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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.

YAHL works with two campaigns. One of those two campaigns is called CounterAct Tobacco which tries to end tobacco preemption and stop teens from being able to easily access vapes and/or tobacco products. Vaping is unhealthy for many reasons, including it’s poisonous, can cause lung cancer, and it’s addictive. Many kids are in danger because vapes are easily accessible and they come in appealing colors and flavors. Through YAHL we try to improve tobacco laws so we can make it harder for youth to access and get ahold of these tobacco products. As a YAHL member, I raise awareness and educate people.

The other campaign YAHL members work on is Elevate Student Health. Elevate Student Health is trying to provide more physical activity, healthy eating, and safe water to drink at school. Eating unhealthy food is common, many high school students work or are very busy and don’t feel like cooking. But, eating healthy doesn’t have to mean eating salads and drinking water for every meal. Have you ever felt tired after eating at a fast food restaurant or really greasy food? Try trading it out for a more healthy option. As a YAHL member, we help to get healthier options at school. As a YAHL member, I will raise awareness and let people know there are simple options that can make a big difference in your health. YAHL members in my community can be an example and try to eat healthier and teach their young loved ones how to eat healthily. 

It’s sad, but it’s the honest truth that many kids in my generation vape or eat unhealthily and some even do both. I strive to inform everyone I come in contact with about tobacco and unhealthy eating. We want a healthy and outgoing generation.

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 or Elevate. I decided to join because I loved that YAHL is not only pointing out problems in the […]

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 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 want to […]

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 […]

READ MORE

Why Health Activism Matters to Me by Lauren Pinner

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

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 or Elevate. 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 wanted 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?

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 or Elevate. I decided to join because I loved that YAHL is not only pointing out problems in the […]

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 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 want to […]

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 […]

READ MORE

Why Health Activism Matters to Me by Lauren Pinner

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

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 high risk to start vaping, 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!

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 or Elevate. I decided to join because I loved that YAHL is not only pointing out problems in the […]

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 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 want to […]

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 […]

READ MORE

Why Health Activism Matters to Me by Lauren Pinner

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

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

READ MORE

Making a Difference in Coalgate, Oklahoma by Brecken Hunt

Hello everyone, my name is Brecken, I live in Atoka, but 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 want to help my school and community for the future. I attended a summit for the YAHL Leadership Team, and while at the Leadership Team summit I’ve had opportunities to learn more about how I can help my school and community. 

While at the Leadership Team Summit, I have been able to grow as a person. YAHL has helped me to hone in on my skills, such as public speaking, networking, leadership, and more. The opportunities YAHL has given me are endless. For my college application for example, I can use that I’ve been on the Leadership Team for YAHL, along with the amount of community service hours volunteering with YAHL has provided. The experience YAHL has given me will help me be the best, and do the best I can do. The main reason why I joined YAHL was to help regulate tobacco usage among youth and have better health options for my school, Coalgate High School. Many Coalgate High School students have been addicted to or still are addicted to drugs and alcohol, and there are people in our community that have gotten cancer from the local water source. 

If I can help save my school, the future students can live a better life than the youth before them. They will have better and safer water, their physical activity will be better, and they will have healthier options in the cafeteria as well. I want to bring awareness for the people of Oklahoma so they can make a difference in their lives too.

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 or Elevate. I decided to join because I loved that YAHL is not only pointing out problems in the […]

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 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 want to […]

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 […]

READ MORE

Why Health Activism Matters to Me by Lauren Pinner

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

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 Student Health. These campaigns collect surveys and communicate with lawmakers and school administration to change policies to help restrict tobacco usage in youth and encourage them to make healthy decisions. I originally decided to join YAHL so I could be more present in my community and participate in another extracurricular activity. However, now that I have become a leadership team member, I have gained that and so much more such as confidence, social skills, friends, and connections. Plus, the health activism threat YAHL works on is important in the case that a large percentage of Oklahoma youth is unhealthy and use tobacco products. In future years, I hope I can use the tools that YAHL has given me to really make an impact and better my community and its health.

I want to see change within my community because everyday I see many of my peers making bad choices with their life and I am sad to think of how many opportunities are going down the drain due to the lack of knowledge and encouragement. YAHL has helped me accomplish many of my goals. For example, after collecting surveys and talking to people about this campaign I have gained confidence in public speaking and talking to strangers. To make a bigger impact on my community I would like to go on to give a partner presentation to my district’s school board and talk to some of the state’s legislatures.

While my personal goals benefit me and give me motivation, they also help to uplift my community. For example, when I gained experience talking to strangers it helped me to collect more surveys, thus getting more data to convince lawmakers and the people in charge. The others in my community also benefit by being restricted from inhaling toxic chemicals that come from tobacco products, and being provided with healthy options that they can fine tune to habits and routines when they become adults. They can also be benefitted by gaining social skills and confidence if they join this program. They can join if their high school already offers it or they can request it as well! I would definitely recommend this program to anyone as not only can they improve themselves, they also uplift their community simultaneously. 

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 or Elevate. I decided to join because I loved that YAHL is not only pointing out problems in the […]

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 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 want to […]

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 […]

READ MORE

Why Health Activism Matters to Me by Lauren Pinner

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

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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.

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 or Elevate. I decided to join because I loved that YAHL is not only pointing out problems in the […]

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 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 want to […]

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 […]

READ MORE

Why Health Activism Matters to Me by Lauren Pinner

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

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

READ MORE

Why Health Activism Matters to Me by Lauren Pinner

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

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

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

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

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

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 or Elevate. I decided to join because I loved that YAHL is not only pointing out problems in the […]

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 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 want to […]

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 […]

READ MORE

Why Health Activism Matters to Me by Lauren Pinner

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

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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. 

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 or Elevate. I decided to join because I loved that YAHL is not only pointing out problems in the […]

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 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 want to […]

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 […]

READ MORE

Why Health Activism Matters to Me by Lauren Pinner

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

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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!

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 or Elevate. I decided to join because I loved that YAHL is not only pointing out problems in the […]

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 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 want to […]

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 […]

READ MORE

Why Health Activism Matters to Me by Lauren Pinner

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

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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.

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 or Elevate. I decided to join because I loved that YAHL is not only pointing out problems in the […]

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 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 want to […]

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 […]

READ MORE

Why Health Activism Matters to Me by Lauren Pinner

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

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

READ MORE