“HOBY helped [me] create a social network of youth volunteers like me that volunteer for the love of giving back. I don’t have to wait until I am older to make a difference. HOBY taught me the value of individuals’ abilities and the responsibility of using your own talents to give back to the community. Through being a [volunteer] for HOBY I became more confident in my skills as a leader, so I know I can take on bigger issues facing the world today.”
Jennifer reminisces, ” I used to be too shy to even greet my friends in public, now I have the courage to stand up in front of crowds and convey my passions to encourage others to join me in changing the world.” Having volunteered with the Mission Viejo Activities Committee (MVAC) since age eleven, by sixteen Jennifer was ready to take on more responsibility serving her community. However, she struggled with adults thinking she wasn’t ready to take on a leadership role because of her young age. Nevertheless, Jennifer persisted, and by using her HOBY experience to gain confidence and encourage others to serve alongside her, she eventually started her own Relay for Life team to support the American Cancer Society. Jennifer’s team (which included another HOBY alumnus!) earned the Most Spirited Award, was ranked 5 of 46 for highest fundraising, exceeding $13,000, and landed her a spot on the RFL Event Leadership Team.
Jennifer balanced this commitment while serving as president of her Girl Scout troop and a youth leader and mentor for MVAC, submitting applications and essays for college admission, taking AP tests and maintained a 4.4 GPA. She shares. “HOBY opened new doors that connected me to other youth leaders in my community. A fellow HOBY ambassador who lives in my city has become my volunteer buddy. He joined my Relay For Life team and garnered some of the highest donations. I don’t have to wait until I am older to make a difference. HOBY taught me the value of an individual’s abilities and the responsibility of using your own talents to give back to the community.”
Pam Smith, Past President of MVAC, who worked closely with Jennifer describes her as, “well respected by both her peers and adults, a self-starter and highly motivated. She is a leader, but more importantly, a team player. Jennifer serves our community from the heart, for her, it is not about just completing the required service hours. ”