Gideon (Gidi) Zilberstein died on September 4, 2016, three days before his fifth birthday.
Gidi was all of the wonder and joy of life wrapped up in a small bouncy body. He exuded confidence, happiness, tolerance and acceptance. He made friends with strangers everywhere he went, he saw beauty in things no matter their purpose, and he met any challenge with a giggle and a hop in his step. Gidi was a different kind of kid- he didn’t fall into gender stereotypes or boxes of any kind. He was always true to himself, and always encouraged others to be true to themselves. He brought out the best in everyone he was around with his giggle, his smile, and his remarkable ability to bring joy to any room. From his bright socks to his colorful dresses, from his painted nails to his sparkling eyes, Gidi was quite literally the happiest kid on the block.
Each year in the season of the anniversary of his death, in memory of his beautiful soul and in honor of his important life, we ask friends, family, and strangers alike to engage in random acts of kindness. We can think of no better way to bring some of Gidi’s incredible spirit back to the world than having hundreds of people show kindness to their fellow human beings, bringing smiles in the most unexpected places. Wherever we went, Gidi managed to talk with strangers and make everyone smile. We’d love for some of that Gidi Magic to be present in the weeks spanning the anniversary of his death all the way through his birthday, helping us to smile as we remember his incredible spirit.
This year from Thursday, August 17th (his Hebrew yahrzeit) until Thursday, September 7th (Gidi’s 12th birthday), we are asking you to try to do acts of random kindness and have your friends do the same. You can leave behind a card that honors Gidi when you do your act. We have hard copies if you live nearby, or you can print some out yourself right here: Kindness Card
Once you’ve done your act in Gidi’s honor (and please don’t feel the need to stop at just one!) join us at the Facebook group page Gidi’s Kindness Project and post what you did and how it made you or the person you gifted with kindness feel. We’d love to have the internet lit up with your stories in honor of Gidi, and be able to feel that he is still, somehow, playing a role in making the world a more beautiful, warm and kindness filled place.
What kinds of acts of random kindness are we talking about? The possibilities are endless, so think big or small! But here are some examples to get your wheels turning:
- Leave flowers at a stranger’s door
- Bring food to the homeless person you pass everyday
- Make sandwiches or cookies for your local firefighters
- Pay for the person’s coffee in line behind you
- Pick up trash everywhere you go
- Collect picture books for your local women and children’s shelter
- Bring toys to the nearby children’s hospital
- Call a friend who’s been having a hard time
- Have your kids make cards for folks in an assisted living facility
- Leave change taped onto a vending machine
- Leave a really nice tip for a waiter
- Collect toiletries for the local homeless shelter
- Bring a loved one an unexpected gift
- Offer to watch a friend’s children for the day so they can have some down time
- Take in your neighbor’s trash cans
- Make a donation to the Selah House & Carefarm in Gidi’s name (https://www.missfoundation.org/selah-carefarm/donate/). The Carefarm has become an important place for our family, and has provided us unending support in these past years after Gidi’s death. It is our tragic privilege to be a part of this organization that supports the traumatically bereaved with such incredible skill and love, and we would be grateful for any donations made to the Carefarm in Gidi’s honor.
- Make a donation to Lambda Legal in Gidi’s name (www.lambdalegal.org/Gidi). We have chosen to support this organization in honor of Gidi because it fights for the recognition of equality for all humans, regardless of who they love or how they identify. Gidi taught us to always love each other and be true to ourselves.
Whatever you do, don’t forget to leave a Kindness Card to let everyone know that your act was done in honor of Gidi. And go on to the Facebook group page Gidi’s Kindness Project to let us know all about the kindness you’ve spread in his honor.
Thank you from the bottoms of our hearts. Now go spread some Gidi Magic out there ✨