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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

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


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