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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 been
advocating through the Youth Action for Health Leadership (YAHL) program for almost two
years. YAHL is a youth-led advocacy organization focused on improving the health and
well-being of youth in the state of Oklahoma. I decided that I needed to join the YAHL program
because I felt that it was my duty to make a difference and spark change within my community,
but I knew I couldn’t do it alone. The YAHL program became the perfect way for me to make a
difference while helping myself, and not to mention, have fun! The two issues that I see above
all else in my generation’s youth are their seemingly obligatory tendency to follow what everyone
else is doing and their decreased care for their own bodies. Both of these issues are
becoming increasingly more relevant from generation to generation.

First, people within my age group, based on what I have seen from my friends and peers,
have an almost indescribable desire or need to do whatever the people around them are doing; an example of this would be everyone wearing the same new shoes. This is obviously unhealthy as it deflects individualization which, in turn, creates situations in which youth believe that if they do not fit in with these social spaces, they are less than. But, more specifically, this is unhealthy for physical health with vaping becoming such an epidemic, and youth today believe that they are not “cool” if they don’t vape. YAHL has stepped in to fight this youth desire to be like everyone else by combating the vaping epidemic; more specifically, we, as youth advocates, fight these issues that we see on a legislative level. A change in legislation that puts power back into local communities’ hands and prevents big tobacco companies from selling to minors would change the youth’s mentality on what the people around them are doing and would promote the individualization of my generation.

Second, my generation has shown a significant decrease in the care of their health when
compared to other generations. I have seen this within my own school through the increased use of both alcohol and vapor products by my peers. This also goes to show how far the effects of a lack of youth individualization can go; the increase in the desire to be like others creates a decrease in the care and well-being of our own bodies. As an organization of youth fighting for youth, we must continue to go against the grain and continue to fight these harmful trends on a legislative level in order to change the actions and outcomes of our own generation.

With our generations becoming ever more connected, we must remember that at the end
of the day, we’re the same humans as those one hundred years ago. Though the increase in social media and pop culture trends has shifted our viewpoints from that of an individualistic standpoint to that of a cultural one, we must sit back and remember that, at the end of the day, we’re all just human. We must use organizations such as YAHL to advocate and raise awareness of these increasing social issues and fight them at the source–before they become an issue for future generations. The YAHL program has given me great advocacy opportunities and I have already begun to see the changes reflected in not only my peers, but also my school as a whole.

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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. […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 I’m part of YAHL because I think we can make an impact by passing policies and informing teens about the dangers of tobacco products.

Some things I’ve noticed about teens when it comes to tobacco is that they are likely to fall into peer pressure and that they are able to access nicotine products. Peer pressure is a big problem in high school and middle school because if someone sees all of their friends smoking and vaping then teens think, “What’s wrong if I do it?”. That’s what a lot of teens think when they’re with friends trying new things; they do what the person they trust does. It’s incredibly unhealthy, not only because of them trying dangerous products like vapes but also because they lose their individualism. Through YAHL we can better educate teens about tobacco and vapes so they might not give in to peer pressure as easily. I know that I will try my best to show others that you don’t have to follow the social norms to be liked. 

Buying nicotine products is easy for teens. That statement should either surprise you or worry you. In Oklahoma, we don’t have comprehensive retail licensing in place to protect youth from vapes and nicotine products. Vaping has nicotine, an addictive material, and other harmful materials in it like lead, nickel and other metals. Through YAHL and one of the campaigns we work on, CounterAct Tobacco, we work to improve Oklahoma’s licensing policy on e-cigs and vapes. 

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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. […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 problems in the community, but they are actively trying to fix them. A couple of these problems are: hard to access water, wide-spread nicotine/tobacco products in schools (vape, e-cigs, ect.) and little to no healthy options at lunch. All of these problems, and more, YAHL can help to change for the better.

Water is a vital part of being healthy; especially during the hotter parts of the school year. Water not being widely available during school makes a lot of students dehydrated. In that state, it is very hard to learn. Elevate Student Health meets with people who can fix that (principals, etc.).

Nicotine products are all over schools. Everyone my age either knows someone who used nicotine/tobacco products or uses them themselves. CounterAct Tobacco wants to take power away from “Big Tobacco”. They want to make sure that teens don’t have any access to any nicotine products.

Schools don’t have healthy options anymore, or if they do, they are unappealing. YAHL wants to make sure that every school has good healthy food. As the saying goes, “If you eat well, you play well and you work well.” 

YAHL sees the problems with Oklahoma and works hard to fix them. Do you?

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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. […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 teen vaping. 

Why is teen vaping a problem? Using nicotine in adolescence can harm the parts of the brain that control attention, learning, mood and impulse control. With YAHL we are trying to take power out of the Big Tobacco company’s hands. 

YAHL also has another campaign called Elevate Student Health. What Elevate Student Health is trying to do is change school policies so school youth have access to healthy foods, physical activity, and safe, clean water.

