ALA - Success Stories

ALA Gregory Mytelka

Gregory Mytelka

Syracuse University | Gloversville High School | Gloversville, New York
HOBY New York East 2014 | ALA Summer 2015

Founder of Walk Off Parkinson's |

“Since my first experience with HOBY as a sophomore in high school, my love for community service and my understanding of the issues that face our world have been continuously heightened. When I was eleven years old, I lost my father to Parkinson's Disease. In the years following my father's death, I dreamed of doing something to benefit the Parkinson's community, raising money for research and honoring my dad. Attending ALA the summer after my junior year instantly inspired me and gave me the necessary skill set to make this dream a reality. In April 2016, after ten months of hard work, the first annual Walk Off Parkinson's 5K Run/Walk took place. Planned and organized completely by myself and my best friend, who lost her grandfather to Parkinson's Disease, Walk Off Parkinson's 2016 raised more than $4,000 for the Parkinson's Disease Foundation and was attended by more than two hundred people from across the Northeastern United States. Parkinson's Disease is the fourteenth leading cause of death in the United States, yet it persists as one of the least 'talked about' disorders in our society. As a result of this lack of awareness and knowledge, a serious lack of funding exists for Parkinson's research. Our initial goal of raising $1,500 was completely surpassed and the event turned into one of the largest events our small-town community had ever seen.

"Without HOBY, it is likely that none of this would have ever happened. I will eternally be grateful to HOBY for being the incredible organization that it is and for repeatedly lighting a flame within me."


ALA Jacqueline Kasinskas

Jacqueline Kasinskas

Mercy High School | Middletown, Connecticut
HOBY Connecticut 2015 | ALA Summer 2015

Feeding Children Everywhere

Jacqueline launched a fundraiser to cover costs of 12,000 meals for hungry people in her local community. HOBY's mantra “empower, lead, excel” has inspired Jacqueline to provide 12,000 meals for hungry people in the region in partnership with Feeding Children Everywhere. The St. Vincent de Paul Amazing Grace food pantry in Middletown and clients of the Mercy Housing and Shelter Corporation will benefit from the effort. She raised $3,244 via an online fundraiser to cover material costs to package 12,000 meals for the Greater Middletown community. Passionate about feeding the hungry, Jacqueline decided to focus her Hugh O’Brian Youth Advanced Leadership Academy Project on hunger in Connecticut..

"My HOBY ALA Project was to partner with Feeding Children Everywhere to raiseover $3,000 to package and deliver 12,000 meals to those in need. With the help of family, friends, HOBY, and the Mercy community I was able to accomplish my goals. Thank you so much to everyone that has supported me throughout this journey."


ALA Connor Kirkpatrick

Connor Kirkpatrick

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill | Lincoln Charter School | Denver, NC
HOBY North Carolina West 2013 | ALA Fall 2014

Using Service to End Domestic Violence Founder, NYLC Youth Advisory Council Member

“When I came home from ALA...I quickly realized that a domestic violence campaign was needed in my community. A friend and I came up with the Next Step Campaign with 3 goals for Lincoln Charter’s students, to step up for themselves and victims of domestic violence through education, to step out into their communities and show their support and spread the awareness through the campaign and service projects, and to step forward to a brighter future together. The results of my project: 20 art students created a photography exhibition for domestic violence awareness, $6000 was raised for The Lincoln County Coalition Against Domestic Violence, domestic violence prevention school assembly held for 300 students, 54 students did a Walk A Mile in Her Shoes, 45 care packages made and delivered to local domestic violence shelter."

"I’ll never forget my HOBY ALA experience! ALA gave me the drive and the critical thinking of planning the project. Thank you so much to all the people who helped put on ALA and with my project. ALA is truly the most meaningful and powerful thing I have ever done."


ALA Noureen Ahmed

Noureen Ahmed

University of Miami | Jensen Beach High School | Coral Gables, FL
HOBY South Florida 2012 & ALA Fall 2013

Feeding Children Everywhere Event Host, Relay for Life Committee Member

“I always knew I enjoyed helping people and putting smiles on their faces, but I was always the shy one who kept to herself. After being introduced to HOBY my sophomore year, my whole world turned upside down. I went from dreaming to doing, and by the end of my senior year I was the leader of 7 organizations and hosted my own Feeding Children Event, where we packed 36,520 meals that went back into our county. My passion is working with children and helping them learn that they are the future and that they have every right to become anything they want. There are no barriers, if you really put your mind to something; one step towards your dream is all it takes. HOBY and ALA have taught me that NO ONE is insignificant, EVERYONE leaves a mark on this earth and it’s your choice to make your own mark a movement."


ALA Ashton Duke

Ashton Duke

Clear Creek High School | League City, TX
HOBY Texas Gulf Coast 2013 & WLC 2013

Founder of Splash Out Lupus-An H20 Event Fundraiser Benefiting the Lupus Foundation

"During my sophomore year, I sat next to a friend and fellow swim teammate in my Pre-Calculus class who had many absences, but never complained about making up all the missed school work or swim practices. My friend suffers from the auto-immune disease lupus."  

"After attending HOBY Texas Gulf Coast and the World Leadership Congress, I was inspired to make a difference. That difference was to start Splash Out Lupus in honor of my friend. The coaches within my school district set rivalries aside to participate in Splash Out Lupus. The fundraiser encouraged swimmers to collect pledges for laps that they swum. Together, we raised $12,554 for lupus research and community outreach programs. In September, I reached out to the Texas Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association and the group agreed to promote Splash Out Lupus as a fundraiser for swim teams statewide. Attending HOBY made me realize that I could make difference."


ALA Kinsey Morrison

Kinsey Morrison

St. Francis School | Louisville, KY
HOBY Kentucky 2012 & ALA Fall 2013

Founder of ‘The 321 Blog'

“After reading an article saying children of gay parents – especially daughters of gay parents – were less likely to graduate high school, I found out that there were no blogs anywhere written by those children about their families. We needed a voice. Because of ALA, I became that voice. I started The 321 Blog – Three Daughters, Two Mothers, One Family, All Awesome – in January, and already have nearly 800 Facebook likes and 8,000 views. Now when you look up “children of gay parents” you hear our story, not a study saying I’m less intelligent because I have two moms. ALA helped me discover the ways I could most effectively change the world.”



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