Top Youth Motivational Speaker Teams Up With 91,7 FM NGEN Radio for Week-Long Program Jeff Yalden, North America’s Number One Youth Motivational Speaker, spent last week in the Greater Houston Area, mesmerizing markedly different schools, teaming up with Houston-based 91.7 FM NGEN Radio, an alt-pop and hip-hop station, which, according to its website, is focused on bringing music and a message of hope, unity and love. Monday, April 3 started with two programs at Teague Middle School in Humble, Texas, where he presented to a total of about 1000 kids. “This was a very tough audience,” he said. “I promise you, nine out of ten speakers would just get laughed out of that gymnasium, but we had a great talk.” Yalden said it took about five minutes to get the kids to realize that he was legit and that he cared – and had the tools to deliver his message. He got nearly 30 minutes in each assembly, and was brought in by NGEN Radio. “NGEN is a positive radio station, and they are really trying to promote themselves and give back to the community – doing good things for the young people – and I am really impressed with who they are,” he said. “I am working with a team of people who are giving out a lot of T-shirts, towels and backpacks for these kids.” He said it is hard to walk into a school and do something good that the kids and the teachers like equally, but this happened at Teague Middle School. “We did more selfies with the teachers and the staff members than we did with the kids. It was pretty awesome.” His day only half over, Jeff headed over to Summer Creek High School in Houston to deliver his message to ninth and tenth graders – and he pointed out that afternoon assemblies are usually not as effective as morning assemblies. “When you are a funny speaker and the students go with a laugh, it’s very hard to get them to come back, but the ninth-grade assembly went great.” The tenth graders were unruly and disrespectful at first, and if Yalden wasn’t a pro, he might have thrown in the towel. “I walked off stage – and I’ve never walked off a stage in my life – and then [NGEN Radio midday host] Ayana Mack kind of lit into them with some harsh words like, ‘straight up, man – here is this dude who is pouring his heart out to you,’ so I gave it another chance and the kids were great – but I think it was the first time ever where I was like, ‘you know what – I’m done talking, let’s get the music pumping.” Each school had a dance-off with the teachers, which Yalden said was a lot of fun. Day two started out with a presentation to 300 seventh and eighth grade students at Gregory-Lincoln Education Center in South Houston, a K-8 school which includes a fine arts magnet program. “Outside their school, they have a brick roadway, and these bricks were hand-cut by slaves,” he said. “It goes right from their school into downtown Houston.” One of the administrators took Yalden outside to show him the roadway, and told him that it was a point of pride to the students and the community. “I got to thinking that this walkway is kind of like the foundation that we are built on,” he said, adding that he used a similar analogy with the kids – that our lives must be built on a solid foundation. Along with a crew from NGEN Radio, the next stop was Madison High School, once attended by football star Vince Young former Texas star quarterback and first-round pick of the Titans. “We just spoke to the senior class at Madison High School, and we went about an hour and ten minutes with them,” said Yalden. “We had a great talk, but the one thing I wish was that the seniors were more present and opened their hearts to listen.” Regardless, Yalden opened a Q and A session, and he said that some of the students asked some incredible questions, and he realized that some of these students really were listening. Day three blew him away when he arrived at Humble High School to present to 500 freshmen and 500 sophomores. “I knew from the moment that I walked into this school that we had something very special,” he said. “The entrance reads, ‘International Baccalaureate School,’ and the foyer was absolutely gorgeous. Once we walked in there, we just totally rocked it.” Yalden said the kids were so attentive and respectful that he could well have been a preacher – and some of the kids yelled, “bring it” and “preach it, brother.” After that talk, Yalden headed over to NGEN headquarters. “I got to meet about 100 people from the radio station. They had an app last year and just went live with 91.7 FM – and their goal was to hit 100 thousand listeners. Not even a year later, they surpassed their goal and hit just over 200 thousand. At a late morning NGEN worship service, Jeff spoke for 30 minutes to staffers. “I got to share my story about my relationship with God, and talked about how God has impacted my life to the degree that He had. It was just unbelievable,” he said. Jeff and NGEN Radio closed out the week at two schools: South Houston High School and Welch Middle School – and thanks to an intrepid limo driver – he made his flight home. “I think as a team, we got better as the week went on. We just had an amazing time,” he said. To discover more about the Jeff Yalden Experience, visit www.jeffyalden.com. Give your school event a pre-summer push. Book Jeff now by calling 800-948-9289.
