As an educator, the COVID-19 pandemic did not allow me to finish the school year with my high school students and I missed having interaction with young people. After so many of my plans were canceled, I wanted to do something constructive with my summer and give back to my community.
I had previously nominated a student to be an ambassador for HOBY’s NC West program, so I decided to seek out volunteering opportunities with HOBY during the pandemic. A fellow Phi Sigma Pi alumni introduced me to New Jersey HOBY, and I volunteered as a virtual co-facilitator this past July and August. Even in the virtual setting, HOBY staff, volunteers, and ambassadors came each day with energy and enthusiasm. The dedication of staff and volunteers was truly amazing! Staff and volunteers were welcoming and were helpful with any questions I had. The highlight for me were ambassador presentations; each group of ambassadors presented on an issue in their community. Every group was passionate about their topic and everyone was supportive of each other. It was amazing to see these ambassadors dedicated to making a difference in their community. I also enjoyed hearing from former ambassadors who had used their experience with HOBY to make an impact in their community.
A few weeks after the program ended, I had the opportunity to virtually volunteer with Florida North HOBY. With Florida North, I was able to spend more time with my ambassadors, getting to know them and how they wanted to improve their community. From this year’s events, my ambassadors were more aware of the issues in our country and understood that they were the key to making a difference. At the end of the program, ambassadors at Florida North HOBY created a video about how they would use their HOBY experience to volunteer in their community and make an impact with their new leadership skills. From HOBY experiences my ambassadors learned how important it is to care about their community and make an effort to change the world they live in.
Overall, I was able to meet so many amazing people that I would have not had the chance to otherwise. Even in the virtual environment, HOBY managed to create fun and effective programs for ambassadors and volunteers. Spending time with ambassadors was great for me to remember why I went into education; I used my teaching skills to facilitate their learning and help them to grow as leaders. As I look back on my experience with HOBY, I am grateful to have had an amazing opportunity to work with young leaders. I was impressed with both the HOBY programs and the dedication from all the volunteers. As a volunteer, I learned how valuable I am to organizations like HOBY and that I can make an impact in a small amount of time. I look forward to applying my HOBY experience to make my community a better place.
If you are interested in serving as a virtual facilitator you can tell HOBY here!
Are you a HOBY Alumnus and/or Volunteer and looking to learn more about Phi Sigma Pi? Visit phisigmapi.org/hoby to get started!
Are you a Phi Sigma Pi Member looking to get involved with HOBY? Then phisigmapi.org/service is the place to be.