History of HOBY
In the summer of 1958, actor Hugh O’Brian received the invitation that would change his life.
O’Brian, then 33, was in Winnipeg, Manitoba, parlaying his fame as television’s legendary Wyatt Earp into extra income by guest-starring in a rodeo. Then the cable arrived from French Equatorial Africa: renowned humanitarian and 1952 Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Albert Schweitzer would welcome him at any time.
O’Brian had long admired the German doctor-missionary-theologian-musician. “I’d read so much about him,” he recalls. “He was a great humanitarian who could have done anything he wanted in the world, and there he was in the middle of Africa taking care of people.” Within two weeks O’Brian was on his way, by commercial airliner, bush plane and canoe, to the famed hospital that Schweitzer had founded on the banks of the Ogooue River in Lambarene. The actor spent nine days at the clinic where Schweitzer and volunteer doctors and nurses, working without electricity or running water, cared for patients, including many with leprosy.
The doctor was impressed that the young American had taken the trouble to visit him. He shared stories and life lessons with O’Brian each evening. Schweitzer, then 83, was concerned about global peace prospects and was convinced that the United States should take a leadership role in achieving peace. He impressed upon the young O’Brian the urgency for change and how education must teach young people to think for themselves. It was an unforgettable nine days. And, as O’Brian departed, Schweitzer took his hand and asked, “Hugh, what are you going to do with this?” Two weeks after returning from his 1958 meeting with Schweitzer, O’Brian put together a prototype seminar for young leaders — HOBY. And the rest is living history.
HOBY programs are conducted annually throughout the United States, serving local and international high school students. HOBY programs provide students selected by their schools to participate in unique leadership training, service-learning and motivation-building experiences.
HOBY also provides adults with opportunities to make a significant impact on the lives of youth by volunteering. Over 4,000 committed HOBY volunteers plan and execute the programs each year, serving both at the local HOBY affiliate level and on HOBY’s Board of Trustees. Due to the selfless efforts of volunteers and the contributions of generous donors, nearly 10,000 students participate in HOBY programs annually.
Today, over 375,000 proud alumni make HOBY stronger than ever. HOBY alumni are leaders in their schools and communities, throughout the United States and the world, making a difference for others through service. Want to see the impact of HOBY firsthand? Get involved as a student, school, parent, alumna/us, volunteer or supporter.
To inspire and develop our global community of youth and volunteers to a life dedicated to leadership, service and innovation.
For over five decades, Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) has inspired young people to make a difference and become catalysts for positive change in their home, school, workplace, and community. As America’s foremost youth leadership organization, HOBY has a long and impressive history of successfully motivating youth and volunteers to outstanding leadership. HOBY aims to inspire and develop our global community of youth & volunteers to a life dedicated to leadership, service, and innovation.
To motivate and empower individuals to make a positive difference within our global society, through understanding and action, based on effective and compassionate leadership.
Volunteerism – Volunteerism is the heart and soul of our organization. We appreciate the myriad contributions of our volunteers, and recognize the power of thank you and of giving back. We seek to promote and encourage service among our stakeholders. We recognize and value the positive accomplishments that volunteers can achieve by working together. We believe that our programs positively impact volunteers as much as the youth and communities we serve.
Integrity – Integrity forms the foundation of our organization. We demand the highest level of ethics. We grow our organization based on interactions that promote mutual trust and respect with our stakeholders and partners. We strive to ensure the highest level of organizational effectiveness by continually reviewing our programs and processes to improve quality and efficiency.
Excellence – We strive to continually raise our programs and business to new levels of excellence. We encourage entrepreneurship and innovation in business, education, and social responsibility. We develop creative solutions to address challenges and to utilize opportunities. We believe that leadership skills can and should be continually improved and refined.
Diversity – We value and embrace diversity. We seek out views that reflect all walks of life, and reflect those views in our programs. We are sensitive to the special needs and diverse backgrounds of individuals. We give all individuals an equal opportunity to be heard and to benefit from our programs.
Community Partnership – We value community partnerships. We recognize the importance of working with community organizations to strengthen our supportive network. We value the input we receive from our community partners, and strive to work together cooperatively and constructively for the betterment of all.