There was also unexpected costs that Steven had to learn to budget for, such as portable restrooms and, on one occasion, having the stadium parking lot power washed. Building the event from the ground up has given him a crash course in everything from finance to social media strategy. "Keeping excitement is really hard to do,” Steven says. “People get really uninterested very easily. In the winter months, especially. It was really hard to start the event in January with the weather. You have to always be doing something to keep people interested or else it will dissipate." Now, with an estimated 5,000 followers across multiple social media platforms, Steven posts regularly to drive interest to the next event. The event has had people drive in from as far as Austin and continues to draw an audience from all over the Metroplex. With their recent move to Gateway Church, Steven hopes to further expand the event. “My main goal right now with the Gateway venue is to expand it — I'm going to call it 'Manifest Destiny' – to the other side of the parking lot,” he says. As the event grows, so will its positive impact on the community. Even before Cars and Coffee Southlake started, Steven wanted the event to benefit a local nonprofit. He knew about Southlake Lions Club through a friend and decided it would be a good fit. Right now, a portion of the proceeds from Cars and Coffee Southlake directly support the Texas Lions Camp — a summer camp for children
Revved Up with physical disabilities, Type 1 diabetes and cancer. Cars and coffee participants are charged $10 per car – spectators park in a separate lot for free — and Steven estimates about 25 percent of the proceeds from that fee is donated. “For the past several years, I have been involved in mission trips, helping people in need and volunteering,” Steven says. “With Cars and Coffee [Southlake], I saw an opportunity to give back on a monthly basis. The care community as a whole really enjoys supporting a good cause, so when word got out about what I was doing, it really helped gain a lot of support.”
IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT
After three months of successful events, April finally arrived, and Steven turned 16. He got his license on his birthday and eagerly hopped into his BMW M48. The event on April 20 was a great birthday present: perfect weather, and in Steven’s words, “just a ton of cars.” While he kept his age and identity largely in the background on social media, his classmates at Carroll High School fully knew what he was up to. “They don’t call me Steven anymore, they just say Cars and Coffee Southlake really fast like it’s all one word,” Steven says of his fellow Dragons.
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