Teens, especially between the ages of 14 -17, are at a high risk of starting, and children between the ages of 5 to 6 are at the highest risk of becoming overweight. As YAHL members we want to help better these problems!

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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. […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

Being a YAHL Leadership Team Member – Casey Stewart

Hello, I’m Casey Stewart from Wynnewood High School. YAHL was introduced to our school around January of 2022. When I heard about YAHL, I initially signed up because I wanted prizes from the prize store, but during events and trainings I have grown to love everything about the program.

My absolute favorite thing I have done with YAHL was the Leadership Team. The Leadership Team was something that we had to apply for so we could attend the Summit in June. When I arrived in OKC for the Summit I was a little bit nervous that it was going to be boring, and I was even more nervous when my best friend and I weren’t assigned for roommates, and don’t even get me started on the first time we had to walk to dinner in the summer heat. Once I overcame the heat and the challenges of trying to meet new people, I had a great time. We learned about how to talk to adults and how to tell people about YAHL and our two campaigns: CounterAct and Elevate Student Health. We also learned about Public speaking and how we can recruit new members to YAHL.

The Leadership Team will also be great for events that I participate in in the future. Last year I did an event with Elevate where we got surveys, looking back on that we didn’t really know as much about Elevate, we really just told them to take the survey and get a prize. Now that I have attended the Leadership summit I know how to properly tell people about Elevate and CounterAct. This coming year I hope to be able to recruit more students to our program and participate in more events.

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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. […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

Why I Joined the YAHL Team

Hello, my name is Karli Everett from Chelsea, Ok and I’m 14 years old. I am apart of a program called  YAHL. YAHL is a youth led organization to help teens have better physical activity and healthy foods along with having clean drinking water. I hope to gain more leadership skills along with better public speaking skills. I joined because I want to change the tobacco laws where tobacco products are out of reach for young children, teens, and young adults. Two unhealthy trends I see in my generation are lack of physical activity and vaping which we can help because if we take power out of big tobacco companies hands and give  it to ourselves, we can help get the tobacco products out of reach with our CounterAct Tobacco campaign and we can help get physical activity into schools with our Elevate Student Health campaign.

Lack of physical activity is making my generation have more health problems like obesity, diabetes, and even heart problems. Its affecting mainly 11 to 24 year olds. I think YAHL can help by promoting more physical activity by having posters up around the schools along with promoting the program during activities in the school and community. I will be talking to my principal and school board to help get my school to add in the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Members of the community can partner with the YAHL program and support us by letting us talk to their audience and collect surveys based on our campaigns.

The CounterAct campaign has taught me how vaping is unhealthy because it is harmful to the body and organs. Did you know Oklahoma is only 1 of 20 states without retail licensure for e-cigarettes, vapor, and other nicotine products? Requiring a licensure helps regulate nicotine products and the sale of nicotine products to children. 90% of nicotine addictions start before the user is 18. The young teens ages 15-17 are mainly affected by vaping, and I know many of my peers are in this category. YAHL can help by requiring stores to have a license to sell tobacco/vapor products and that could help reduce the use of products in young adults and teens.

I want to help reduce the use of tobacco/vapor products in youth and help youth get more physical activity. I want to help by talking to my school board or my principal to pass a new policy. You can help support YAHL, because with you, we can help make Oklahoma a better, safer environment for everyone. Join YAHL today by going to my.yahlok.org/apply. 

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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. […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

YAHL Leadership Team Prepares for Summit

This June a group of YAHL leaders from around Oklahoma will meet for four days in OKC at the first annual YAHL Leadership Team Summit. These students applied for this select opportunity for a variety of reasons, but they are united by a passion for the health of themselves and their peers. Here’s a look at what some of our Leadership Team have to say.

Some of the students are passionate about the issues of teen tobacco-use and obesity. Aidan Moistner says, “I want to be in YAHL LT so I can spread awareness about teen smoking and obesity.” Lacey Lamon is motivated by change: “I’m very passionate about not only a healthy school but a healthy community free from tobacco so this was a very great opportunity to share some policy ideas for community members that can help make change.” And Aaron Roy is focussed on policy change. He says, “I want to be immersed in the YAHL LT so that I can develop the required skills to lead a team, talk to a public group, and to encourage/persuade people to join the cause that I am wanting them to join.” At Summit, these students will get to share ideas around YAHL issues and get ready to make a difference in their communities next school year.

Others are excited by gaining leadership skills and meeting other YAHL leaders from around the state. Grace Foster wants to make friends and learn how to make her school a safer environment for all. Naquya Ellison agrees and wants “to help people be better and help communities succeed.” Braden Mensack says, “I hope to meet with fellow leaders from my state and learn about further opportunities.” At Summit these YAHL Leadership Team members will work together to do good and make a difference.

