Encinitas twins recognized as ‘changemakers’ at BYU

Encinitas twins Garrett and Jacob Stanford were recognized as "changemakers" for a mobile game they're developing.
(BYU Ballard Center)

Two Brigham Young University students, who are also twin brothers from Encinitas, were recognized as “changemakers” for pitching a mobile app that raises money to support ocean conservation.

“The idea is now these kids, by simply playing the game, can donate to charity,” said Garrett Stanford, who along with his brother Jacob is a BYU sophomore studying accounting.

The brothers are also graduates of La Costa Canyon High School.

For a “Changemaker” contest held by BYU’s Ballard Social Impact Center, Garrett and Jacob submitted a video about their plan to combine environmental awareness and entertainment. The mobile game they proposed takes place on California beaches, and has the user play as a surfer cruising through the waves among the trash that needs to be picked up. They said in a video posted to Instagram that the idea was inspired by their California upbringing.

The revenue generated by the game will be donated to #TeamSeas, a campaign that has raised more than $30 million for two nonprofits that are focused on keeping the ocean clean. It’s not available yet, but they plan to release it later this summer.

It could also be the first of many games that help children play games on their phones with an ethical benefit.

“To have a whole list of games where kids could donate to charity, that’s what I would see as the endgame for this,” Garrett said.

Garrett and Jacob, who are both on the BYU track and field team, began coding around the ages of 12 and then started developing apps together.

“We have a unique background being twins and also working on these collaborative projects,” Garrett said. “Making an app takes a lot of different disciplines altogether. For instance, you need sound design, you need music, you need code, you need art skills. They all kind of come together.”

The surf game that they’re working on, Jacob added, “can teach kids the importance of picking up after themselves.”

The two learned they had finished first in the Changemaker contest through an Instagram post by the Ballard Social Impact Center on Feb. 7.

“It motivates us to run with this project and create it,” Jacob said.