Last weekend, I had the honor to represent Dickinson High School at the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Conference at Texas A&M University in Galveston. 

Mr. O’Brian, an actor from the 1950s, founded HOBY after he spent nine days in Africa with Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Albert Schweitzer helping care for the sick and the poor. This experience impacted Mr. O’Brian’s life so much that when he returned back to the states, his goal was to help positively impact local youth, which developed into the HOBY mission, “To inspire and develop our global community of youth and volunteers to a life dedicated to leadership, service and innovation.”

When I arrived at TAMUG, I was immediately greeted by many friendly HOBY volunteers. I was a little nervous at first when the volunteers led me to the cafeteria, but I quickly made friends, since everybody else was new to this experience, too. There were more than 200 sophomore students from the Gulf Coast area, as well as transfer ambassadors from Louisiana and Indiana who also were selected by their schools to attend the conference.

We were assigned to groups with an adult facilitator (volunteers with HOBY) and a HOBY junior counselor who were all past HOBY ambassadors. There were five girls and three boys in my group who were from Klein Oak, Carver, Oak Ridge, The Woodlands, James E. Taylor, Strake Jesuit, Franklin (near College Station) and Port Neches-Groves.

Throughout the weekend, we listened to motivational speakers, participated in current-event debates, learned how to be better leaders in our community and exchanged inspirational and innovative ideas for volunteerism.

The HOBY volunteers focused on teaching the ambassadors about personal leadership, group leadership, society leadership and leadership for service. Groups were assigned different volunteer activities such as making blankets for The Linus Project for critically ill children, making activity books and games for Shriner’s Hospital patients, working with children from the Big Brother Big Sister Organization, stuffing backpacks with school supplies for Operation Backpack and writing letters to those who serve in the military abroad. 

This HOBY seminar was one of the best experiences that I’ve had as a student leader. I feel more empowered to motivate other students to volunteer in their communities and to make a positive difference by helping others.

For the 2015 seminar, I hope to attend the HOBY conference as an alumni to help guide and lead new HOBY ambassadors. 

If you would like to learn more about HOBY, please visit its website at

Mimi DeLeon is one of two students selected by Dickinson High School Teachers & Counselors as HOBBY Student Ambassadors for Dickinson High School.

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