YAHL has had an amazing first year, and with an amazing group of students prepared to form our first leadership team, year two looks to be even better. At summit, this group of YAHL leaders will gain the skills, knowledge, and confidence to be the leaders our state needs. They will also connect with other YAHL leaders to make their efforts travel even further. It’s going to be a great summer for YAHL!

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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. […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

What I Learned about the CounterAct Tobacco Campaign

By Natiya Ellison

My name is Natiya Ellison, and I go to Southeast high school. I am in the 9th grade. This is my first year with the YAHL program. I will be talking about the CounterAct Tobacco campaign and the policies that affect youth.

The YAHL staff educated us about tobacco policies during our training. We learned that minors get in more trouble if they buy tobacco products from stores, and if they get caught, the store just gets charged a fine. Learning this highlighted for me why the policies are very important. I believe this also isn’t right because people are dying from this. Cigarettes are one of the most dangerous tobacco products. Tobacco can cause cancer and so much more. Some Oklahomans are ok with this because they probably do not know this is happening.

The CounterAct Tobacco Campaign works on helping youth stop and prevents others from using Tobacco and vaping products. I think this will stop others and help them make better choices. I know joining the YAHL program helps you realize that it’s terrible for your body when you smoke or vape, such as your lungs, heart, etc. My part in the program is to help by educating people about YAHL, collecting surveys, and teaching my peers how we are purposely targeted with ads and products. I am willing to help them stop before it’s too late. You never know if your family members could be next.

The CounterAct Tobacco campaign helps people understand the effects of using Tobacco. The tobacco industry tries to get young children to smoke to make a profit off of youth by getting them interested in smoking at an early age. They do this every year because the people are dying from Tobacco, so they target new people in new ways. They don’t care about your health. They care about your money.

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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. […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

The Damages of Tobacco

Hello, my name is Grace Burton. I live in Stilwell, Oklahoma, and I am a junior at Stilwell High School. YAHL stands for Youth Action for Health Leadership. YAHL is a program that promotes a tobacco-free, healthy lifestyle by promoting comprehensive retail licensing for vapes & strengthening school wellness policies. What I hope to get out of YAHL are opportunities for leadership and to promote a tobacco-free lifestyle for youth around me. Kids my age are getting addicted to using nicotine way too young. Vapes and alcohol are very popular with today’s youth. I believe YAHL can help the growing problem of substance addiction. 

Why is vaping unhealthy? Vapes contain nicotine and other potentially harmful ingredients such as ultrafine particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs. This is dangerous because vaping can lead to higher risks of getting lung disease and lung cancer. Kids experiencing anxiety from school, or toxic home life situations, are most likely to be exposed to these products. YAHL can help because there are opportunities to reach these young children and get the word out that vaping is becoming a problem with these young children. Young children may not listen to adults but tend to look up to older teens, like myself, who this program is led by. Community members can help by supporting the policies the YAHL program is trying to promote.

Alcohol is toxic for youth in many ways. People under the age of 21 have brains that are not fully developed, which can lead to alcoholism. Some of the following are risks that come with alcohol addiction are: High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, & digestive problems. Teens with family members who are addicted to alcohol are more at risk than others to use alcohol. YAHL can help this issue by reaching these children on social media by showing them how to live healthy and why it is important. Community members can help by supporting the policies that YAHL are trying to promote.

I am passionate about trying to get youth tobacco-free. As a YAHL member it is our duty to help these kids who got addicted way too young. You can learn more by following YAHL on Instagram @yahloklahoma, or by checking out the website at www.yahlok.org.

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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. […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

Checotah High School Sophomore Keeps Active with YAHL

My name is Aiyana Brewer. I will be a 2025 graduate from Checotah High School. Like my school experience, this is my first year with YAHL. As you may know, YAHL is a Program of TSET for Health Leadership.

Youth Action for Health Leadership (YAHL) helps communities and teens live a healthier lifestyle such as physical activities, drinking water, and eating healthier foods. Physical activity impacts my life because I play sports such as basketball, track, and cross country. Along with sports I have to eat healthy to stay in shape. Being healthy and active is very important to me. My family and I all believe being healthy mentally and physically is the number one thing. 

At school, nutrition is important. At lunch it’s required to get a fruit and they recommend drinking a lot of water. We also have a courtyard for the people at lunch to be active. My school has after school programs that help people stay active and healthy. Although the school does have its flaws such as vending machines, junk food, and celebrations. Personally I think it’s okay to have these things but i feel we don’t need as much as we have. With YAHL and the Elevate Student Health policy it could help students be healthier.

With YAHL I have helped my school stay healthy by doing things such as, helping in our Winter Wonderland event, taking surveys, helping others take surveys, and spreading the word about YAHL. Things that I have learned with YAHL are that students actually want to live healthier lives. By changing the current health policies in Oklahoma, we can help students stay healthy!

Written by: Aiyana Brewer

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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 […]

READ MORE

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. […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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