Category Archives: Volunteer Stories

Barb’s Story

Barb attended HOBY's Volunteer Training Institute in Houston, Texas.

Barb attended HOBY’s Volunteer Training Institute in Houston, Texas.

“My cup runneth over”.

This is something I actually sing to myself as I leave HOBY each and every year; I come as I am each year to HOBY, worn down and unsure of what’s next for me, and leave with my cup full of hope, rejuvenation and, an overwhelming sense of good in our world. HOBY allows students and volunteers to come just as they are and sends them off as a community, and knowing they found their “people.”

I was invited to the HOBY New York West my sophomore year in high school and was utterly perplexed at the concept of what HOBY was, and thought to myself: Who needs a leadership seminar? I’m busy enough with everything I do at school… I will take those words back for the rest of my life.

The empowerment of self and others that students and volunteers gain through HOBY is, well, let’s say it: OUTSTANDING. The program and curriculum are developed in a way that allows students to blossom their thoughts into amazing discussions with other students just like them from all over Western New York and interact with volunteers and speakers who come back year after year just to share in this experience with students.

Volunteering with HOBY has shared with me the opportunity to find “my people,” people who will remain undoubtedly in my life for years to come. It’s not so much what I’ve learned as a volunteer or what our students learn through the program it’s the individuals you meet along the way and the opportunity we are all given to create an amazing community together.

HOBY gave me the chance to take a chance on myself and feel the amazing sense of encouragement from other volunteers and students and I love leaving each year with a fresh cup of HOBY to take with me when I need it most.

-Barbara Bianchi, ‘08
Irondequoit High School

Christian’s Story

Who doesn't love HOBY selfies?

Who doesn’t love HOBY selfies?

HOBY: one of the most intellectually stimulating experiences you can have in your life. The friends you make forever, the ambassadors who always inspire you, and a chance for growth and reflection in your own life. Volunteering now for my fifth year with HOBY, it was yet again an overwhelming success. New York West has put on a conference that is one to be nothing but proud of. This year I took on the role of a facilitator for a group of students from all over Western New York. From this lens I was able to lead my students in life changing discussion, as well as demonstrate to them HOBY is a family that will always be here for you! Every single one of my ambassadors loved the conference and have demonstrated interest in returning to volunteer next year. They loved every part from creating a SMART goal to better their own communities to a career dinner that inspired many to pursue a certain profession. Each individual brought their own talents to create a group that I will never forget! One of the last things I told my ambassadors was HOBY is never over. I hope just like myself, my wonderful group knows where they will be next year during HOBY!

-Christian Bryant, ’12
Perry Jr./Sr. High School

Anthony’s Story

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But first, let me take a HOBY selfie!

HOBY is a way of living.

Before I attended my first conference, I was shy and had a lot of anxiety about talking to other people – especially in front of large groups. Enter HOBY: a conference that makes you leave your cliché high school perspectives behind in order to build leadership skills. At HOBY, social status doesn’t matter; working together to build personal, group and societal leadership matters. You realize that the 100 students attending the conference with you are the type of people you wish you could surround yourself with all year long. It gives you the encouragement to change your high school, to start new initiatives and to seek to make your community OUTSTANDING. Every year that I return helps me to remain outgoing so that I don’t revert to my old shy ways. The friends and connections I’ve made at HOBY will be with me forever.

Don’t believe HOBY will stay with you? A year after my ambassador year, I wore my HOBY shirt to visit colleges in Boston and had school tour guides come up to me at Northeastern telling me they had attended HOBY. At my interview for a scholarship at the University at Buffalo, I mentioned HOBY, to which my recruitment and future academic advisor replied, “I went to HOBY New York East!” I invited her to speak at our HOBY New York West conference before I had even matriculated to UB! HOBY people get HOBY people…these connections will help you in college and beyond because alumni know that HOBY teaches teenagers how to lead.

If you have the opportunity to attend HOBY, either as an ambassador or a volunteer, TAKE IT! I will be forever grateful to the conference for shaping who I am today, for helping me get into college and for helping me make life-long friends.

Anthony Falvo, ’11
Irondequoit High School