“HOBY allows our youth to take charge of their life, whether it be in their home, school, community or future. I find that leadership through service is one of the most important things we portray.”
Arielle Harleman is a 2009 HOBY alumna from Central Pennsylvania. She’s been volunteering at her local seminar since she attended, about 10 years ago. She is a graduate of the Bachelors Program Studies and Associates Occupational Studies of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. Currently, she is a line cook at The Love., a STARR Restaurant in Philadelphia and recipient of the James Beard Foundation Women in Culinary Leadership Scholarship. To get to know her a little better we asked her a few very important questions:
What was your favorite part about volunteering with HOBY?
I am not sure I can sum it up in a small paragraph. Ten years of volunteering is completely rewarding and never a dull moment. I enjoy the leg work that goes on throughout the year to produce the seminar, the seminar as a whole, the connection with those attending and other volunteers. However, I think my favorite part about volunteering, is giving to our alumni. Being able to have a strong alumni program, results in a sense of community for our alumni, and our seminar retaining volunteers. Connecting with teenagers is never easy, but giving them the resources to volunteer and develop as adults is the greatest feeling. Being a mentor for them means the world to me. They know that they can come to me for anything, if I can’t help, then I can point them to someone who can. It is important to let them know they are not alone and always have a support system.
How has HOBY impacted you?
Attending HOBY made an impact on me, however, I felt like I was missing something my ambassador year. The program and material clicked with many people, but I didn’t feel that click. Leaving the seminar, my main focus was to volunteer in my community, but also to Team Alumni/Junior Staff because I loved the energy they gave to the seminar. After volunteering as TA, I wasn’t sure if I would come back as a Junior Facilitator, I didn’t think I was able to offer guidance to ambassadors since I missed the connection my ambassador year. I told myself I would try for one year to decide if I could do it. Being a Junior Facilitator was so rewarding. I was able to understand the program even more and help ambassadors comprehend it by breaking it down a bit further. Not just by listening to the content, but getting to the root of the content and how they could apply it to their life. When I became Director of Team Alumni, I wanted to allow the fun and energy that comes with the role, yet, I wanted to add structure to it. We started having an alumni reunion during the seminar, for those who couldn’t attend as volunteers, and our junior staff. Giving these students tools they can apply to their growth and leadership (interview tips, college guidance, character analysis, etc.). I have such a strong connection with our Junior Staff, I want to give them tools to grow, advice to cherish and an experience that will change them for the better.
Why is HOBY/youth leadership important?
HOBY and youth leadership are unbelievably important. It allows our youth to take charge of their life. Whether it be in their home, school, community or future. I find that leadership through service is one of the most important things we portray. Giving back is a feeling that is rewarding, allows connection and discipline. When ambassadors come to HOBY, they are put in an environment where they are surrounded by positivity and the chance to think for themselves with no judgment. This is always the biggest take away from HOBY. Coming to a place that everyone is accepted and all judgments and stereotypes are pushed aside, allows one to be and discover their true self. That is why HOBY is important.
Among HOBY’s ongoing opportunities for young people to serve and grow, are more than 70 weekend HOBY Leadership Seminars held in the U.S. each spring. These programs are only possible through the efforts of more than 4,000 volunteers dedicated to making a difference for the youth of their state.