Alumni Spotlight: Megan de Armas – HOBY Florida South, 2016

“HOBY taught me that I can make a difference in the world around me. It transformed me into a confident, global leader.”

Megan De Armas utilized her HOBY skills with her experience in volunteering to create her own nonprofit project, “Kickin’ It With Kidz.” Her inspiration for the program began the summer of her eighth-grade year when she began volunteering at the Adult Mankind Organization. The Adult Mankind Organization works to address the needs of the community by providing various services, such as mentoring/counseling and improving employability. During the summer, the organization hosts a summer camp for low-income children.

Megan said, “every summer, I volunteer as a helper to the counselors, aiding in classes such as reading and music.”

From these camps, she gained her inspiration to make a difference. She noticed that one of the children’s favorite activities at camp was playing soccer. During their breaks, the children would rush to the courtyard in order to grab a soccer ball and begin playing.

“After observing the enthusiasm of the children, I came up with “Kickin’ It With Kidz,” Megan said.

The children in the camp had a passion for soccer, yet lacked the financial resources to be able to educate themselves about the sport. After brainstorming, coming up with lesson plans, and figuring out what she could do to help these kids, Megan came up with “Kickin’ It With Kidz.” 

Megan said that “after much preparation, I was ready to make my dreams a reality and give back to my community.”

The main purpose of Kickin’ It With Kidz is to combine soccer with essential life skills. The program has approximately 75 children, which divide into 3 groups, ranging from ages 5 to 12. It lasts about 3 hours with each group receiving 1 hour. This gives the kids the opportunity to grow in their skills, which is a chance they otherwise would not have received.

Megan thanked HOBY for the skills that helped her to fuel her passion. She still remembers the gratifying feeling of preparing 10,000 meals for the less fortunate and the other events that helped her to become more of a youth leader.

“I can decidedly say that HOBY changed my life. It was just the beginning of a journey of service that I would take throughout my high school career, and it has fueled my passion for helping others. The satisfaction received from seeing something I made better the lives of others is an experience nothing else in this world could give me,” Megan said.