Top Youth Motivational Speaker Rocks 32nd Annual Teen Showcase On Thursday, March 30, top youth motivational speaker Jeff Yalden arrived at Illinois Valley Community College in Oglesby, Ill., to deliver a keynote address at the 32nd annual Teen Showcase – an event that aims to empower youth to make the right choices and to embrace a healthy lifestyle – avoiding drugs, alcohol and tobacco, goal setting and more. Teen Showcase is presented by a collective of regional mental health, medical and educational organizations in Illinois – North Central Behavioral Health Systems, LaSalle County Health Department, Bureau-Putnam County Health Department, Community Partners Against Substance Abuse [CPASA], Illinois Valley Community Hospital, St. Margaret’s Health, and Illinois Valley Community College. “This coalition is comprised of some pretty prominent people on the board, but what is great is that they are very, very supportive of youth programs: mental health, drugs – helping youth make good decisions and believe in themselves,” he said, adding that he teamed up with CPASA for a similar event the week before in Princeton, Ill. “They brought me in again today, but this was called Teen Showcase – where I was the opening general sessions speaker to about 620 high school and middle school students – representing 11 different schools in the area,” he said. Yalden focused on teen motivation, and he said the turnout was outstanding. Later, He received emails and messages on social media from young people, letting him know that his words inspired and helped them. “I guess I was a pretty big hit – and that’s a good feeling,” he said. Yalden is not a big fan of waiting to go onstage because he is usually naturally amped-up (he doesn’t normally drink coffee or energy drinks). To get in the zone, he sent up a prayer, did some mindful breathing and listened to some Jason Aldean – and in ten minutes, he was, as he would say, good to go. He covered a lot of ground in nearly 90 minutes, and started out with a question: “Who is the hardest person to get to know? Ourselves,” he said. He spent some time driving home the fact the world owes us nothing, and that he feels that, collectively, we are getting dumber and dumber. “We don’t think anymore,” he said. “We go home and we watch stupid reality television, and over five million [8.6m on Instagram] people are following [Danielle Bregoli] “Cash Me Outside, How Bow Dah.” He said that teachers start by teaching a subject to young people, but when you touch the heart, the mind will follow. Yalden stressed the importance of staying “in purpose.” “Something might take you out of purpose for a day, a week – a couple of weeks – but then there comes that point where you are like, ‘you know what – I’ve got to get up, man.’” He also said that that when you look in the mirror and you don’t like the reflection that looks back – don’t blame it on the mirror. “You have to embrace the process in life. Embrace it as much as it sucks. Embrace it because it’s the process that shapes us,” he said. To find out why Jeff Yalden is North America’s number one youth motivational speaker and to learn more about his programs, visit www.jeffyalden.com. Book Jeff now for your school, organization or event by calling 800-948-9289.
Jeff Yalden Inspires Merrimack Middle School and Endicott College On Tuesday, March 28, North America’s number one youth motivational speaker inspired seventh and eighth graders at Merrimack Middle School in Merrimack, New Hampshire. “This is probably the only program where I ever had cancellations because of snow – and then finally on the third attempt, it worked,” said Jeff Yalden. Having grown up just outside Merrimack, Jeff was happy to be back in his old stomping grounds. “A lot of my friends went to this school or lived in the community. I felt like it was good to be back. I loved the administration and the teachers, and we had a really great time.” He electrified an assembly of 600 kids and later presented an in-service program for the teachers, with a focus on validating who they are and the importance of their work. He also worked with 13 at-risk kids.
