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Monroeville student learns importance of service at HOBY World Leadership Congress

• Aug 14, 2018 at 11:00 AM

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following letter to the editor was submitted by Grace Newell of Monroeville High School:

Dear Franklin Monument,

On July 21 through July 30, I had the opportunity to go to the Hugh O’Brian Youth World Leadership Congress (HOBY WLC) at Loyola University in Chicago, Ill. I was able to attend this as a result of your generous donation, so I wish to give you a bit of insight to what I did and what I learned.

Through my time at HOBY WLC, we had many inspiring speakers, including leading youth speaker and author Patrick George, TV personality and chef Carla Hall, and Diane Latiker, the founder of a safe haven for at-risk kids in low-income communities called Kids off the Block. Another speaker we had was a founding director of Social Promise, an organization dedicated to the education and health of youth in Uganda with a focus on kids with special needs. This year’s HOBY alumni now are working to help feed the children of the school they built.

Though the speakers and presenters at this seminar were incredible, what really makes HOBY WLC special is the fellow ambassadors you meet. There were over 420 fellow ambassadors who attended alongside me, from 18 different countries. It was very interesting to learn about the different cultures they had. I formed very close bonds with many of these people and learned how to better communicate with and understand people very different from me.

Perhaps the most important part of HOBY is the service and it was a fundamental part of my week at the WLC.

On Wednesday, July 25, the large group of ambassadors split in half, going to both Humboldt Park in Chicago and a nursing home paired with the Glamour Girls foundation. I was sent to Humboldt Park, where my team both mulched the landscaping and repainted the fences of the area. Along with this service day, a group of about 10 ambassadors from the northwest area of Ohio and I joined together and created an organization called Plates for Progress, and since the end of HOBY WLC, the group has grown and now has locations spread across the USA. Our organization is going around to business and restaurants in our area and asking for a percentage donation of profits one day during red ribbon week. The proceeds are going to the Salvation Army Rehabilitation Center for recovering drug addicts.

This may seem like a lot, but it is only a snippet of the many things I learned in those nine days at HOBY WLC. None of this would have been possible if it weren’t for your generous donation and I can never thank you enough.

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