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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

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

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