Why Health Activism Matters to Me by Lauren Pinner

Hi my name is Lauren Pinner, I live in OKC, and I am 14 years old. Last year I joined the YAHL program at my school. Yahl is a youth leadership program, and we are trying to make Oklahoma a healthier place. I decided to join the yahl program because it has amazing goals and I believe that it can truly make a difference for our future generations. Health activism matters to me because many kids aren’t taught healthy habits at a young age, and teens are getting targeted by tobacco companies. 

Most schools don’t have a policy for having healthy food options, testing their waters, and physical activity for teens. Teens are supposed to have at least 60 minutes of physical activity everyday and schools aren’t encouraging it. Teens are also getting targeted by tobacco companies again by selling flavored vape products by doing the same thing that they did years ago by saying they are a healthier way to smoke. They are trying to get people addicted at a young age so they get more money. 

In the near future we can help give healthier life styles to youth, and get clean water for the schools that don’t have it. We will also stop tobacco companies from targeting youth with vaping products. Tobacco companies need to have a strict policy for who they sell their products to or else they will always keep making new products to sell to teens. Yahl is an amazing program and I believe that it will make a huge difference in the near future.

Differences it can make: if youth don’t have any tobacco vaping products then schools don’t need the smoke detectors in bathrooms. That would let them have extra spending money for getting waters tested, and healthier food options in our cafeterias. If we eat healthier and have more physical activities then we will have more energy and will be able to focus more to preform better in school. 

You can help by joining the YAHL team and recruiting other high schoolers to help grow our team!

Making a Difference: My Journey with YAHL and Health Advocacy in High School

by Brayden Duncan Hey, everyone! I’m Brayden Duncan, and I’m about to start my Junior year at Howe High School. I’ve been involved in YAHL (Youth Action for Health Leadership) for about a year now, and it’s been awesome. YAHL has two campaigns: CounterAct Tobacco and Elevate Student Health. Let’s dive into what CounterAct Tobacco […]


Making My Community Better Through YAHL by Aaliyah Larson

My name is Aaliyah Larson, and I’m currently a sophomore attending Stilwell High School. I joined YAHL in 2022, marking my first year on the YAHL Leadership Team. Being on the Leadership Team has provided an invaluable opportunity, enabling me to make new connections, practice my public speaking skills and make positive changes within my […]


Advocating for Health: My YAHL Journey by Frankie Linker

My name is Frankie. I’m 16 years old and getting ready for my junior year of high school. I wanted to share my experience with an amazing program called Youth Action for Health Leadership (YAHL). When I first learned about YAHL, I was intrigued. It offered a chance to truly make a difference in my […]


Empowering Change: My Journey with Youth Action for Health Leadership (YAHL) by Lacey Laymon

I am Lacey Laymon, a senior at Keys High School, and I have been a member of Youth Action for Health Leadership (YAHL) for two years. Currently, I serve on the state leadership team. YAHL actively engages in two youth-led campaigns: Elevate Student Health, which focuses on maintaining the health of our schools, and CounterAct […]


Making a Change in My Community by Kaydence Townsend

My name is Kaydence, and I attend Purcell High School. I first heard about Youth Action for Health Leadership (YAHL) from Aisha – one of the YAHL staff – in my class during school. To become a member of YAHL, I had to go to the training for YAHL members in the fall where we […]


Gaining Confidence as a Member of Youth Action for Health Leadership by Miguel Ramirez

My name is Miguel, and I am a junior at Howe Public Schools and a member of Youth Action for Health Leadership (YAHL). I have worked with other YAHL members on different campaign opportunities. I started getting involved in YAHL by going to the YAHL training at my school in the fall. At the training […]


My Voice Matters in YAHL by Mayra Amezcua

My name is Mayra Amezcua, and I am a junior at Howe Public Schools. YAHL stands for YouthAction for Health Leadership. YAHL has two campaigns – CounterAct Tobacco and ElevateStudent Health. CounterAct Tobacco is trying to reduce underage tobacco use while ElevateStudent Health is trying to increase access to healthy food and drinks and physical […]


Showing my School the Dangers of Teen Tobacco Use with YAHL

My name is Brayden Duncan, and I’m going to be a junior at Howe High School. I have been in YAHL for about a year. YAHL has two campaigns named Counteract Tobacco and Elevate Student Health. My first YAHL event was our fall festival, where we were able to collect a lot of surveys for […]


