A Day in the South Carolina Lowcountry:
Jeff Yalden Inspires, Empowers and Delivers at Hilton Head Prep
Jeff Yalden, the top teen motivational speaker in North America, doesn’t sit still for long.
After 25 years of encouraging parents and inspiring teens with his hard-hitting and heartfelt messages concerning all aspects of adolescent and teen life and the very real struggles associated with it, Yalden has the uncanny ability to meet young people where they live without pulling any punches – and he is not about to stop now.
On January 30, 2017, Jeff spent the day with parents and students at Hilton Head Preparatory School on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
Hilton Head Prep is accredited by the Southern Association of Independent Schools and boasts more than 400 students from Junior Kindergarten through grade 12. Founded in 1965, it is the oldest school on the island. Currently, 100 percent of Hilton Head Prep graduates are accepted to college.
Jeff’s day began with a 45-minute talk with parents, covering topics ranging from teen mental health to social media – with emphasis on the importance of parental involvement in their children’s social media activities.
“When I got there, I asked how many parents were going to show up, and they said they would be excited to have five and ecstatic to have 20. They had over 45 parents come out,” he said.
Last week in Clinton, Indiana, much of Jeff’s message also centered on parental vigilance about social media, and this was a big part of his toolkit for parents in Hilton Head.
“Parents – you have a responsibility to take your kids’ phones by 10:00 at night. Our kids need more sleep, our kids need more exercise and our kids need to eat better foods – and that’s a parental responsibility – so let’s stop blaming it on our teachers and on our educational system,” he said.
He stressed the importance of effective and stronger parenting in our nation today.
“Our kids have a lot more opportunities provided to them than we ever did when we were growing up, and even some of our best kids are getting caught up doing things they shouldn’t be doing. A lot of it is because they are not monitored – and the structure is not there. They are not mentally and emotionally capable of making those well-informed decisions on their own yet.”
At Hilton Head Prep, Jeff spoke to high school students about the importance of goals and staying on track and “in purpose,” using the goal-setting success stories from two students as examples for the group.
“I talked about how life can knock you down, but you get back up,” he said.
At breakfast, Jeff and Hilton Head Prep staff – Tina Webb Browning, Upper School Head – discussed the climate, culture and growth of the school. According to its website, Hilton Head Prep is “a strong, diverse, rigorous and innovative independent school that showcases its values and Hilton Head Island to the world.”
16 countries are represented in its student body.
Later, Jeff spoke to the junior class specifically about leadership, social media and making the best of their senior year.
“We wrapped up the day doing a 35-minute assembly with the middle school kids,” he said. “I kept that really simple about respecting yourself, having a good attitude and making the right choices.”
25 years in, and the Jeff Yalden Experience continues to inspire and empower young people everywhere.
“I love what I do,” he said.
NEXT UP: Des Moines, Iowa – Abraham Lincoln High School.