Allison Nguyen and Laura Lee will soon be college freshmen at Stanford and Baylor universities. However, the two Clear Lake teens spent much of their summer working to help a few less-fortunate kids have some brighter days.
This month's Jefferson Awards recipients are not only looking forward to attending college, they also look forward to expanding their nonprofit and supporting shelters in their new communities.
Nguyen and Lee turned their love of baking into a nonprofit called Iced Capades Cakery. They bake and deliver cupcakes for children in women's shelters.
"When we walk in all the kids say, "Oh my gosh, it's the cupcake girls," Lee said. "So it's a sense of normalcy and stability that we bring to their lives. It's just really amazing. When we see them, they're just so delighted and so happy because we're carrying cupcakes."
The teens got their idea from family Thanksgiving outings to feed the homeless. They started with one shelter and one dozen cupcakes a month. Now, they're up to seven shelters and dozens of cupcakes.
"Anywhere you look, there are needs to be met. Anywhere in the community -- it doesn't take much to get started. We just started with something simple. We like baking and look where it's gotten us now. We're able to serve people doing something that we already love," Nguyen said.
Thanks to volunteers, the Houston Cake Club and Crave, Nguyen and Lee are able to help more people than they imagined.
Just ask volunteer Helen Osteen.
"Allison came to the Houston Cake Club and explained they needed volunteers. And it sounded like a really neat thing to be involved in. I have grandchildren and but for the grace of God, my grandchildren could be here," she said.
Nguyen and Lee do more than bake and deliver cupcakes. They also paint faces and do whatever is needed to create a party atmosphere.
Their mission with Iced Capades Cakery is to create a family affair where everyone pitches in and the goal is to expand beyond Houston, and even Texas.
Heather Dunn is a family therapist with The Bridge, one of the seven shelters Iced Capades Cakery supports. She calls their efforts a huge help.
"When I think about what Allison and her group has done as a teenager, it makes me want to do more. It makes me want to serve the community. If a teenager can do this as a full-time high school student, then I've got more that I can give," Dunn said.