Two friends home from college launched an ambitious summer project, and they are on a tight deadline to get it done.
"As we talked about our summer plans, we both realized we have this passion for service," said Alex Quian. "We want to do something positive and different. We wanted to find a way we could give back to the community."
That conversation led to a project called 30 Days of Service.
The latest news from around North Texas.
"This idea came about three months ago, and we put it into action by July," said Brady Boyd.
From now until July 30, the friends are serving the community in a variety of ways from packing meals for the homeless, serving breakfast at a senior citizen center to launching a reading project at a local boys and girls club. They contact nonprofit partners, secure resources from businesses and donors, and show up when it's time to do the work.
"And going to the veterans center, my dad served 23 years in the Army, and just going and seeing some of those veterans and being able to talk to them and serve them has been an amazing experience," Boyd said.
"Although you as an individual may not necessarily be in a position to change the world, even a small act of kindness can have impacts you'd never imagine in your community," Quian said.
Quian, 21, who grew up in The Colony will be a senior at Cornell University in New York. Boyd, 20, is from Keller and will start his junior year at SMU in Dallas.
They met last summer during a leadership program at SMU. As they talked about their shared passion to serve their community, they relied on a mentor they met last summer, Greg Weatherford II, the Director of Community Engagement and Special Projects at SMU. Weatherford suggested the 30-day plan.
"I think it's phenomenal," said Weatherford. "Being selfless and spending your summer, serving other people; it's very admirable."
"We have social media influencers, and I really see them as service influencers where they can have impact on bringing back this desire to serve," he said. "A project doesn't have to be big to be impactful."
For now, the immediate impact may be on Quian and Boyd themselves.
Listening to them, you quickly understand how the experience is changing these young men.
"It's really shown me if you put your mind to something and you have this idea you're passionate about, you can absolutely accomplish it," Quian said.
"Coming into 30 days of service, I really didn't know how impactful this could be. I just started with Alex and saying, 'Hey, let's do a project.' And we've been able to impact over a thousand lives. And that's been great," smiled Boyd. "Before this, it was about my journey. I'm in college, and trying to figure out my own life and sometimes we get so caught up in that, we forget to do the simple things. So, going forward for the rest of my life, I'm gonna look at it as how can I help other people?"
Along with the 30 Days of Service project, both are also working full-time jobs before they go back to college next month.
They hope their summer of service inspires other youth around the country. A book and a speaking tour are the next steps in leading lives where service to community will be a priority.