“The HOBY experience has been transformational for me as a leader in challenging me to be innovative and expansive in my leadership style.”
In response to the 2016 Presidential Election, Andrew Pierce saw a need in his local community and went out to fill it. He noticed how his fellow peers were confused over the results, as they did not fully understand the election process. Andrew noticed that “many of my peers were more confused than sad. How could a person win the popular vote, but lose the overall election? Students felt they were not informed in the political process.” Noticing this gap, he went to a local non-profit, The WORTH Foundation, and asked to create the Civic Education and Leadership Academy (CELA) and Student Leadership Organizing Committee (SLOC) with the purpose of engaging and educating his peers.
Andrew shared that, “Before attending HOBY, I would primarily organize events within my school and partner with teachers and students. While I have always had a passion for my community, HOBY inspired me to reach out for community partnerships with individuals outside of my school network.”
Following the HOBY model of leadership, Andrew reached out to others in his community in order to grow CELA and SLOC. In developing his service project, he worked with local non-profits, neighborhood commissions, universities, local businesses, and other groups within his community. Events were created that not only educated students on civic issues, but also on college and career readiness and partnerships with companies such as Telhio, Columbus Builder’s Partnership, and others were built in order to teach students about future careers. After educating students, there were opportunities for students to voice their opinions through activism. These directly led to a greater understanding of American politics through engaging youth in the community.
Andrew believes that “for lasting change to be made, long-term investments must be made into the future of our communities.”
In developing the CELA and SLOC as service projects, Andrew saw a need in his community that needed to be filled. These kids are the future, as they will be the ones voting in the next election. He chose to build the foundation for long-term youth civic engagement that will continually reinvent itself as issues change, members come and go, and the community grows. He knew that in order to make a difference, we need to invest in the future, which he did by creating a long-term inclusive environment to educate and engage every high student in Columbus, Ohio.