The 2023 Legacy Leadership Development Summit, held in St. Louis on September 22-23, was a truly remarkable event that brought together 18 collegians and alumni from various Boys Hope Girls Hope affiliates. These young individuals were nominated for their outstanding potential and resilience, and with the support of Aja and Pat Stokes and the dedication of volunteers from Edward Jones and World Wide Technology, this summit became an unforgettable experience.

Diverse Dreams, Shared Aspirations

What made this summit stand out was the diversity of the participants. These 18 attendees were pursuing a wide range of fields, from art to biology, business management, and more. They came from different universities across the country, adding a rich tapestry of backgrounds and experiences to the event.

Day 1: Building Real-World Skills

The summit began with a practical session led by experts from Edward Jones, focusing on resume-building and mastering interview techniques. It was all about getting job-ready and understanding what employers look for in candidates.

Me’yani McDonald, a collegian from Boys Hope Girls Hope of Cincinnati, shared her enthusiasm for the summit, saying, “I knew that coming to the summit would be a great opportunity for me to network and to also gain career preparation to help me in my future.”

After a delicious lunch, the group delved into an introspective session. It was a unique opportunity for the participants to reflect on their strengths, passions, and how their life experiences have shaped them. This exercise was inspired by the book “How to Navigate Life: The New Science of Finding Your Way in School, Career, and Beyond.”

Josh Abzun, a collegian from Boys Hope Girls Hope of Southern California, highlighted the importance of the session: “One key thing I’ve learned is that most job applicants only have six or seven seconds before someone looks further into a resume.”

The day concluded with insights from World Wide Technology experts on making a strong first impression and practical advice on internships and entry-level job opportunities.

Day 2: Shaping Futures

The second day of the summit was equally engaging and productive. Attendees actively participated in a session that explored the possibility of rebranding the organization to better align with its strategic vision and mission. This exercise showcased Boys Hope Girls Hope’s commitment to inclusivity and involving those who have experienced the program firsthand.

Me’yani McDonald also shared her perspective on the summit’s impact, saying, “At the summit, I’ve learned to never choose a career over comfort. Just because a company offers me a lot of money does not mean I have to feel pressure to take it.”

Following another informative session about better supporting scholars and collegians, the group had the honor of attending the 80th birthday celebration of Fr. Paul Sheridan, the visionary founder of Boys Hope Girls Hope. This event allowed attendees to connect with fellow alumni, current team members, and devoted donors who have passionately supported the mission of Boys Hope Girls Hope over the years.

Empowered for the Future

Josh Abzun emphasized the importance of the summit by sharing, “The conference sounded like a terrific opportunity, and I was excited to go to St. Louis, a place I’ve never been before!”

Kristin Ostby, President & CEO of Boys Hope Girls Hope, expressed her hopes for the attendees, saying, “Our goal is to ensure they leave feeling more prepared to succeed in their chosen career path and even more confident that they have a supportive, lifelong community of people in Boys Hope Girls Hope who care about them.”

The 2023 Legacy Leadership Development Summit has been a resounding success, inspiring hope and determination in these young leaders. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the Stokes, Edward Jones, and World Wide Technology for their support in making this incredible opportunity possible. Boys Hope Girls Hope AZ remains committed to guiding and empowering these future leaders, helping them bridge the achievement gap and achieve their career aspirations.