Colorado native Trenton Hoshiko ’17 had just begun his college career last week when torrents of rain deluged his hometown and nearby communities, causing historic flooding, deaths and destruction of homes.
But it didn’t take long for Hoshiko, from the city of Longmont, to jump into action—some 2,000 miles away.
“I know about 10 people who were directly affected,” he said, adding that his parents’ house is safe—perched atop a hill. “The idea of all these peoples’ possessions being destroyed is horrifying.”
Hoshiko contacted his friend back home, Payton Peterson—both of whom are 18 years old—and they decided to raise money to help.
Using social media, the pair has sold more than 300 t-shirts and raised more than $3,000 for the United Way Foothills Flood Relief Fund, which receives all the profits. The $25 shirt features the design of the Colorado state flag with a kayaker on a wave. On the back, the shirt reads, “When waters rise, Colorado rises too.”
Business sense comes natural to Hoshiko. He opened his own video production company, Master of the Free World Productions, at the age of 15 with the help of his dad.
“I knew what I wanted to do [at an early age] and I thought I’d be taken more seriously by having a company first,” he said.
Hoshiko, who is a Film major in the Department of Visual and Media Arts, has done a series of video production work for his company in his high school years, including music videos and a recent public relations project for the city of Longmont.
He’s also no stranger to community service, which included volunteering with the elderly at a community center, through a high school service group.
Peterson, who is back in Colorado and also owns his own video production company, has shot numerous videos of the recent flooding that have been used by television news stations.
Originally, the two buddies were going to sell posters to benefit the victims, but decided t-shirts were easier to produce.
“It’s sad to have to face these problems,” Hoshiko said. “But I’ve enjoyed seeing the community come together and work through it, and come up with ways to make this situation not just a tragedy but a way to help other peoples’ lives.”