Fostering kindness ‘a work in progress’

Vista grad’s project focuses on good deeds, paying it forward


Mountain Vista High School graduate Zac Garland is on a mission — a mission to connect strangers through random acts of kindness.

In doing so, he hopes to help make the world a happier, more caring place.

The University of Northern Colorado junior launched a web-fueled project this past semester called “A Work in Progress,” in which random acts of kindness are encouraged, and the theme of paying it forward guides one act to the next.

To kick-start the project, Garland printed off 1,000 “good deed cards” and has distributed more than 700 of them in the past three months. The idea, he said, is that “a fire begins with a single flame,” and that after completing a good deed the doer gives the recipient the card and they have to perform a good deed before passing it on.

Each card has a tracking number, and people have the opportunity to enter the tracking number on the website, while telling a story, anonymously or not, of the deed they did, and if it isn’t already up there, what someone did for them.

“Whether people choose to enter their good deed on the website isn’t what’s important,” he said. “As long as they are using the card to make a difference in someone else’s life, that means the world. We’re trying to foster relationships through random acts of kindness, having people look at a complete stranger and say, ‘I could do something nice for them and change their lives in a positive way.’”

Garland came up with the idea after getting involved with the Sigma Chi fraternity’s philanthropic committee. Unsatisfied with the “lack of heart in raising money the traditional way” for various charities, he said he wanted to come up with something that really made a difference to everyone involved.

“It can be as small as paying for a Starbucks drink for the person behind you in line and can grow exponentially from there,” he said. “The hope is that in a year’s time we will see some really impactful deeds have been done and that it has gained some serious traction.”

For more information, to read about some of the deeds already done, or to obtain a card, please visit


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