On April 11, youth motivational speaker Jeff Yalden arrived at Hudson Falls High School in Hudson Falls, New York, where he kicked off the school’s career day with one of his hard-hitting assemblies. For Yalden, the third time was the charm. “Weather prevented the first two attempts,” he said, adding that he was on his way the first time – and was actually in town the second time, watching a varsity basketball game the night before – but a snowstorm caused school to be cancelled the next day. “I had to leave and pay my own expenses to come all the way back, but – that’s what you do.” He said that assistant principal Danielle Kuba was his point of contact, and had been trying to get him to come back to speak for the past few years. Jeff’s assembly was followed by a career day, coupled with a St. Baldrick’s Foundation fundraiser for childhood cancer research. In the assembly, Yalden drilled down on topics such as self-esteem and authenticity. “When things aren’t right in my life – even today – the first place I go is to the mirror,” he told them. “The fear of failure – you need to lose that real quick. Value yourself. Figure out who you are now – not who you want to be then – because then may never work out the way you want it to be. And it’s really important to figure out who you are not.” The kids participated in mindfulness training and were exposed to various careers, including law enforcement, education and the military. They were even given pointers on financial planning for their futures. “They had a few former students who were addicted to drugs and had to go to rehab and go through the court system. They came back and spoke to the kids, and they were awesome,” Yalden said. Yalden presented a mental health and teen suicide prevention program. The last part of the day was spent raising money for St. Baldrick’s – and this involved the shaving of heads, including those of students and event coordinator Kim Shea. Yalden offered to pay the difference to make sure Shea had her head shaved, with students chanting, “Shave the Shea! Shave the Shea!” “We raised more than $1000 to conquer kids’ cancer and a great day of school spirit. I am just really inspired about the day here – it’s about the relationship between the kids and the staff – and the staff and the kids. I think all of this contributes to a very successful experience,” he said. Shea was happy to see everybody participating in something above and beyond the confines of a regular school day. “When we have activities like this in our school that aren’t necessarily purely academic – when we take the time to connect with our students in different ways than we connect with them every day – it should encourage them to want to be here, and hopefully they will see all of us – all of the people from the community, all their teachers, their teaching assistants, the support staff in our building – and they will recognize that we really care about them in 100 different ways that they might not really consider on a daily basis,” she said. Kuba cited the day as one of the best she has had since she started there as assistant principal in January. “I loved seeing our kids in a different light,” she said. “I loved seeing them having fun. I loved seeing them connecting with each other – and to see them tune in to Jeff was incredible. To see them connecting with their teachers and the other staff members was just an absolute joy.” Principal Jim Bennefield was equally impressed with the day. “It’s just nice to see our kids live up to their potential. That’s the potential we know they have every day. We don’t get to see that every day, and hopefully we will see more of that going forward,” he said.
Best Youth Motivational Speaker Inspires in Lena, Wisconsin Jeff Yalden Delivers at Wisconsin Student Council Event in Lena, WI. By Roger Yale for Jeff Yalden, Youth Motivational Speaker By all accounts, the school district in the Village of Lena, Wisconsin is a small one – consisting of an elementary school, a combined middle and high school and an alternative school with a total population of just over 400 kids. Lena itself is a very small community. But administrators in many bigger districts with overcrowded and understaffed schools would perhaps see the incredible value in this. The Lena Public School District’s website boasts that “we have low student to teacher ratios as well as the opportunity for individual attention that is attainable in a small district. Some students do not realize the advantage we, as Lena Wildcats, have.” On Monday, February 13, top teen motivational speaker Jeff Yalden was on hand for a high school student council event for 47 students from 9 surrounding schools – speaking on topics from his toolbox such as personal leadership, leading by influence and the importance of believing in yourself. Yalden was impressed with a student named Josh, who displayed excellent leadership traits and unselfishness right off the bat. “We always talk about student leadership and your influence on people. Every school has students or a student we always see sitting alone. We always talk about – ‘hey, go introduce yourself to that person or go befriend that person. Invite them over to sit with your friends.’ Well I brought my nephew Gus to this conference – I just watched [Josh] get up out of his group friends and go introduce himself to Gus and to over to the students sitting alone – and invited them to sit with his group.” To Yalden, that’s what leadership is – reaching out of your comfort zone and making sure that everybody is a part of the team. “Leadership is about doing the right thing,” he said. Lunch was then served by the school’s culinary class. “They did a beautiful lunch. The food class did an incredible job of serving all of the kids and the advisors,” Yalden said. After lunch, Jeff presented a leadership-building activity that he calls “The Longest Human Bridge,” where groups were challenged to connect with each other, with very little contact with the ground. The point of this exercise was summed up by Yalden: “I wanted them to understand the importance of communication and to think outside the box – to work together and to never give up,” he said. Yalden, who has has addressed more than 4000 teen audiences in all 50 states, every province in Canada and 49 countries, said the challenge he encountered with the kids in Lena was that they were very quiet. “We were north of Green Bay by about 30 minutes, and I don’t know if these kids were just shocked, but I have been noticing that a lot of young people today are just very quiet. But nonetheless, they were awesome.” At the end of the day, Yalden spoke to the middle school and high school students from the Lena School District. “It’s hard to make students and adults happy at the same time – but for an hour and ten minutes, we had an absolute blast,” he said. “Kids and teachers were laughing hysterically, and it was so much fun. We talked about believing in yourself, your attitude, your choices – doing the best you can, and goal setting.” Yalden has long believed that a dream will always be a dream unless it is backed up by a plan of action, and he set about to teach these students that important difference. “True leaders do not compare themselves to other people. Too many of you are willing to compromise your success for what you want right now,” he said. Find out why Jeff Yalden is North America’s Number One Youth Motivational Speaker, go to www.jeffyalden.com. Recently, Jeff was the keynote speaker for the Arizona State Student Council Conference too. Watch his video here: To book Jeff now for your event, organization or school now, call 800-948-9289. Best High School Motivational Speaker, Character Education, Character Education Speakers, Lena School District, Lena Wisconsin, High School Speaker, Wisconsin, Wisconsin Schools, Green Bay, Student Council, Leadership, Jeff Yalden, Mental Health Speaker, Teen Mental Health Awareness, Teen Mental Health Speaker, Teen Speaker, Youth Motivational Speaker