INDIANAPOLIS - A Hoosier native dropped out of college to start a nonprofit, and at just 20 years old, he has already touched hundreds of strangers’ lives for the better.
Alex Radelich started ARK Project Now and he and a group of friends just returned to Indiana after finishing their first-ever summer Acts of Random Kindness tour.
"It was better than any of us imagined. It was six months of planning for a six-week tour across America," Radelich said.
It was a tour that took Radelich and a few of his friends some 6,000 miles across the country. Thanks to a $10,000 grant from KIND Snacks, they were able to perform Acts of Random Kindness all along the way -- which is ARK Project Now's mission.
"Right off the bat we were just getting crazy emails that blew our minds with things we never thought we would do," Radelich said.
The team visited sick children in hospitals and took their siblings on a shopping spree. They rented an ice cream truck one day and gave away free ice cream in poor neighborhoods.
"My most memorable would have been the Giants Stadium, that one was just incredible. We took five kids from the local Boys and Girls Club to VIP seats because there was a private donor that wanted to do something like that," Radelich said.
Radelich believes the people they touch will pay it forward and spread an epidemic of kindness.
He plans to continue ARK Project Now and has bigger plans to take the kindness inside classrooms in the form of a new program his team is creating.
"When I was in high school three years ago, we had the whole anti-bullying campaign, but it really didn't affect kids the way it should have because it was just another thing not to do. So I want to give the kids something to do," Radelich said. "I'm thankful for the opportunity. I've been giving and just having the coolest job in the world to produce smiles."
Radelich and his friends were already planning a weeklong Acts of Random Kindness tour during spring break and another six-week nationwide tour next summer.
They plan to send out two to three teams next summer so they can spread even more kindness.