Several years ago, then-University of Louisville basketball star Kevin Ware broke his leg during an NCAA tournament game. The replays of the horrific fall made him famous, but he obviously couldn't play basketball for a while. So he and a couple of friends in Louisville started making the rounds at local schools, churches and community centers, giving motivational speeches and trying to uplift people in their neighborhoods.
"That’s when we realized everyone has a PURPose and giving back was fun," writes Jason Reynolds on the website of the nonprofit he co-founded with Ware. They called the group PURP for People Uplifting Real People, an organization dedicated to helping kids find a positive purpose in life.
The organization has teams that typically do one community service activity each month. Some volunteers visit nursing homes and play music or do magic tricks. Others volunteer at homeless shelters.
Recently at a homeless shelter outing, 14-year-old Laron Tunstill, who goes by the nickname “Ron Ron,” made headlines. Ron Ron saw a homeless man whose shoes were covered with holes. The teenager sat down next to the older man, silently unlaced his shoes and offered them to him.
At first, the man tried to say no, but Ron Ron insisted.
“He was poor. So, you know, I just did what I had to do,” Ron Ron told CBS News.
"Today a 14 year old from West Louisville, KY gave his shoes off of his feet to a homeless man!" the nonprofit posted online. "While other 14 year olds are shooting and joining gangs, Ron Ron is living out his purpose in life. Uplift someone today, love your neighbor as yourself!"
PURP has teams working in Louisville and Cincinnati through churches and schools. They work with the homeless, elderly, sick and disabled, often by collecting supplies, holding fundraisers or volunteering in the community.
"If a couple of us can help kids find their purpose, then the world would be a better place," Reynolds told the Louisville Courier-Journal.
"Our goal is to get a movement of love basically spread across Louisville. When we did this on our own, we could only affect so many people. But with different teams, we can help and change more peoples' lives."