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. 

My Voice Matters in YAHL by Mayra Amezcua

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


Showing my School the Dangers of Teen Tobacco Use with YAHL

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


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

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


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

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


My Experience with YAHL by Emma Teague

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


Why Health Activism is Important to Me by Lillian Dallis

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


Sparking Change for this Generation and the Next by Braden Mensack

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


Passing Policies to Protect Youth by Aaron Roy

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


My Goal? Stopping Big Tobacco! by Rhianna Dumas

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


Giving a Voice to the Voiceless by My Nguyen

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


My Journey with YAHL by Mayra Amezcua

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


Working Hard to Make a Difference by Essence Felder

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


Why I Joined YAHL by Deiondra Howard

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


Making a Difference in Coalgate, Oklahoma by Brecken Hunt

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


YAHL Impacts My Community for the Better by Carina Chen

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