From baseball to blood drives, BYU senior Sam Parry makes an impact in the Provo community through his self-led service projects.
His most recent project was creating a T-ball team for three- and four-year-olds with costs covered in full by funds from local businesses. According to Parry, his inspiration for the project came from his love for baseball since he was a kid.
“I want these little kids to at least be exposed to it and see if it’s something they like, and I genuinely believe if they do like it and stick with it, it’s kind of a life-changing thing,” Parry said.
Parry and his brother-in-law, Perry Schmoekel, reached out to local Latter-day Saint bishops to find kids that would not be able to play without this opportunity to have the costs covered. In reaching out to local businesses for fundraising, Schmoekel said he was grateful and surprised by the generosity.
“There are so many people in the community that are influential and are willing to help, they just don’t know how. So if you’re able to go up to them and say, ‘this is what I’m doing, this is what I need,’ people are just so generous,” Parry said.
Parry has found inspiration for past service projects in a variety of ways but said the motivation often comes from identifying a “tangible problem.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Parry read in The Salt Lake Tribune about the need for blood donations. He decided to host a small blood drive and said it ended up leading to six more. His wife, Summer Parry, commented on the efforts he took to find donors and completely fill the drives including passing out flyers every night and more.
“The best way to get college students to donate blood is to have good incentives. He would go to restaurants and places and ask for gift cards or donations so we would have six or seven coupons to give to donors,” Summer said.
She also said these projects give her husband purpose and shared about the numerous other ways he serves his community. She said he helps out with the local sexual assault crisis hotline and is involved with youth mentoring at an elementary school.
Sam’s wife and brother-in-law have felt a change in themselves since getting involved in his projects.
Schmoekel expressed how his brother-in-law has been an example and motivation for him to get involved in service. He said working on the T-ball team has helped him see more clearly how to identify a need and make a difference. Summer said service has become a “commitment” for her and her husband.
“Once you just do something small … the joy that you feel, it’s true joy, you want to do it again,” she said.
Sam said if he can make a difference in one person’s life, it is worth it. As he prepares to graduate and begin medical school, Sam said he has been grateful to have these projects to be involved in during this waiting period.