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Jacquie Lonning's Fundraiser:

My 30th Birthday

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Jacquie Lonning

THE STORY:

Hi, my name is Jacquie, I have been a volunteer for the HOBY South Dakota program since 2003, and, I'M TURNING 30! I never had the opportunity to go to HOBY in high school, but allow me to share the story of how my life was still changed as a volunteer and how you can help me celebrate!
In college, I studied leadership communication, and upon moving back to South Dakota following graduation, I decided that I wanted to get involved with an organization related to my major. I did a Google search and HOBY was the first thing on the list. I emailed the contacted and was invited to an informational meeting a few months later.
Instantly, I was inspired by the stories and energy of those who led that meeting. I wanted to become more involved, however, I wasn't sure how. I had never been to a HOBY, and looking back, I had NO IDEA what I was getting into. As my first seminar started, I was a Facilitator and had a small group of around 11 youth assigned to me and an amazing junior staff volunteer (alumnus of the program). My j-staffer and the youth assigned to me helped me to realize the potential of the HOBY impact.
When they announced open leadership positions within the organization, I jumped on it. I was selected to attend the HOBY Training Institute (TI), where they bring together a few volunteers from each state to learn about HOBY and discover possibilities of making their site better. I met some extraordinary people from around the country, who continued to motivate me to stick with it.
As my HOBY involvement grew, so did my HOBY family. Each year, I was introduced to more HOBY youth, and more adult volunteers, who became such an inspiration, and such great friends. Its often difficult to discern if these people are friends because I met them through HOBY, or if they do HOBY because they are my friends.
I worked for 7 years at The University of South Dakota in Vermillion on service-learning initiatives, and had the opportunity to work with many alumni as college students. Friendships made at HOBY seemed to stick, and resulted in a great network for them to make changes on the college campus as well.
As my years have progressed, I've heard countless stories of great things from our youth participants, and from the volunteers like me who were never selected to attend in high school. HOBY is outstanding, it has such an amazing impact, and it WILL change the world.

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