The Ohio Youth-Led Prevention Network engages young people and youth-led organizations across Ohio to prevent drug use and addiction, teach their peers the importance of self-care, and promote positive mental health. OYLPN was created by youth for youth to create a community of like-minded teens who want to be part of a solution. More than 150 organizations have joined OYLPN since its creation in 2011 by Prevention Action Alliance with funding from the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
To ensure that youth lead the efforts of OYLPN, an OYLPN Youth Council was created to engage youth voices in behavioral health. The OYLPN Youth Council consists of up to 25 high school students from every region of our state. Every year, the OYLPN Youth Council:
- Organizes and leads the We Are The Majority Rally to raise awareness about the fact that most youth do not use drugs.
- Meets with legislators to advocate for youth-led prevention and the promotion of mental health wellness.
- Empowers teens across the state to take a stand for their communities.
- Promotes protective factors in their peers lives to help prevent drug use.
The OYLPN Youth Council allows youth to make a real difference in the lives of teens across Ohio, develop their leadership, public speaking, and advocacy skills and build relationships with other teens dedicated to making our world a better place.
Meet the Youth Council
“My name is Abigail Hockstok, and I am a junior at Little Miami High School. There, I am a member of JROTC as a second-year cadet, and also run cross country and track. When not in school, I volunteer at my church with K-1st grade kids, and love being outside with my family – hiking, biking, or fishing. I chose to apply to OYLPN to find more ways to actively participate in prevention efforts in my community. My goal is to create a healthier, happier world. Before OYLPN, I was a member of the Red Ribbon Council at my school. I am so excited to be a part of making change for my generation and advocating for drug prevention!”
Abigail is a first-year YC member who believes it’s important for teens to work with decision-makers about the issues that impact young people.
“Hi, my name is D’Tron Driessen. I am a 16-year-old junior who attends Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center. I have a strong passion for singing, acting, and poetry. I’m a vocalist from The Paragon Project and an inspiring artist. In my free time, I love to watch TV shows like The Flash or Supergirl. I hope to gain more public speaking and leadership skills, with a hint of publicity from the OYLPN Youth Council. I strive to make a change in the world and hopefully with the help of the OYLPN Youth Council, we can make a difference.”
D’Tron is a first-year YC member who learned about OYLPN from many peers and when he participated in an interview for the 2020 Virtual We Are The Majority Rally.
“My name is Dina Rulli-Heaphey and I am a sophomore at Springfield High School in Clark County. I love going to school and trying new things–I’m currently learning how to box. I am also part of the Gary Geis Dance Company and ballet is probably my favorite. Due to my parents’ art company, I’m immersed in a very creative environment and get to travel all around the globe. I have been doing prevention work for the last few years without realizing groups like OYLPN existed. Now in my own community we have started a county and a school youth coalition. I’m so ecstatic to be a part of OYLPN now.”
Dina is a second-year YC member with a vegetarian diet and her parents’ penchant for photography.
“My name is Luke Watson. I am 15-years-old. I am a freshman at Loveland High School in Loveland, Ohio. I am on the high school boys’ cross-country team. I have also done drama for two years and am a part of the Loveland Educating Against Alcohol and Drugs (LEAAD). Some of the hobbies that I like are running, reading, and cooking. The reason why I wanted to join the OYLPN Youth Council is to help teens say no to drugs and alcohol, and help be the change. As a Youth Council member, I want to give teens a voice and an outlet.”
Luke is a first-year YC member who is excited to take his advocacy skills to the state level and plan the 2021 We Are The Majority Rally.
“My name is Jade Eilers and I’m a 17-year-old senior at Centerville High School in Montgomery County. I am involved heavily in drug prevention, theatre, and pageantry. Through my prevention efforts, I’ve been able to speak at the United Nations, partner with the Foundation for a Drug-Free World, and partner with Steered Straight to go into schools and share with kids that it’s cool to be drug free! I’ve been involved in theatre for around 10 years and have been in over twenty-three shows! Pageantry is a way to advocate for drug prevention and I’ve done that as the National Jr. Teen Captivating Queen, Miss Teen Ohio International, and Miss Ohio High School America. I advocate because I’ve experienced great pain due to family members’ addictions. A fun fact is that I’m Puerto Rican!”
Jade is a third-year YC member who hosted the 2020 Virtual We Are The Majority Rally and participated in the 2019 Prevention Action Alliance Advocacy Day.
