Leadership Through Service

“Hey HOBY! What do we think of our volunteers?”


“Outstanding!” — emphasis on the capital “O” — is a commonly used phrase to describe the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Foundation. The non-profit organization is an internationally recognized leadership foundation that targets high school sophomores. Founded in 1958 by actor Hugh O’Brian, its mission is to encourage the leadership potential of youth through local seminars facilitated by volunteers.

In 2004, I was given the opportunity to attend the Northern California seminar. At the time, I thought it would be a resume booster for college applications — nothing more. However, this experience largely shaped the person I am today.

HOBY is a unique experience. I would even call it magical. In just three days barriers are broken and lifelong friendships are formed. Ambassadors enter with the potential to be leaders, but learn how to utilize their personality traits to succeed as leaders through team building activities, motivational speakers and leadership through service.

Putting leadership training to good use by partnering with Sac Trees to add new life to a park.
Putting leadership training to good use by partnering with Sac Trees to add new life to a park.

One of the main tenets of HOBY is making a difference by serving your community. As college students, I feel like this is something that is easy to forget. We become so wrapped up in school work, friends and jobs that we forget to give back to the place we call home.

For nine years I have committed myself as a Northern California HOBY volunteer, hoping to enrich and engage the minds of young students. It’s exciting to see that spark ignite in their eyes as they learn how to reach their potential and I feel proud knowing I’m sending off a new batch of young leaders who may someday make a huge impact in the world. It’s a feeling that energizes me and brings me so much joy!

Working with youth is particularly gratifying because they can learn so much from your personal experiences. They’re still trying to figure out their paths in life and positive guidance from an adult can make a huge impact in their future choices. However, I learn just as much from them in return.

HOBY is my passion. I highly encourage college students to search for programs that involve mentorship because there is nothing more fulfilling than giving youth the opportunity to “empower, lead and excel” at life.

What’s your passion? I would love to hear from you about your volunteer experiences in the community.