Alumni Spotlight: Brooke Mazzone – HOBY New Jersey, 2013

“HOBY teaches its youth that youth means very little. Age is nothing but a demographic. We are young, yes, but we hold the capacity to change the world in a world that desperately needs change!”

Growing up as part of a resource family for foster children, Brooke Mazzone has always had a passion for helping those that are in foster care. She was introduced to the foster care system when she was only 12 years old, and now, a decade later, she continues working for it. She has turned her passion for helping children in foster care into a reality. In discovering her passion, she created Todd’s Angels, a nonprofit organization that prides itself in aiding children that are in the foster care system.

Although from a young age she knew that she wanted to advocate for those who were in the foster care system, she lacked one thing that she needed: what she described as her own voice. She wondered why no one was doing anything more to help these children, then she realized that person could be her. However, without her experiences with HOBY, she had never been instilled with the confidence to lead.

“I live my daily life shaped by the leadership conferences that taught me how to be the voice in the silence.”

Although it has been 6 years since Brooke initially began her HOBY journey, she always remembers the lessons she was taught at those conferences. She describes the seminars as days filled with chants, games, laughter, and exhaustion, but most importantly, the days were also an incredible learning experience.

“HOBY teaches its youth that youth means very little. Age is nothing but a demographic. We are young, yes, but we hold the capacity to change the world in a world that desperately needs change!”

“Why not me?” was the topic of discussion during her HOBY experience. This lesson has carried her long after her seminar was over. This pushed her to realize that even though she was one person, one person is all that it takes to make a difference.

The realization brought forth by HOBY led to the initial development of Brooke non-profit, Todd’s Angels. Named after a former foster child adopted into the family, she knew she had a desire to make a difference for other children in the foster care system. Todd’s Angels donates clothes to children born into the foster care system. With the guidance of HOBY she was able to realize that she can be that one person who makes a difference.

“I was taught confidence, I was taught to be unashamed, and I was taught to fight for what I believe in.”

Brooke knows now that she can make a difference. One piece of clothing at a time.