Local entrepreneur Alex Quian and his business partner Greg Weatherford have long been championing business ventures centered around helping North Texas communities.
Weatherford, who is now director of community engagement and special projects at SMU, has run several service-project grant and youth sports programs since he was 12 years old. Last year, at 28, he partnered with Alex Quian, his intern at the time, who pledged to complete 30 service projects in 30 days. Many benefitted local causes.
“Some days it’d be helping veterans, some days homeless, some days cancer, young adults,” said Weatherford.
The two had planned to launch Young Leaders For Change, a nationwide program that would help others complete similar service projects to those in Quian’s 30 Days of Service when COVID-19 hit.
“We had original programming we were going to do, but Coronavirus happened,” Weatherford said. “So, now, we are tackling those projects and doing initiatives to directly help young people related to Coronavirus.”
The duo’s latest undertaking, which launched last week, pools resources for young adults who have never lived through an economic downturn independently.
“It rattles you, and [16–30 year-olds have] never dealt with it,” said Weatherford.
The site, LetsThriveNow.org, provides articles on everything from finding a job to cooking or working out at home. Mental health and money management resources also abound.
“With love, and care, and strategy, we want to make sure to go out there and say, ‘Okay, here’s a definitive, great article about what you need to do when you go grocery shopping to stay safe and healthy,” said Weatherford. “Here’s a definitive article about all the list of the concerts that celebrities are doing for free. Here’s a great article about five steps you should do right now if you just got laid off … That was so important—to just give them the facts.”
Weatherford and Quian have heavily vetted each of the sources they provide, assuring that all articles are credible and applicable in the lives of their target audience. Both of them fall within the target age group themselves—Weatherford at 29 and Quian at 22—so they can rely in part on their perspective to aid in source selection.
“My perspective has given me some secondhand experiences in those areas, and it’s been something that has guided me through this whole process,” said Quian, who relates to college students navigating long-distance learning or canceled summer jobs.
The site launched last Monday, and in the week since, it has received more than 1200 visitors. These numbers come before Weatherford and Quian’s marketing plans have been put in place.
Weatherford and Quian anticipate that the website will run even after the pandemic as a method by which young people can access self-improvement tools.
“Even after this pandemic is over, we will still be using this as a way to help young people work on themselves and be the best possible versions of themselves that they can be,” Quian said. “I see a future for this.”