By Karolyn Gephart
Pearland High School Seniors Stephan and Isaiah Torres had major plans for this summer before their senior year would begin.
Before the pandemic, the two boys planned to intern at Black Hills Institute of Geological Research in Hill City, South Dakota which specializes in fossils. They were also planning to volunteer at Texas Children’s Hospital /Ronald McDonald House the other half of the summer and planned to dress as super heroes while they were volunteering there.
These two plans were not able to occur so they switched to Plan B and are impacting the City of Pearland with a wonderful program that they created.
The two became Drive By Heroes. The boys dress as super heroes and attend celebrations, birthdays, events requested by the community. The cost is a donation of food that the boys deliver to the Pearland Neighborhood Center.
They knew about the PNC prior to this and their mom, Lynn Torres contacted PNC to see what their needs were. The boys sent the director a formal email with plans and started immediately on July 3 with a Facebook posting at 2:14 pm. One hour later they received their first request for a birthday visit that very day.
Volunteerism and community spirit is encouraged and expected of the two boys by their parents. In fact, it was doing just that type of thing that inspired them for the Drive By Heroes Program.
“We have assisted the coaches for our younger brother’s little league baseball team for the past year. We were helping out this spring season when it was cancelled due to COVID-19. The kids on his team were very disappointed. Their coach continued to keep in touch with the team in hope that the season would resume,” Stephan Torres said.
In May the coach invited his son’s teammates to attend a car parade for his son’s birthday.
“We wanted to make the child’s birthday special so, we decided to dress up in our Spider-Man costumes. Our mom helped us decorate her SUV and we joined the car parade. Everyone really enjoyed it. That’s how the idea came to us. It took some time for us to build our vision for Drive By Heroes, but that’s definitely what inspired it,” Stephan Torres said.
The super heroes have had 12 visits and a porch pickup so far but so many requests have come in, at press time the two only had six slots open for the month.
“We also started booking Sunday Subdivision visits do to the overwhelming responses. We have had residents of subdivisions reach out to us to help us plan and spread the word to their neighbors. Our first one was July 12 in Woodcreek subdivision. We are focused on practicing proper social distancing and we have asked everyone to stay in front of their own houses. We do not want to attract a crowd,” Torres said.
Most requested visits are birthday visits but they also have had several cheer-up visits.
So far they are working in Spider-man costumes but are in the process of ordering others.
The twins are excited to add Jasmine Saenz to their program. They have received a Spider-Girl costume donation for her to use right away.
Both twins are active at PHS. Stephan enjoys art and environmental science. Isaiah is interested in art and biology. They both enjoy all science and math subjects, are in the AP Program and both are in the Top Five Percent of their Class. Their endorsement is STEM and they are members of National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society , Student Council, Asian Culture Club, and both participated in Junior Varsity Track and Field for discus last year. Isaiah is also in the Science Honor Society. New member Saenz is a fellow classmate and friend and in NHS and SHS.
The twins were both nominated by their school counselor for a POSSE full academic scholarship for merit and leadership. Their top picks for colleges are Stanford, Rice, Vassar, MIT and Princeton and hope to attend together. Isaiah is planning to pursue film studies and Stephan wants media arts and animation.
For right now, they are so busy but want to continue to offer the Drive By Heroes program as long as they can.
“Every event is memorable in some way. Seeing children light up and seeing their parents/grandparents/ family members expressions while watching their children is definitely memorable. Also our drop offs are memorable. The staff at the PNC are very kind and appreciative of our wanting to help,” the twins said. “Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to visit cities other than Pearland right now. We have a vision for growth and expansion but we are focusing on what we can do right now for community. We want to inspire other youth to volunteer in their cities for charities in their community.”
This week the two started a weekly Super Summer Show & Tell Video Series for kids in Pearland and other areas.
Stephan and Isaiah are the twin sons of Lynn and Junior Torres of Pearland. They have a brother and two sisters. The twins are the oldest.
They will be visited this week by Congressman Pete Olsen to present a special commendation to them for their work in the community.
Check out the twins at their Drive By Heroes Facebook page.