[Above: Merrimack Middle School Assembly]Yalden talked about the value of a plan, and told the kids that it wasn’t too early to have a plan for their lives. He said that life will never be fair, but stressed the importance of resiliency. He spoke of trust and the human imperative of helping others. “You know what I think good people do? When we see our peers down-and-out and when we see that our peers need help, we help them out, right?” His teacher in-service program was well-attended, and Yalden pointed out that this was not mandatory for teachers to attend. Yalden’s mantra – Take Time to Think – resonated with Merrimack Middle School Principal Adam Caragher. “I said it in the p.m. announcements today, and it’s something I want to make sure kids are doing – taking time to think,” he said. Assistant principal Shawna D’Amour was pleased with the day as well, and impressed with the number of students who wanted to meet Yalden after he spoke. And a couple of Yalden’s talking points hit home for D’Amour. “Something I really loved is when [Jeff] talked about the Law of Attraction and if you are going to be a victim or a victor, and also – if you look in the mirror, is the person inside as beautiful as the person on the outside. I think that resonated with some of the kids,” she said. As soon as he was finished in Merrimack, Yalden drove 60 miles to Endicott College in Beverly, Mass., where he presented fun program that night called Real Talk for Real Men. Although he said he was expecting to see perhaps 30 students, more than 120 showed up “Quite a few women came out too, and it was awesome,” he said. “I love college students because you can be real and you get to talk the way you want to. After his talk, Yalden was surprised that probably 50 students lined up to shake his hand. Some of them said he was the best speaker they heard in their four years on campus. To discover more about Jeff’s programs, visit www.jeffyalden.com. Jeff’s speaking calendar fills up fast. To book him now, call 800-948-9289.
Jeff Yalden Electrifies Cambridge, MN By Roger Yale for Jeff Yalden, Youth Motivational Speaker On Wednesday, March 22, Jeff Yalden brought his motivational and mental health expertise to Anoka Ramsey Community College in Cambridge, MN, where he spent a full day with the psychology club and the counseling department. Anoka Ramsey was a top-ten finalist for the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence through the Aspen Institute, which is a nonpartisan organization dedicated to educational and policy studies. After breakfast, Yalden spoke with college staff about a message board out in the hallway which had been seen a spike in negative feedback about emotions. “The board usually inspires kids to come check it out, and they would post questions on it, but the school was becoming concerned about their mental health and mental awareness – so they decided to take action and brought me in,” he said. The first step was mindfulness training, which began with an exercise to chart anxiety levels on a scale from one to ten, with ten being the highest. “For us to be healthy, I think we should be operating between two and four,” he said, adding that celebrating little victories and small accomplishments is a good way step back and provide a needed mental break. He spent some time teaching a basic meditation practice of focusing only on breath – the inhale and the exhale – for two minutes. “This slows down your brain – slows the process down,” he said. “We are concerned with how many likes we have on Instagram or who is following us on Snapchat. I think the best thing for you guys is to work hard at finding out who you are – and who you are not.” He went on to talk about his battles with mental health and depression and then shifted to mental health awareness and suicide prevention – how to look out for your friends and not being afraid to say something. “Somebody that isn’t mentally healthy is not thinking in the right frame of mind,” he said. Yalden stressed the importance of getting back “in purpose” after a setback or crisis. “When there is something not right in my life, I go right to the mirror. Take responsibility and be your best advocate.” But sometimes the first and best thing a person can do is to ask for help. “Sometimes the down periods last longer than usual. This is usually the result of chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters being out-of-balance.” Two contributing factors to suicide can be dysthymia [a persistent mild depression] and adjustment disorder [usually following a stressful life event like a death of a loved one, moving, divorce, changing schools]. “If you have any of these for more than two weeks, go talk to somebody,” he said. One student told him, “My tomorrow will be better, and I will not feel down about it. I don’t let myself down because I love myself.” Impressed, Yalden built on that: “You are doing the little things every day to make tomorrow better than today – and you are making today better than yesterday.” But this requires consistency. “That’s an incredible discipline that you have to do every day. The problem is, you can’t just do it once in a while. You do it every single day and your whole life will change,” he said. To find out why Jeff Yalden is North America’s Number One Youth Motivational Speaker, visit www.jeffyalden.com. Book Jeff now for your next event by calling 800-948-9289.