“My name is Garrett Wahl. I am a freshman at Washington High School in Washington Court House, although I reside in the Wilmington area. I’ve served as class president for Student Council, am a member of the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council, and the Academy of Scholars. I have also helped my school district develop a Portrait of a Graduate. I enjoy traveling, playing the saxophone, being on the track team, and playing competitive golf. This past year, I became a member of the Fayette County Youth Prevention Coalition. This coalition has allowed me to develop a passion for helping others prevent substance abuse. I am very excited to continue this work as a member of the Ohio Youth-Led Prevention Network.”
Garrett is a first-year YC member who first connected with OYLPN through his speech submission for the 2020 We Are The Majority Rally.
“My name is Isabella Ruiz and I am 17-years-old. I am currently a senior at Archbold High School in Fulton County. I am in Healthy Choices, Caring Communities (HC3) Youth Advisory Council (YAC), band, and show choir. I am excited to get to work with other members of the Youth Council. I am passionate about youth advocacy and youth-led prevention because I believe that this generation has the power to change their current states and just need to create a platform to work from. A fun fact is that I play the clarinet in band.”
Isabella is a second-year YC member who has advocated for vaping prevention with school administration officials as well as legislators in Columbus, Ohio and Washington, D.C.
“My name is Samuel Farmer, I was born and raised in Belmont, Ohio and attend Union Local High School. There I’ve served as the sophomore class president, as well as the co-leader of my school’s youth-led prevention group. From a young age I have had a passion for traveling and music, but last year I have become interested in more activities such as golfing, throwing discus, Future Farmers of America, and last but not least becoming an advocate for youth-led prevention. I have always had a desire to help people, and through this program, my group and I have been given the opportunity to do just that.”
Samuel is a third-year member of the Youth Council who participated as a youth facilitator at the 2019 OYLPN Youth-Led Summit.
“My name is Josie Green and this year I’m a senior at Lebanon High School. In my time outside of school, I enjoy attending high school sporting events, spending time with friends, and traveling. I love trying new things, from attempting to play ultimate frisbee for my school to eating bugs. I’m also part of the Teen Alliance Council of Warren County (TAC), working to fight substance abuse and domestic abuse in my school in my community. I first learned about OYLPN while attending the 2019 We Are the Majority Rally with TAC and I was immediately interested in their ability to influence positive change. I’m so excited to be able to educate other kids on topics that may ultimately change lives.”
Josie is a second-year YC member whose prevention interests also include teaching teens about the importance of healthy relationships.
Josh M. Poole
“My name is Josh Poole and I’m a junior at Westfall High School in Pickaway County. My hobbies are helping in my community and golfing. My interests are helping more with prevention and anything in the medical field. I became interested in the Ohio Youth-Led Prevention Network Youth Council after one of the other Pickaway County Community Foundation Youth Advisory Council members introduced me to it. I have already learned a lot about prevention from school, but I am looking forward to working with my fellow OYLPN YC members. I have always had a passion to help with prevention in my community and by joining the Ohio Youth-Led Prevention Network’s Youth Council I can assist at the state level.”
Josh is a second-year YC member who loves to drink coffee. He also participated in the 2020 Prevention Action Alliance where he advocated for vaping prevention with his state representatives.
“My name is Shamira Guel and I’m 17-years-old. I am a senior at Lebanon High School. I live in Warren County. I am in FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America), Academic Quiz Team, TAC, and the Teen Ambassadors Board for the Ohio Attorney General. When I am not in school I take a pleasure in volunteering and helping my community. Another prevention organization I am in is TAC (Teen Alliance Council). TAC promotes healthy relationships, fights substance abuse, and domestic abuse. I learned about Youth Council through the members in TAC and I decided I wanted to do something even bigger. As teens we truly have the power and potential to influence other teens to make healthy choices. It is important to lead and advocate. Starting that as a teen is better and inspiring to others.”
Shamira is a second-year YC member who has earned awards and medals at the Future Business Leaders of America state conference.
“My name is Samuel Arledge and I am a sophomore at Westfall High School in Pickaway County. There I serve as a member of the Pickaway County Community Foundation Youth Advisory Council where we promote philanthropy with the selfless giving of our time, talent, and treasure. For fun, I enjoy playing sports and spending time with family. My greatest passion of all is weight lifting because it requires hard work and concentration. I am honored to be on the Ohio Youth-Led Prevention Network Youth Council for 2020/2021.”
Samuel, known affectionately as “Todd-Sam” to help us differentiate from the two Samuels on this year’s YC, is a second-year YC member. He also participated in the 2020 Prevention Action Alliance Advocacy Day where he advocated for vaping prevention with his state representatives.
To learn more about or join the Ohio Youth-Led Prevention Network, contact us at (614) 540-9985 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.