Empower

The Prevention Action & Advocacy Summit

We hosted the first-ever Prevention Action & Advocacy Summit to assemble experts and resources to create and share policy-based solutions to the youth e-cigarette epidemic that has swept the country. This day-long summit brought together more than 180 prevention leaders to learn emerging practices in the prevention youth e-cigarette use.

Logan Kazelman, a member of the Ohio Youth-Led Prevention Network Youth Council at Prevention Action Alliance, presented as the first-ever Prevention Action & Advocacy Summit. Logan taught 40 prevention leaders about the different kinds of e-cigarettes, the health history of e-cigarettes, and how manufacturers market their sleek devices to teens and young adults.

The second Prevention Action & Advocacy Summit will be held virtually in May 2021. The topic will be racism, and we’ll work to address disparities in prevention, promote cultural competency, and examine social determinants of health. Sign up for updates about the Prevention Action & Advocacy Summit on Racism to stay informed.

Funding Innovative Prevention Programs

We awarded 42 grants for a total of $386,016.

Those grants funded a wide array of activities, including supporting youth leaders in prevention and sending them to Washington D.C., building community capacity across the state to prevent problem gambling and promote responsible gambling, and expanding or jump-starting prevention strategies across the state—even when those strategies had to go virtual to meet the needs of their communities during a pandemic.

Creating the Next Generation of Leaders: Roshan’s Story

Roshan Kumar was shocked when he read about two cases of human trafficking that occurred near his home in Dublin, Ohio. He thought he lived in a community that didn’t have to deal with things like that.

“I was 14 years old at the time,” Roshan said. “The reality check that came from my research shocked me, and I saw it as a way to help my community.”

He talked to his mother, who recommended he join the Asian American Community Services. At 14 years old, he joined AACS as a youth ambassador to raise awareness about human trafficking. In that youth-led prevention role, he learned about the Ohio Youth-Led Prevention Network at Prevention Action Alliance and applied to join the OYLPN Youth Council.

The OYLPN Youth Council consists of up to 25 high school students from every region of Ohio that advocates for youth-led prevention with state legislators, empowers teens to stand up for their communities, promotes protective factors in peers’ lives to prevent drug use, and organizes and leads the We Are The Majority Rally, an annual event that draws in thousands of teens to celebrate the healthy choices youth make. Roshan went to his first WATM Rally not as a participant but as a leader.

“Not only was it the first time I had ever been at the We Are The Majority Rally … but it was also my first time on such a big stage in front of so many people,” Roshan said. “My fellow council members and adult ally at the time helped me work through my initial anxiety, gave me a nice start and a place to collect my thoughts, and I was able to present really well.” Participating in the OYLPN Youth Council for four years has helped Roshan grow as a person, public speaker, advocate, leader, and a future doctor.

“I didn’t always use to be a leader,” Roshan said. “I was shy… always second-guessed myself. I kept to myself a lot, but being a part of OYPLN forced me to take a leadership role. I was able to grow from a pretty shy kid to someone who was able to take the role of leadership and continue and grow as OYLPN continued.”

“I’m going to become an osteopathic physician, and a lot of being an osteopathic physician comes from being able to talk to your community and being able to connect with your community as well as possible,” said Roshan. “OYLPN and PAA have both given me opportunities to talk with various people across Ohio whether it be normal kids around different schools in different parts of Ohio or it be school principals or it be the fellow leaders I have to interact with on a month-to-month basis in the Youth Council.”