By Roger Yale for Jeff Yalden, Youth Motivational Speaker After he was already booked to speak at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO, North America’s Number One Youth Motivational Speaker Jeff Yalden got an email that there had been a student suicide on campus. “The young man was a sophomore and part of the men’s lacrosse team, and as you can imagine – this rattled the community and the school,” he said, adding that the athletic director asked Yalden if he could come in a day early to speak with the athletes, because they would be out of town competing on March 21, the day he was to speak. This would have involved changing his existing flights, resulting in additional fees that would be passed on to the school. “They said they didn’t have that in their budget, and this weighed on my heart. I told them I would come in on my dime and do it for free. I’d spend an extra day and then come back on the second night,” he said. Ultimately, the school decided to go a different route, and Yalden spoke on the day he was scheduled. “We had a great turnout. About 150 people showed up to the mental health/suicide prevention talk – and we didn’t really talk about the suicide too much, but we addressed it.” Yalden did, however, talk heavily about his three-point theory about teen suicide: 1) I am alone. 2) I am a burden and a liability to other people. 3) I have the desire for suicide. He talked about major depression, which is short but severe – causing young people to feel as if it will never end and prompt a suicide attempt. He mentioned dysthymia, which is a lower-level but constant depression that can also lead to suicide if left undiagnosed. “Suicide is the culmination of a lot of things, and one thing can be the straw that broke the camel’s back,” he said, and addressed the stigma attached to mental health. “None of you are laughing at me because I have glasses – and if I put my glasses on, life gets a little better. Same thing with therapy or maybe going to the doctor and taking medication. You [should] be your best advocate.” Yalden spent some time talking about cell phones and social media, and the effect these things are having on young people today, and said video will soon overtake all other types of content by 2020. Indeed, a recent Cisco study predicted that video will account for 75 percent of web traffic by 2020 [Source: Tubularinsights.com]. “That tells us that if young people are having trouble with social media today, it’s only going to get worse,” he said. Other hot topics that night were boundaries and balance. “I talked a bit about mental health, asking for help, learning how to put priorities and boundaries into their lives – learning to say know and learning to close their circle. It was a well-rounded program. To find out more about Jeff Yalden’s impactful speaking programs, visit www.jeffyalden.com. Jeff’s schedule fills up fast. To book him now for your event or school, call 800-948-9289.
Jeff Yalden Shares Messages of Hope and Comfort to Missouri Communities Rocked by Teen Suicides By Roger Yale for Jeff Yalden, Youth Motivational Speaker According to teen suicide prevention expert Jeff Yalden, the state of Missouri is going through a really tough time right now when it comes to teen suicide. Three weeks ago, Yalden delivered a comprehensive presentation about teen suicide and mental health in Hannibal, MO, and returned this week to Brookfield and Barnard, MO, two communities that are still reeling from the losses of two irreplaceable young people. BROOKFIELD On Tuesday, March 7, students from five schools in Linn County converged on Brookfield High School to hear Jeff Yalden speak to them on their level, and planting seeds of hope, enthusiasm and perseverance – and what he calls a drive for success in their journey of life. He captivated middle and high-schoolers, urging them to live in the now and what that might mean – the ups and downs, the challenges and the victories wrapped up in the everyday moments that, strung together, make up a life. The assembly was only the beginning for Yalden. He was booked by Angie Wallace, who founded the Taylor Gilpin Wallace Foundation for Suicide Prevention on behalf of her son after her son made the forever decision to take his own life. “Angie brought me in for an all-day event – high school kids, middle school kids, a luncheon with the community and a parent program – very similar to Hannibal,” he said, adding that Wallace and her son Tanner attended the program in Hannibal. The luncheon was attended by student council kids, physicians, the CEO of the local hospital, prominent community members and the executive director of the Missouri Association of Student Councils, Terri Johnson. A young man stood up and shared his story from when he was contemplating suicide. “Really, what this day was about was inviting the community to open their hearts and