Santiago Carlos Beunza is an advocate for empowerment and inclusivity. With a heart dedicated to making a difference, he passionately champions for individuals with special needs. In the following article, Santiago Benuza sheds light on the impactful work of HOBY, an organization committed to harnessing the power of coaching to uplift and support these remarkable individuals on their unique journeys.
Founded by Hugh O’Brian, a man with a passion to make a difference, HOBY is his legacy — and what it legacy it is! Since its inception in 1958, the youth leadership organization has empowered over 500,000 students to make positive, long-lasting change in their communities.
Santiago Beunza says that from the Los Angeles-based flagship seminars dedicated to sophomores to the nonprofit’s latest creation of Leadership for Service (L4S), O’Brian’s belief that every human being has exceptional potential lives on in the coaching offered by the HOBY team. And there are thousands of alumni across the country (and overseas) who attest to this.
Santiago Beunza Says HOBY Coaches Cater to Every Diverse Need
The organization’s long history of motivating young individuals to become outstanding leaders, regardless of their background or additional needs, assures people they’re in very capable hands. By using techniques learned over decades, the coaches help young people explore and identify their unique leadership talents.
Santiago Carlos Beunza says that the HOBY team understands that every student is different, so they never attempt to impart any preset attributes onto participants. Instead, there’s an emphasis placed on uniqueness, self-knowledge, and authenticity.
Conformity isn’t the cornerstone of empowerment, and the professionals at this nonprofit take that to heart.
To ensure every individuality is cared for and worked with, HOBY teaches specific leadership principles that students can incorporate in a way that’s bespoke to them. Such principles include:
- Consciousness of personal values, beliefs, and emotions
- Genuineness and honesty
- Personal commitment
- Collaboration to empower the self and those around them
- Common purpose
- Collective analysis of problems and tasks
- Civility, even when different viewpoints arise
- Conflict resolution
Santiago Carlos Beunza explains that the team actively seeks out perspectives that reflect all walks of life, always being sensitive to the diverse backgrounds and special needs of participants, volunteers, students, and the communities. At HOBY, everyone has a chance to be heard and benefit from the programs.
Programs Teaching Everybody That They Can Make a Difference
Regardless of the program, individuals with special needs will gain awareness about themselves and others, apply newly learned skills in their day-to-day life, and leave the course feeling empowered to make a positive difference on their community.
State Leadership Seminars
Santiago Carlos Beunza explains that these seminars welcome community- and school-nominated ambassadors to three/four-day seminars every spring and summer season.
The attending high school sophomores explore their personal leadership values and skills, practicing them with the group of kind-hearted, collaborative, diverse individuals. As the event ticks by, participants leverage their new-found abilities in readiness to change their communities for the better.
But that isn’t all students glean from the seminar.
Held on university or college campuses throughout the country, HOBY State Leadership Seminars provide students with a glimpse of college life while engaging in fun leadership practices. This factor has proved especially useful for participants with additional needs, who may be more apprehensive about the next stage in their academic careers than others.
Santiago Carlos Beunza says that coaches ensure students are always on the right page, providing them with a clearly written curriculum for these three-phase events.
To start with, participants explore their personal leadership style, unlocking their potential. Then, coaches guide them through the group leadership portion, where students apply their awareness during interactions with classmates. Finally, they take all their experiences and put it into true action.
At the end of the seminar, new alumni are challenged to perform 100 hours of community service in the 12 months following the event through the Leadership for Service (L4S) initiative. And with that, students with additional needs are set upon an effective difference-making path — a path some may otherwise believe they couldn’t walk.
Community Leadership Workshops
Also known as CLeW, HOBY’s Community Leadership Workshops are set up by volunteers through the US for ninth-grade participants, acting as an introduction to the aforementioned leadership seminar.
They’re only one-day workshops, making them perfect for those wanting to taste the waters before diving right in.
Santiago Carlos Beunza says that afterward, students are still challenged to complete 100 hours of service to their community. In just this session, participants are encouraged by the coaches to have the confidence to get out into the neighborhood and do these acts of kindness.
Coaches with patient, accepting hearts of gold empower individuals with additional needs to make a positive difference in their communities.