On April 19, youth motivational speaker and Amazon bestselling author Jeff Yalden visited Mathews, Virginia – a community in the Chesapeake Bay region of the state. Yalden was invited by the Mathews County Sheriff’s Office to speak to high school and middle school students about life choices, mental health, behavior, and attitude. He also presented to more than 100 parents and community members that night. Investigator April Edwards from the Sheriff’s Office organized Yalden’s visit. It’s fitting that after some due diligence about Yalden himself, she knew that he would be the ideal candidate to instill a sense of purpose, hope and direction to kids who might otherwise be tempted to go down the rabbit hole of risky behaviors and compromise their self-respect. “Jeff Yalden came and took our schools by storm,” said Edwards. “He captured the attention of our students as well as the attention of faculty, administration, law enforcement, parents and many other vested adults from our community.” She added that the kids developed trust in Yalden within two hours and then poured their hearts out to him. “Jeff has a gift, and he has helped many of our children through a very difficult time in their young lives,” she said. “Many of these kids will never forget the day that a motivational speaker captured their attention, their hearts and their minds.” Yalden was grateful to Edwards for going to bat for him. “Thank you for organizing and fighting to make it happen. We made a difference today,” he said. In his more than 25 years working with young people and school communities, he said he has met many awesome teachers, administrators, coaches and counselors, but he cited then-interim and now permanent Mathews High School principal Alexis Foster as one of a kind. “Today’s teens are growing up differently and need trusted adult who can find the perfect balance of understanding, discipline and encouragement, while providing inspiration and hope – an individual who shows beyond any doubt that they truly care about the students that walk through their doors,” Yalden said. “Mr. Foster is the embodiment of empathy and compassion, yet he held the kids accountable in a way that they felt empowered and hopeful – that their needs were being met and that they had solid futures to look forward to.” Foster himself was more than pleased with the result of Edwards’ work to bring Yalden in for the day. “As a school administrator, it’s very difficult to always find the time to say the right things or to do things to motivate your kids – but if you have the time and really care about kids, you need to invite Jeff Yalden to your school,” he said. “Just spending the day with him today, I saw lives changed, kids’ attitudes changed – and parents are now thinking about things that maybe they never thought about before.” What Yalden most wanted to instill in the young people in attendance was the fact that the world owes them nothing. “You get out of it what you put into it,” he said. For more information about Jeff Yalden, go HERE. Learn all about The Jeff Yalden Foundation HERE. To book Jeff now, call (800) 948-9289.