minds and understand mental health and teen suicide and how real it is,” he said. Following a dinner with the Wallace family, which Jeff cites as amazing, warm and generous, it was off to the parent program – which was set up at Park Baptist Church in Brookfield. The program was live on Wallace’s foundation page, garnering appreciative comments from as far afield as Texas. “We had about 200 community members come out to my parent program,” he said. “We had clear eyes and full hearts. We shed tears. We also laughed and did some reflecting. It was a beautiful day.” BARNARD That night, Yalden drove more than two hours to Barnard, MO, where just four weeks ago, a young lady named Baylee ended her own at just 16. “A lot of teachers and counselors said that Baylee was probably the most popular junior in her class and that she was an old soul,” he said, adding that Baylee’s grandfather also committed suicide, and that they were very close. “Baylee had a disease that was a little bit debilitating, but she learned how to deal with it. She had a great personality – vibrant and ornery. You couldn’t help but to love her, they say.” She took her life on February 5 – Super Bowl Sunday. He spoke at South Nodaway High School and noted that the principal, Darbi Bauman, was actually Baylee’s aunt. Guidance counselor Nick Wray coordinated the event, and Yalden met with all the classes individually before delivering a speech at the full assembly. The school serves grades 7-12 with total enrollment of 84 students. Students from nearby Jefferson High School attended the assembly as well. After a brief visit with faculty and staff, Yalden visited Baylee’s family’s house. “I sat down with mom, dad and her sister and heard the story. I read the suicide letter and saw Baylee’s bedroom,” he said. Yalden also saw Baylee’s scrapbook at school, and helped her fellow students clean out her locker – a poignant moment, but one which gave these young people a sense of closure. At the family home, Yalden was hit with a realization. “For the first time in my life, I think I’d come to realize that not all suicides are a selfish individual act, and there’s so much more to explain how I feel about this situation – but Baylee knew what she was doing. It was a combination of many things, and I think Baylee was just really, really tired.” However, Yalden said this left the community rocked to the core. “There is heartache. Everybody is hurting. They were very concerned with the kids and them moving forward. This is a very tight community,” he said. He closed out the night with a family/community program attended by more than 200 family members. “After leaving that community and hearing the hearts of everybody and the pain in those hearts, I’ll tell you – Baylee was definitely the one girl you would want to meet. To discover more about North America’s Number One Youth Motivational Speaker – visit www.jeffyalden.com. Book Jeff now by calling 800-948-9289.
Leading Youth Motivational Speaker Visits Oregon Coast Jeff Yalden Captivates Warrenton Grade School By Roger Yale for Jeff Yalden, Youth Motivational Speaker When Jeff Yalden visited the small coastal community of Warrenton, Oregon on February 28, residents were still reeling from the death of a young man named Trevor Secord in January. A report in The Daily Astorian said that the young man was struck by a pickup truck after exiting a vehicle parked on the shoulder of the road. He was running down in the middle of the highway when it happened. “State Police are investigating whether alcohol may have been a contributing factor in his actions,” the report stated. The state of pain and loss was still evident when Yalden arrived at Warrenton Grade School to give a talk to grades 5-8, and for a workshop with faculty and staff at the end of the day. “Part of me being here is not necessarily about the loss of Trevor – but the memory of Trevor is still very raw to these kids, and this has really affected the community in incredible ways,” he said. Yalden said that one of the things he does as a speaker is to carefully talk about the loss and become one with the audience. “You are feeling their pain and you are sharing your heart,” he said. “We were able to talk a little bit about our choices and our reactions to situations – and the importance of asking for help.” He spoke to 350 kids in the gymnasium, delivering a message about life, bullying, anti-bullying, self-respect and a little bit of mental health. “My friends, don’t let your life be about then. Our life is about today. If we can’t appreciate the today and the now, we will never be grateful for what this journey is all about.” With the help of volunteers from the assembly, Yalden spoke about staying “in purpose.” “I understand that everybody’s heart is still in a lot of pain, with a lot of questions. As you go through life, there are going to be times when