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 serve 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 16 years old and a second-year member of the Youth Council. Along with fellow Youth Council members Abby Turner, Katie Doll, and Miranda Kochur, Samuel recently participated as a youth facilitator at the annual OYLPN Youth-Led Summit to help youth participants build skills in strategic planning.
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 junior 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 turns 18-years-old in a few weeks and has been active in YC’s advocacy activities, traveling to Columbus and Washington, DC, to share prevention priorities with his legislators. Roshan is also 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.
OYLPN offers a special congratulations to first-year YC member Logan Kazelman, who took home silver at the 2019 Family, Career and Consumer Leaders of America (FCCLA) National Leadership Conference in California. Logan created a presentation to educate students in Tuscarawas County about the harms of vaping and collected data from his peers. The Buckeye Career Center, where Logan is a student, quoted him in a recent press release as saying “About half of the students polled believed vaping is dangerous. That means the other half of them believe it isn’t dangerous, and that’s alarming.”
Logan’s expertise in the harms of vaping is only one reason why OYLPN is thrilled to welcome him to the Youth Council this year. Logan, a junior at Dover High School, is a leader in local, county, and now state youth-led prevention efforts.