How YAHL’s Campaigns Showed Me a New Perspective on Oklahoma Health Disparities

My name is Carina Chen. I am a junior at Classen SAS @NE High School and a member of the leadership team at Youth Action for Health and Leadership (YAHL). I first heard about YAHL in my biomedical class from my Youth Field Organizer (YAHL supervisor), Beverly. During the training, Beverly educated me and many […]


How YAHL Leadership Team Prepared Me to Make Change by Payton Bounds

My name is Payton Bounds; I am a senior at Purcell High School. I have worked with many students who are a part of YAHL and on the leadership team. At the YAHL summit, we all gather from across Oklahoma for a few days to learn more about leadership. I originally joined YAHL for the […]


My Experience with YAHL by Emma Teague

I am Emma Teague, and I am going to be a senior at Keys High School. This year is my first year being on the Youth Action for Health Leadership (YAHL) leadership team. My first experience with YAHL was at the training hosted at my high school. Later that year, I participated in YAHL Swap […]


Why Health Activism is Important to Me by Lillian Dallis

My name is Lillian. I am 15, and I’m from Park Hill, Tahlequah. YAHL is a program that talks about unhealthy ways and habits that can affect your life. You may learn new things, meet new people and make new friends along the way! We talk about how to better Oklahoma for kids, teens and […]


Sparking Change for this Generation and the Next by Braden Mensack

My name is Braden Mensack. I am a senior from Keys High School and have beenadvocating through the Youth Action for Health Leadership (YAHL) program for almost twoyears. YAHL is a youth-led advocacy organization focused on improving the health andwell-being of youth in the state of Oklahoma. I decided that I needed to join the […]


Passing Policies to Protect Youth by Aaron Roy

Hello, my name is Aaron Roy, and I’m 15 and from Duncan OK. I work with the youth program called YAHL which is an acronym for Youth Action for Health Leadership. We try to raise health standards for youth all over Oklahoma. I joined YAHL to become a better version of myself. I’m glad that […]


My Goal? Stopping Big Tobacco! by Rhianna Dumas

My name is Rhianna Dumas, and I’m 14. I was born in Guthrie, Oklahoma, and stayed there until I was 7; now I live in Oklahoma City. This past year I joined a program called YAHL. YAHL stands for Youth Action for Health Leadership, and we work with TSET to get better health choices at […]


Giving a Voice to the Voiceless by My Nguyen

Hello, my name is My Nguyen, I am 15, and I live in Oklahoma City. I’m a member of YAHL, which stands for Youth Action for Health Leadership. In YAHL, we work on two youth-led campaigns: CounterAct Tobacco and Elevate Student Health. I joined YAHL because it is a really good way to help my […]


My Journey with YAHL by Mayra Amezcua

Hi, my name is Mayra, and I’m from Howe Public Schools. I am currently 14 years old. I’m a part of an organization called Youth Action for Health Leadership or YAHL. I joined YAHL to try something new. When I joined, I was hoping to gain leadership skills, better public speaking skills and earn scholarships. […]


Working Hard to Make a Difference by Essence Felder

Hello, I’m Essence Felder. I currently live in OKC, Oklahoma, and I’m 16. YAHL stands for Youth Action for Health Leadership. YAHL’s main goal is to better youth’s lives as a whole, be it through CounterAct Tobacco or Elevate Student Health. I decided to join because I loved that YAHL is not only pointing out […]


Why I Joined YAHL by Deiondra Howard

I am Deiondra Howard. I’m from Coalgate, Oklahoma, and I’m currently 16 years old. I chose to join YAHL because I want to improve my community. As a teen in high school, I am exposed to a lot of vaping on a daily basis. I think that YAHL can help to improve the problem of […]


Making a Difference in Coalgate, Oklahoma by Brecken Hunt

Hello everyone, my name is Brecken. I live in Atoka, but I go to school in Coalgate, and I am 16. I work with a student-led organization called YAHL. YAHL stands for Youth Action for Health Leadership. I joined for two reasons. First, I wanted to have a bit of fun, and second, I wanted […]


YAHL Impacts My Community for the Better by Carina Chen

Hello, my name is Carina Chen. I am fourteen years old, I am from Oklahoma and last, but definitely not least, I am a member of the leadership team at YAHL. YAHL stands for Youth Action for Health and Leadership, and they are a health activist group working towards two campaigns: CounterAct Tobacco and Elevate […]