Giving The Gift of Leadership

The most important words uttered in HOBY history were spoken by Dr. Schweitzer, “the most important thing in education is to teach young people to think for themselves.” The thought shook Hugh O’Brian to his core and in 1958, he put Schweitzer’s words into action by founding HOBY. 60 years later, more than 500,000 students have experienced a life-changing HOBY program.

Today HOBY offers leadership development programs for high school students across the United States and around the world, incorporating community service, innovation and entrepreneurialism. Community Leadership Workshops are held locally for freshmen, State Leadership Seminars for sophomores, and the World Leadership Congress for rising juniors and seniors each summer with students from around the world. HOBY programs also operate in Canada, China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Iraq, Mexico, the Philippines, Taiwan, Turkey and the United Kingdom with new programs launching in Uganda and Rwanda, inspiring a new generation of young leaders. Every year HOBY provides over 4,000 volunteers the training and support necessary to deliver leadership programs for over 10,000 young people. And this is just the beginning.



Neemekh Mudvari, is a Mexican-Asian American teenager in his senior year at Westfield High School. After living in multiple countries, he settled in Spring, TX two years ago. The first few months, he faced the hardships of living without his parents, learning a new language and culture and being part of a marginalized community. Neemekh’s life took a different direction when he was selected to represent Westfield High School at the HOBY Texas West Coast Seminar in 2017. After HOBY, he returned with a purpose and a heart fueled with passion. He used his adversities to advocate for others by developing an “English as a Second Language Library” inside his high school. He volunteered to teach Spanish to teachers and staff, giving them language tools to better support students like him. As a result of his selfless giving and leadership, Spring ISD and the Magdaleno Leadership Institute (MLI) sponsored him to attend HOBY’s World Leadership Conference this summer. Now, Neemekh serves as the Student Chairman for a district-wide drop-out prevention initiative created and led by HOBY Alumni.

Neemekh Mudvari was honored at the Dallas Leadership Awards on November 1st, 2018 with the Outstanding Young Alumni Award, pictured here with Javier La Fianza, HOBY CEO.

The change we make is lasting and important, giving back for years to come as the youth HOBY inspires apply their leadership skills to on-going community service, entrepreneurial projects and professional development throughout their lives. Few organizations have the same return on investment as HOBY and the “ripple effect” young people like Neemekh have on the world. As we prepare to give thanks this year, I want to express how grateful we are for your support of HOBY. Whether you’ve attended an event or made a gift, your support means so much to our team and our student ambassadors. On Tuesday, November 27th, HOBY will participate in a global day of philanthropy called Giving Tuesday. It’s a special day where people everywhere give back to their communities. Your gifts on Giving Tuesday will be matched, dollar for dollar, by generous members of our Board of Directors. And, you don’t have to wait until Tuesday to make a gift. Thank you for your generosity and Happy Thanksgiving!

Javier LaFianza

I believe every person is created as the steward of his or her own
destiny with great power for a specific purpose: to share with
others, through service, a reverence for life in a spirit of love.
– Hugh O’Brian