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Hugh O’Brien Youth organization teaches high schoolers leadership through service

Hugh O’Brien Youth or HOBY is a national organization aimed at teaching leadership skills to incoming high school juniors.  HOBY holds a 4-day seminar at different locations throughout the country, including Illinois Wesleyan in Normal. One hundred-forty high school students and over sixty volunteers came together for a weekend full of personal, group, and service leadership. Students were selected or nominated by their schools before being sent to the leadership summit.

Ashley LaGrow, coordinator for the seminar in Central Illinois says, “The youth aren’t our future leaders, they are the leaders of today.” Saturday, the students and volunteers filled a warehouse at Midwest Food Bank to package ready to eat meals. The groups sang songs, chanted, and danced for two hours while packaging nearly 10,000 meals for families in need.

Students we spoke with said it’s hard to explain the impact the seminar has had so far, saying it’s something you have to experience to understand. But the energy in the warehouse was palpable as the meals that will feed a family of four to five people were prepared.  Tara Ingham, Executive Director of the Midwest Food Bank in Normal, said the entire crew was awesome. And that millions of meals are distributed from the Midwest Food Bank in Normal throughout Central Illinois, across the country, and even to countries in need like Haiti.

The Leadership Seminar started Thursday and wraps up Sunday afternoon.

Kyle Beachy

Kyle Beachy is a Multimedia Journalist for 25 News and Heart of Illinois. Born and raised in Kokomo, Indiana, he attended Indiana Wesleyan University where he studied Education and played baseball. He comes to us from Columbus, Ohio where he received a Master’s Degree from The Ohio State University.

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