you are extremely hurt, sad and rejected,” he said. But the key is to get back up when life knocks you down – and this concept runs like a thread in Yalden’s messages. “In life, there are things that takes us out of purpose. You have a life to live, you have a dream to fulfill – and you are going to execute that plan. You fell down, you pick yourself up – and you get back in purpose.” Yalden spent an hour with faculty and staff, talking about teen mental health, suicide prevention and asking the right questions. “In that hour, we also supported and validated who they are and the work they do with the kids every day,” he said. Warrenton Grade School principal Tom Rogozinski had this to say about Yalden’s visit: “Jeff not only inspired the kids, [but] I think he left them with much to think about that we as a school will be able to build on and from as we build a culture that these kids walk into every day; feeling connected, feeling loved and feeling ready to do their best. Jeff left our staff with some real clear marching orders or recognizing kids at risk – and some steps that we can take to support those kids as well.” After his presentation, Yalden was off to Bend, Oregon and then back to Missouri. To find out why Jeff Yalden is North America’s Number One Youth Motivational Speaker, visit www.jeffyalden.com. Jeff’s speaking calendar fills up fast. To book him now for your school, event or organization, call 800-948-9289. TAGS: Anxiety, Attitude, Choices, Depression, Educational Speaker, Jeff Yalden, Leadership, Middle School Motivational Speaker, Middle School Speaker, Motivational Speaker for Schools, School Assemblies, Suicide, Suicide Prevention, Suicide Prevention Speaker, Teen Mental Health Speaker, Teen Motivational Speaker, Teen Speaker, Teen Suicide, The Boom Mindset, Warrenton, Oregon, Warrenton Grade School, Youth Motivational Speaker
Jeff Yalden: Can You hear Me Now? Top Teen Motivational Speaker Heats Up Heatherwood Middle School By Roger Yale for Jeff Yalden, Youth Motivational Speaker Finding out that there is a problem with a sound system just before delivering a presentation to 1000 middle schoolers can’t be the best way to start the day. But this is exactly what happened on February 27 when Jeff Yalden visited Heatherwood Middle School in Mill Creek, Washington, where he was set to talk to the assembly about mental health, anxiety and depression – and teaching teenagers how to reduce the stresses they face every day. Despite several hiccups with sound and the fact that school started late due to snow, Yalden spoke for 40 minutes in the gymnasium before speaking with to the three grade levels at Heatherwood separately. “It still went well, but here’s the thing I really want to try to explain: I know my best,” he said. “I know what I can deliver – and when I am not given the tools to be able to do my best job, that deeply affects me. The kids don’t know anything different about the presentation, so they can only go off what they are hearing for the first time.” In the assembly, Yalden stressed a simple yet powerful formula for dealing with potentially stressful situations: Stop. Think. Respond. “This means that you now have to take personal responsibility. You have to say, ‘I am responsible for my behavior. I am responsible for the choices that I make. I am responsible for how I respond.” Things started to change for the better when Yalden got the opportunity to speak to three young men about their lives. “We talked about their attitudes, their behaviors and their choices – and I tell you that was awesome. I really enjoyed that one-on-connection that I was able to make with those boys,” he said. A highlight of the day came in the form of a breakthrough with a young lady who had been struggling to the point of despondency. “The principal and I got to talking, and we took her up to the office and were able to chat with her. The counselor came in and we were really able to make great headway with this young lady. I got to work with her one-on-one. We got to find out her story, assess the situation and got to look at the big picture,” he said. It’s amazing what can happen when you push through obstacles and keep going. Yalden closed out the evening with the parent program, which had an impressive turnout of roughly 50 parents. The topic that night was teens and mental health. “We talked about what is important today with our teenagers and raising their self-esteem and how we can go about that – and the importance of our kids learning coping and problem-solving skills,” he said. He warned of the pitfalls of being “helicopter parents,” always hovering and trying to pick up the pieces of our kids’ relationships too fast. Yalden discussed the effects of social media and cell phones and admonished parents to take a more vigilant role – but he also said he wasn’t talking about taking these away either. “Parents