goodies to a deserving neighbor, even though she herself was ill. 

Yet another friend's child loved Jason, and when he went to the ice cream shop, bought a $5 gift card and told the cashier to give it away to someone who needed it. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thank you everyone!

Thanks to everyone who participated in Project Z this past weekend. What a wonderful way to remember Jason! 

We had a total of $250 in donations that were given to Jason's Ice Cream Fund. That's a LOT of ice cream!! (At around $0.89 each, that makes for many happy people!) It was taken to the grocery store anonymously, in honor of Jason. I spoke to the manager who was excited and touched by the idea. We look forward to getting stories from them. 

I received a lot of email submissions of random acts of kindness that were performed all over the country, which I will start to add and share here. In addition, there were over 2,000 visitors to the site since it was created, which means even more people were thinking of Jason this past weekend. 

I apologize that I am so terrible at blogging, given that Jason was so amazing at it, but I'll do my best! Please be patient with me. :)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Birthday Wishes

Tomorrow is Jason's birthday! Everyone has been so generous in continuing to think of ways to honor Jason's memory by completing random acts of kindness, including contributing to his ice cream fund. 

To date, we have received over $200 in donations that have been taken to the grocery store to be given out as ice cream cones that will hopefully brighten the day for many. 

Thank you again for your generous, kind and loving donations and stories. They will begin appearing here on Monday. Please be sure to come back and read them, and be on the lookout for the post with information coming back from the store. They were excited to help out and we look forward to hearing everything they have to share with us. 

Happy Birthday Jason! We love you.

What is Project Z?

Our beloved friend Jason, "Mr. Z" to so many, left this world a better place both in life and in passing. Always doing for others, he inspired all of us to love one another, try harder, and have fun while doing it. Jason knew how to put a smile on someone's face, brighten their day, and make things better - many times without even showing his face. A surprise of home-baked goodies on the doorstep, a sticky note on a desk, or a freshly scraped windshield on a snowy day were just some of the things Jason did for those around him. Some surprises were big, others were little, but they all made a difference. Leaving each person a little better and a little happier than they were before he came was a way of life for Jason. A superb teacher, gifted photographer, eloquent writer, loving family member and fiercely loyal friend were just some of the roles Mr. Z filled on a daily basis.

Though our lives are a little more cloudy since he left us on August 11, 2012, his shining examples live on. We want to continue to share those life lessons - no matter their size - with each other and the world. We want to pay it forward, to go on sprinkling a little bit of Mr. Z's contagious enthusiasm wherever we can. 

Please read our "get started" page to learn more about how you can contribute to Project Z. Check out the ice cream fund page too! Come back and if you want, share your good deeds here. Let's see how much we can accomplish by Jason's birthday, September 9th. We want to see just how far we can spread his love around the world. He touched our lives for the better, and we want to continue his legacy.