An Open Thank You Letter To Hugh O'Brian

An Open Thank You Letter To Hugh O'Brian

Thank you, Hugh.
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Dear Hugh O’Brian;

You changed my life, just like you changed the lives of thousands of individuals across the world; and thousands of hearts are heavy after receiving the news of your passing. Dr. Schweitzer told you, “The most important thing in education is to teach young people to think for themselves.” You took those fifteen words and created the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Organization: an organization that has changed the world through enthusiasm, love and service.

I think I speak on behalf of thousands of people when I say we will make it our mission to continue carrying out your vision for the world, because we have adapted the same vision. You did not teach us what to think, but you taught us how to think, and because of that the chain reaction you started will never end. A passion like yours does not wither away, but is instead an eternal flame which will live in every heart you touched. You cultivated leaders like no other, and your organization will continue to mold and empower these young people, because your legacy will live on.

The organization you created is anything but an ordinary leadership organization. HOBY has become a safe place for thousands of people, and that alone is an irreplaceable privilege. The environment one is immersed in at a HOBY seminar cannot be found anywhere else on Earth – it is a place full of enthusiasm and passion, hate does not exist, love is given freely and service is valued above all else. This is the environment you created, and this is what we will share with the rest of the world.

You believed in the most “controversial” group of people in the world: young people. You believed in us so much, you dedicated 58 years of your life to cultivating us into the leaders you knew we could be. Thank you for believing in us, investing in us and giving us wings to fly.

The amount of thanks you deserve is an incomprehensible number which I will never do justice, but I, like many others, owe so much of the life I live to you. Without you, so many of the people in my life whom I love unconditionally would be strangers, I would not have found the place I belong, I would not see the world through the beautiful lens of which I now experience life – I simply would not be anything like the person I am today without you, Hugh. I thank you with all my heart for changing my life in the best ways possible. I hope to make you proud by changing the lives of others in the ways you changed mine.

“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. This is the legacy we will continue, these are the words we will live by and you will always be our hero. God bless you, and may you rest in peace.



All my love and HOBY Hugs,

A passionate HOBY volunteer

Cover Image Credit: Emalie Shaffer

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18 Things That Happen When You Get A Good Roommate

Not every roommate story is a bad one.
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Whenever you hear about roommate stories, they're almost never good, and they usually scare you into never wanting a roommate. "Did you hear her roommate steals her clothes?" "Her roommate doesn't shower!" "Wow, her roommate doesn't talk at all, and doesn't do laundry." From what I hear, there are more bad stories than good. That is why I consider myself lucky, because my roommate is nothing like one of those bad stories. When life hands you a good roommate after talking to about 40 girls through Facebook, a few things happen.

1. You always have someone to talk to.

2. You know each other's schedules, and whenever you both have a break is an exciting time.

3. You'll never have to dance alone.


4. You always have someone to do something with, even if it's just walking down the hall.

5. You both look out for each other, because this is your first time without your parents.

6. You always have a shoulder to lean on when things get tough.

7. Borrowing each other's things is a daily thing.

8. You TRY to help with each other's homework and assignments.

9. They're encouraging when it comes to boys. (Unless they're a f*ckboy.)

10. They're your biggest support system and your personal cheerleader.

11. They never forget to wish you luck on a big exam.

12. They accept how gross you are in the morning and not so pleasant sometimes.

13. You both know each other's favorite and least favorite things.

14. Leaving each other notes saying goodbye before class if you don't see them is normal.

15. Saying goodbye for breaks is upsetting.

16. Not seeing them all day is upsetting.

17. You have more pictures together than any of your other friends.

18. You found a best friend for life.

Cover Image Credit: Jordan Griffin

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Hello, 20, I Can't Wait To See What You Offer Me

The past 19 years were a blessing and I cannot wait to see what 20 has in store for me.

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Turning twenty is nothing special. My birthday was just another day, but, when I look back on the past nineteen years of my life, I see how special everything is.

In the past year alone, I have seen the most growth in myself. I found a better sense of who I am and who I want to be. I surrounded myself with better people and stepped away from toxic people. I pushed myself to try new things and trust in God more.

I remember being a little girl, fishing with my dad, playing with Barbies and being read bedtime stories every night.

I remember looking in the mirror as a little girl and picturing myself looking like my mom as a teenager and an adult.

When I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always said I wanted to be a ballerina, play hockey and make wine. Then in high school, I was asked what college I wanted to go to. In college, I am asked what I am majoring in. Now, I am asked what I am going to do after college and my friends and I are talking about retirement plans and weddings.

I have come so far from my dreams as a little girl, but the end goal is still the same: be happy.

When we are little, we hold our parents' hands in the parking lot, we go to them when we have a bad dream and we run to their arms when we have had a bad day. Now, I am nearly completely on my own.

My mom doesn't wake me up in the morning, so if I sleep through my alarm, I am screwed. My parents aren't holding my hands anymore so if I get lost or trip, I have to pick myself up and find my own way. When I have a long day and it just seems like everything is falling apart, I have to get myself together.

We rush to grow up and be on our own.

Then we get bills and we get fired from our job and we run out of clean clothes to wear and the dishes pile up and we realize that growing up isn't all we dreamed it would be. I know that no matter how old I am, I will still call my parents asking for help and I will still sit in my mom's lap. Because I am learning that adults don't know what they are doing, they just aren't afraid to ask questions.

There are a lot of people that start asking me what I will do after school, where I want to live, when I will get married and when I will have kids. I promise myself not to rush further into adulthood. I want to enjoy each day without worrying about tomorrow or the next 10 years. I will appreciate living in a dorm, stressing out over exams and eating copious amounts of ramen because the stressors I will face in the next 10 years will make me miss these moments.

So, when I blow out the candles on my birthday, I wish for happiness, not only for myself but for my friends and family.

I wish for strength because the next few years are not going to be easy. I wish for guidance, because I know I can't do it on my own. I wish for more laughs, more smiles, more puppy kisses and more memories.

I hope that 20 is the best year yet and I can't wait to see how much I change in the next year.

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