really need to start being really proactive and monitor what their kids are doing online and with their cell phones. They need to understand all the social media platforms their kids are using,” he said, adding that our kids don’t have the emotional and mental maturity to be putting all of this stuff out there, and realizing the consequences of what they are putting out there. “One of the best things we can do is to teach our kids how to go through the struggles of life and come out on the other side. And that’s building self-esteem,” he said. To find out more about Jeff’s speaking and coaching programs, visit www.jeffyalden.com. Book Jeff now for your school or organization now by calling 800-948-9289. TAGS: Anxiety, Attitude, Choices, Depression, Educational Speaker, Heatherwood Middle School, Jeff Yalden, Leadership, Middle School Motivational Speaker, Middle School Speaker, Mill Creek, Motivational Speaker for Schools, School Assemblies, Suicide, Suicide Prevention, Suicide Prevention Speaker, Teen Mental Health Speaker, Teen Motivational Speaker, Teen Speaker, Teen Suicide, The Boom Mindset, Youth Motivational Speaker
Top Teen Suicide Prevention Speaker Delivers in Missouri Jeff Yalden Addresses Schools, Parents in Hannibal, MO By Roger Yale for Jeff Yalden, Youth Motivational Speaker On Thursday, February 16, North America’s top teen motivational speaker Jeff Yalden visited Hannibal, Missouri to talk about teen suicide and suicide prevention – and in this part of the “Show Me State,” he was humbled by the people that showed up. Yalden was booked for a full day – presenting to middle school and high school students and teachers, and closed out the evening with a very well-attended parent community program. Hannibal High School lost a popular high school senior, Hannah, to suicide in 2015, just days before she was to graduate. For the middle school, Yalden spoke on topics such as keeping an open heart and fearlessness – about bullying, respect for self and others – and tried-and-true subjects like attitude and choices. Yalden was struck with the ambiance of Hannibal Middle School as soon as he walked into the foyer. “They are the Pirates, so it screams red and black with a lot of kids’ art in the front – and it’s a very enthusiastic building. That first impression is what you want to see in a school,” he said, noting the palpable sense of school spirit and pride emanating through the halls. “There was a very strong synergy in the building. I got to talk to a bunch of kids and teachers afterward,” he said. Yalden joined more than 20 people for lunch at a local eatery, Fiddlestiks Food & Spirts Company. “We had an incredible lunch with movers and shakers in the community, from the school psychologist to the superintendent [Susan Johnson], the resource officer and people from Hannibal Regional Hospital,” he said, adding that some of the folks from the foundations that brought him in were also on hand. Also, these people included Hannah’s parents and another family from Brookfield, MO who had lost a son to suicide and are brining Jeff to their community on March 7, 2017. The groups and individuals sponsoring Yalden’s visit were the Lois Eleanor Neff Foundation, Justin and Brooke Gibson, The Riedel Foundation, Early Bird Kiwanis of Hannibal, R.O. Parker, Hannibal Regional Healthcare System, Casey’s General Stores and the Hannibal Alliance for Youth Success. Yalden said two families lost a child to suicide in the area within the last two years. Lunch conversation centered on making suicide prevention a priority and learning what they can do to be proactive and keep the Mental Health message moving along – Being Proactive. “It was an amazing conversation about how to sustain this and what we can do differently. It was so incredible to see this community coming together and saying, ‘what do we need to do to make this happen’ and put a plan in place. It was great,” he said. When it was time to present to Hannibal High School students, Jeff was surprised that there were no 12th graders in attendance. “That was a little bit disturbing, because the seniors were the ones that had the suicide when they were just finishing the 10th grade – but we had a great assembly regardless.” A pleasant surprise, however, was the fact that 300 parents attended the parent community program later in the evening at the Hannibal Nutrition Center. “We went two hours, talking about suicide prevention, mental health, signs and symptoms and things to look out for,” he said. “We talked about how to be an effective parent and community citizen and open up your heart about suicide and teen mental health – and know that this is real.” Jeff also talked about teen cell phone use, social media, direct and indirect verbal clues about teen suicide and follow-through. He helped Hannibal High School develop a plan about what to do in the event of a suicide. “This