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 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 this past 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 17 years old and a second-year member of the Youth Council. In addition to the 2019 We Are the Majority Rally, Samuel also participated as a youth facilitator at the first OYLPN Youth-Led Summit.
My name is Josie Green and I’m going to be a junior this coming year. I attend Lebanon High School in Warren County. 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. Aside from OYLPN Youth Council, I’m part of the Teen Alliance Council of Warren County, working to fight substance and domestic abuse in my community. Previous to my involvement in the Teen Alliance Council there was no involvement from my particular school but I worked to develop an involvement with my school. I love prevention work because of how it provides the opportunity to get involved and through even the smallest actions potentially change lives.
Josie will begin her first year as a Youth Council member at the annual retreat this August.
My name is Jessica Scruggs and I am a senior at Pickerington High School North. I have many interests such as theatre, fine arts, reading, and playing varsity tennis for my school. I have been a Girl Scout for 12 years and have earned the Gold Award, which is the highest attainable award within the organization. In addition to this, I am in National Honors Society, Key Club, Drug Free Club of America (Officer), National Art Honor Society, and a school leadership program known as Sunny Side Up. I am thankful for my family and friends who push me to grow and allow me to better myself and the world around me.
Jessica will begin her first year as a Youth Council member at the annual retreat this August.
My name is Roshan Kumar and I’m a senior at Dublin Jerome High School. I found OYLPN through the Asian American Community Services, where I was raising awareness for human trafficking in Columbus. I have been on the council since my freshman year and I have been loving every year! I love martial arts (at Dynamic Self Defense) and I love to play videogames! But most of all, I love my family, both my actual family and my OYLPN family.
Roshan is 18 years old and is a fourth-year YC member. He’s traveled to Columbus and Washington, DC, to share prevention priorities with legislators and is well known for his public speaking skills, dedication to schoolwork, and love of puns.
My name is Samuel Arledge and I am a freshman 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 2019/2020.
Samuel, known affectionately as ‘Sam-Todd’ to help us differentiate from the two Samuels on this year’s YC, is a first-year member.
My name is Logan Kazelman. I reside in Tuscarawas county, where I attend school at Dover High School and Buckeye Career Center. At Buckeye, I am in the Teaching Professions program because I want to major in early childhood education. Outside of OYLPN Youth Council, I am a member of the National Honors Society, lead my school’s youth-led prevention program, mentor an elementary student through Big Brothers Big Sisters, and am an officer for my school’s Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) chapter. While not partaking in prevention efforts and other school-related activities, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, riding my bike, and playing with my dog.
Logan is a first-year YC member active in his home groups of Dover Youth-to-Youth and Tuscarawas County Youth-2-Youth.
My name is Dina Rulli-Heaphey and I am a freshman at Springfield High School in Clark County. I love going to school and am part of clubs such as newspaper, student council, and anti-bullying club. I am also part of the Gary Geis Dance Company and tap dance 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 are starting a county and a school youth coalition. I’m so ecstatic to be a part of OYLPN now.
Dina is a first-year YC member with a vegetarian diet and her parents’ penchant for photography.
I am a senior at Waynesville High School in Warren County. I participate in student activities such as Student Council, Teen Alliance Council, and athletics. During the 2018-2019 school year, I received the Student of the Year Award and an academic letter for maintaining a 3.75 GPA the entire year. I plan to attend college to become a full time pastor and adjunct professor of biblical studies. I found out about the Ohio Youth-Led Prevention Council through a leader in the Teen Council in Lebanon. I feel honored to be able to participate in OYLPN because I am passionate about helping to solve the myriad of issues facing me and my peers.
Grant is a first-year YC member who proved himself fearless on the high ropes course at this year’s annual retreat.
My name is Haiven Pepper and I am a senior at Miami Trace High School. Some of my interests include reading, theatre, politics, and fitness. In school, I am a member of Key Club, National Honors Society, and play varsity tennis. In addition to this, I am also a member of my school’s prevention group “Lead Out Loud” and a member of the prevention coalition in my county. From a young age, I’ve loved the idea of helping people and have always stood up for what I believe in. By being a part of this council, I will be doing just that. I enjoy advocating for my beliefs—mental health being a huge component of my advocacy—and appreciate the opportunity to continue that within OYLPN!
Haiven is a first-year YC member who has participated in local activism efforts.
My name is Isabella Ruiz and I am 17 years old. I am currently a junior at Archbold High School in Fulton County. I am in Healthy Choices, Caring Communities (HC3) Youth Advisory Council (YAC), band, show choir, and tennis. 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 first-year YC member whose HC3 YAC activities have included youth marijuana prevention education and engaging school administration in her county around the issue of vaping.
My name is Jade Eilers and I’m a 16-year-old junior 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 and Miss Teen Ohio International. 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 second-year YC member who first joined us on Legislative Day in February 2019 and dove right into Youth Council activities, even speaking on the steps of the Ohio Statehouse during the We Are the Majority Rally in 2019.
Josh M. Poole
My name is Josh Poole and I’m a sophomore 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 first-year YC who loves to drink coffee and play “mafia” around the campfire.
My name is Lipika Narisetti, and I am currently a senior at Hilliard Darby High School. I am passionate about neuroscience and joined OYLPN to educate youth on the effects of substance abuse on the brain. In school, I am co-president of the Girls in Science club, through which I mentor female elementary school students in STEM fields. I am also a research assistant in a psychology lab at OSU and a member of National Honor Society. Outside of school, I am involved in the community through my service on the Franklin County Youth Council and Ohio Attorney General Teen Ambassador Board. In my free time, I enjoy relaxing with friends and family.
Lipika is a first-year YC member. She discovered OYLPN after she read Sam Quinones’ book Dreamland and researched how to become involved in prevention work.
My name is Shamira Guel and I’m 16 years old. I am a junior at Lebanon High School. I live in Warren County. I am in FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America), Academic Quiz Team, TAC, and I do ballet. Another prevention organization I’m in is TAC (Teen Alliance Council). TAC promotes healthy relationships, fights substance abuse, and domestic abuse. I learned about Youth Council through members in TAC and I decided I wanted to do something even bigger and to apply. I am really excited about informing other teens about vaping and helping out. 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 first-year YC member who has earned awards and medals at the FBLA state conference.