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 15 high school students from regions around 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 an impact 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
Anthony Holfinger (he/him)
“My name is Anthony Holfinger and I am a Junior at London High School. I love to participate in the various clubs my school has to offer, including Thespian Society, Musicals, Plays, Spanish Club, Junior States of America, Quick Recall, and Teen Leaders of London. Out of school, I love to go on bike rides and participate in prevention programs like The Youth Ambassadors, OYLPN, and a teen advisory board under Attorney General Dave Yost. My hope is to improve my community and my state through youth prevention strategies. My plans for after school is to study aerospace engineering at the University of Cincinnati.”
Garrett Wahl (he/him)
“My name is Garrett Wahl. I am a sophomore at Washington High School in Washington Court House, although I reside in the Wilmington area. I am a member of The Academy of Scholars. I also enjoy playing the saxophone in both the marching and concert bands. I am active in Student Government, DECA, and Finance Club. I am a varsity golfer and enjoy playing in competitive leagues during the summer. After becoming a member of the Fayette County Youth Coalition, I decided that I would like to become a part of the Ohio Youth-Led Prevention Network. My involvement in these groups has allowed me to develop a passion for helping others prevent substance misuse. I am very excited to continue this work as a member of the Ohio Youth-Led Prevention Network.”
Halen Swickard (she/her)
“Hello, my name is Halen Swickard and I’m a senior at Newark high school and a first-year member of OLYPN. I have 3-year varsity letters in both volleyball and swim, along with serving as a captain for both teams. I hold a 4.1 GPA and plan to graduate as a class valedictorian, a member of the national honor society, the president of the key club, a part of the student council, and in the Sinfonia orchestra. I’m excited to join OLYPN because there is a lot of change needed in our communities in terms of mental health and drug prevention, so let’s start today!”
Josh Poole (he/him)
“My name is Josh Poole, I’m a senior at Westfall High school in Pickaway county. I became interested in the Ohio Youth-Led Prevention Network’s Youth Council because one of my Youth Advisory Council members introduced me to the OYLPN Youth Council, so I applied. After hearing what the group was I knew that it was something that had a passion and that I was interested in getting even more involved with. 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 with joining the Ohio Youth-Led Prevention Network’s Youth Council I can assist at the state level.”
Karlee Clark (she/her)
“My name is Karlee Clark, and I am currently a junior at Newark High School. I am involved in many programs and activities in my school and community. I am a third-year cadet in my school’s JROTC unit, I hold multiple leadership positions in our unit such as Special Teams Deputy Commander and Varsity Competition Color Guard Commander. Some other activities and clubs I’m involved in are school softball, travel softball, varsity girls golf, and national honor society. I am also a lifeguard at a local waterpark and youth water safety is very important to me. My favorite things to do are going to school events with friends, spending time with my family and teammates, and traveling. I’m very excited to be on the youth council this year and have the opportunity to work with other teens that are working towards a common goal. I decided to become an advocate for drug prevention because I have experienced the pain of losing friends and family members from addiction. I want to be a part of the change in my generation and community. I want to show teens that there are safe and healthy outlets.”
Luke Watson (he/him)
“My name is Luke Watson. I am 17 years old and a sophomore at Loveland High School in Loveland, Ohio. This is my second year here at OYLPN. Last year I got the opportunity to help develop and implement the WE ARE THE MAJORITY RALLY. I am 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 am so active in prevention work is that I want teens to know that they can make healthy choices. As a Youth Council member, I want to give teens a voice and an outlet.”
MacKenzie Long (she/her)
“Hi, My name is MacKenzie Long and I am a 17-year-old junior at Miami Trace High school. I am heavily involved in many school activities especially clubs. I am President of Miami Traces’ Science Club, Drug Prevention Coalition, and Secretary for the Junior class. I also participate in Drama Club, The Superintendents Advisory Council, Concert and Symphonic Band, Student Government, Color Guard, Swim, and Track & Field. I have a passion for changing the world and that is why I joined youth prevention and Ohio Youth-Led Prevention Network. In the end, our future generations can make the biggest impact!”
Monica Cox (she/her)
“My name is Monica Cox! I’m 16 and a sophomore at Springfield High School. My favorite thing to do is talk with people! Educated conversations empower me to improve myself and help others learn alongside me. I strive to become someone who can be looked up to and inspire others. I’m incredibly passionate about current issues and wish to be a part of the much-needed change. With experience in OYLPN’s incredible program, I hope to make my people and hometown proud!”
Noah Chesshir (he/him)
“My name is Noah Chesshir, I’m 14 and I am a freshman at Global Impact STEM Academy. I love singing, dancing, and acting and have done community theatre since the age of 7! In my hometown, I am the President of my class FFA chapter. In 2019 I began my role in prevention as a part of my local youth-led group. I’m so excited to serve on the Youth Council this year and I can’t wait to meet new friends and get to talk with people who all share the same passion.”
Sam Arledge (he/him)
“My name is Sam Arledge and I am a Junior 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 tobacco and vaping prevention. I am honored to be on the Ohio Youth-Led Prevention Network Youth Council for 2021/2022.”
Tayanna Bagrowski (she/her)
“My name is Tayanna Bagrowski, and I am a sophomore at Archbold High School in Fulton County, Ohio. I’m involved in many activities in and outside of school. For example, I play sousaphone and baritone in the band, I play tennis, I’m an officer in my local FFA, I’m on my school’s quiz team and mock trial team, I’m in my county’s local youth council, and more! In my free time, I enjoy listening to music, reading, and playing tennis. I joined OYLPN to meet other like-minded students from all over Ohio. I’m excited to gain more awareness about underage substance abuse in Ohio and how to prevent it.”
Ally Sprow (she/her)
“Hi there! My name is Ally Sprow. I am a senior at Delta High School and a freshman at the University of Toledo through College Credit Plus. At my high school, I captain the cheerleading team, lead Student Council, and take part in other activities like Spanish Club and Leadership Board on Youth Advisory Council, my home prevention group. In my free time, I love to bake and even sell some of my treats to friends and family! When I’m not working on one of these things, I’m probably studying for my biology major (with a pre-med concentration). I hope to use the skills I learn in OYLPN to better understand and work with the community around me when I practice medicine.”
To learn more about or join the Ohio Youth-Led Prevention Network, contact us at (614) 540-9985 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.