is a model community that is doing great things. I had an incredible visit and am very, very honored,” he said. Missouri is experiencing a rash of suicides right now. Jeff is already booked in Brookfield, MO on March 7, Bernard, MO on March 8 and will speak at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO on March 21. To find out more about Jeff Yalden and suicide prevention, visit www.jeffyalden.com To book Jeff now for your school, organization or event, call 800-948-9289. TAGS: Suicide, Teen Suicide, Copycat Suicide, Anxiety, Attitude, Choices, Depression, Hannibal, Missouri, Educational Speaker, High School Assemblies, Suicide Prevention Speaker, High School Motivational Speaker, High School Speaker, Hannibal High School, Hannibal Middle School, Hannibal School District, Leadership, Hannibal Regional Hospital Mental Health, Hannibal Nutrition Center, Middle School Motivational Speaker, Middle School Speaker, Motivational Speaker for Schools, Teen Mental Health Speaker, Teen Motivational Speaker, Teen Speaker, Youth Motivational Speaker, Suicide Prevention
The Best Teen Motivational Speaker Pulls No Punches in Boston By Roger Yale for Jeff Yalden, Youth Motivational Speaker Students Against Destructive Decisions, or SADD, was formed in Massachusetts 1981 and has since grown into a youth health and safety organization with chapters across the United States and the globe. Originally called Students Against Driving Drunk, the organization changed its name in 1997 and broadened its scope to encompass not only underage drinking and impaired driving, but drug use and other destructive decisions impacting the lives of young people. SADD’s mission as summed up on the organization’s website is “to empower young people to successfully confront the risks and pressures that challenge them throughout their daily lives.” North America’s top teen motivational and mental health speaker Jeff Yalden was selected by SADD to speak at Matignon High School in Cambridge, Mass., on Friday, February 17. Matignon High School is a small, co-ed Catholic School on the outskirts of Boston, run by the Archdiocese of Boston. “It’s a very competitive and successful school with a very large international student population,” said Yalden, adding that he addressed grades 9-12 in the last 90 minutes before they left for a week’s vacation – drawing on such topics as perseverance, mental health and adversity. “We had an amazing time. I talked about valuing yourself, attitude, choices and self-respect. We also talked about managing stress and anxiety. It was a great visit,” he said. Yalden also stressed the importance of plans versus dreams. “Dreams need to become plans. You have to feel it, taste it and believe it.” And when life knocks you down, you get back up. On the topic of staying “in purpose,” Jeff encountered a young man who lost his brother last year. In this powerful moment, he said that there is no timetable on the grieving process, but you need to pick yourself back up. “Too many of us are willing to compromise our future – our goals and our plans – for what might make you happy right now. My job as a coach, a teacher and a parent is to get you to see your potential – not for you to see what you think your potential is – but for you to see your potential the way I see your potential,” he said, his voice booming. And you could have heard a pin drop when Yalden’s voice softened and he delivered the following statement to the auditorium: “Wouldn’t it be awesome to live in a world where we could learn to forgive as quickly as we judge?” To say that Yalden was running on fumes might be an understatement. He was operating on three hours of sleep and had just spoken in Hannibal, Mo., the day and night before. “I got to my hotel in St. Louis at 11:30 at night and woke up at three in the morning to fly out at five a.m. to get to Boston at 10:30. I was speaking at Matignon at 12:45 p.m.,” he said. He still cited the experience there as awesome, although he missed his flight back home to Myrtle Beach, SC and had to regroup. “It was all worth it,” he said. “Embrace the journey, my friends. That’s what we’ve got to do.” Find out why Jeff Yalden is North America’s Number One youth motivational speaker by visiting www.jeffyalden.com. Is your school or organization looking for a dynamic and powerful speaker with the uncanny ability to reach young people on their level? Look no further. Book Jeff now by calling 800-948-9289. TAGS: Education Speaker, High School Motivational Assemblies, High School Motivational Speaker, Riverton Junior-Senior High School, Matignon High School, SADD, Archdiocese of Boston, Students Against Destructive Decisions, Boston, MA, Cambridge, MA, Jeff Yalden, Motivational Speaker for Schools, Motivational Speaker for Teens, School Speaker, Teen Mental Health Speaker, Teen Speaker, Youth Motivational speaker, Youth Speaker