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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 Tobacco, which aims to eliminate youth tobacco use in the community. Throughout my involvement in YAHL, I have had numerous opportunities, including delivering presentations to local boards in my community to raise awareness about youth tobacco use. Additionally, I have met with my principal to address outdated wellness policies and participated in an event promoting healthier eating habits among students.

One of the most memorable experiences I’ve had through YAHL was attending the Leadership Team Summit in Oklahoma City. This event allowed me to develop public speaking, leadership and networking skills. More importantly it provided an opportunity to form lifelong friendships. As a part of the leadership team, I had the privilege of visiting the Oklahoma State Capitol where I engaged in discussions about YAHL with policymakers and representatives. Our conversations centered around our two campaigns and how those in positions to effect direct change in our state could contribute.

In the upcoming year my goal is to be more involved in YAHL and actively recruit more individuals to join the organization. I initially joined YAHL for the free Subway sandwiches at our school’s training. I have witnessed the positive impact it had on both myself and others. My experience transformed me into a passionate advocate as it opened my eyes to the importance of having a voice in my community and contributing to the overall health of my state.

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

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 learned about important health issues and how to be active in the YAHL program at Purcell HS. I learned many things that I didn’t know about like the fact that one third of the youth in Oklahoma are overweight or obese. I was surprised by that! I honestly didn’t think it was going to be that bad. I also learned about the many negative effects of smoking and vaping and how the tobacco companies advertise to kids. I didn’t know that, and I wanted to do something about it. I wanted to help make a change.
I participated in opportunities for both the Elevate Student Health Campaign and the CounterAct Tobacco Campaign. I helped host our school’s Swap Up Day for Elevate Student Health as well as a Halloween event for CounterAct Tobacco. Swap Up Day took place during lunch at my school, and the Halloween event took place at the lake in my town. I had so much fun at these events!
The experience I got from the two events helped me grow more confident in what I was doing to help with YAHL and the important health issues in Oklahoma. I have seen many fellow classmates vape in school. I wish to see less of this in my community, and I want to help with this issue. I joined YAHL because I wanted to make a change within my community. Making a change within my community is important to me because I have seen the negative effects of smoking and vaping and what the effects have done to people within my family. 

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

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 Youth
Action for Health Leadership. YAHL has two campaigns – CounterAct Tobacco and Elevate
Student Health. CounterAct Tobacco is trying to reduce underage tobacco use while Elevate
Student Health is trying to increase access to healthy food and drinks and physical activity in
schools. Elevate Student Health surveys are targeted towards students and staff at schools and
CounterAct Tobacco surveys are targeted to community members and parents of youth.
I joined YAHL when it first came in 2021. Since then, I have been a part of the leadership team
for two years. As a YAHL member, I have attended multiple events with other YAHL members.
The opportunities I have participated in so far include a principal meeting, fall festival event,
YAHL Leadership Summit, SwapUp Day and Take Down Tobacco Day! These opportunities
help me with my public speaking skills, career skills and networking skills. YAHL opportunities
impact our progress for a healthier Oklahoma. Leading these opportunities helps to change
Oklahoma state policies by collecting measures of progress like surveys and pledge cards to
show support from our community members. I look forward to participating in podcasts, school
board meetings and partner presentations in the upcoming year. One thing about YAHL is that
no matter where you live in Oklahoma, you can spread awareness about health issues.
Everyone can relate to health issues in some way, whether it’s themselves or a friend or family
member. Spreading awareness to other people is one reason I continue to be a part of YAHL.
Another great thing about YAHL is that every voice matters! My voice mattering to someone
other than my family is my drive to keep spreading awareness about how we can create a
healthier Oklahoma. Most people are unaware of the problems students face daily. YAHL is so
important for the future generations. Thank you for supporting YAHL.

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

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 of my peers about the unhealthy rabbit holes that Oklahoma’s youth are vulnerable to. These include following an unhealthy diet with little to no physical exercise and carelessly abusing harmful and addictive nicotine products. I also learned of the two campaigns that YAHL focuses on: CounterAct Tobacco and Elevate Student Health.

The CounterAct Tobacco campaign works towards changing policies to restrict youth’s access to nicotine products. Personally, I know multiple students who use vapes and even actively sell vapes in their schools. The campaign collects surveys in the community to present statistical data to Oklahoma legislators and senators. During the St. Patrick’s Day CounterAct Tobacco event, I was tasked with asking strangers to fill out the survey. This was my first experience regularly talking to strangers, and although it was difficult at first, I came out a more confident person. 

The Elevate Student Health campaign works towards changing policies to allow students healthier options and health education in schools. This campaign also collects surveys. However, they are strictly from students, school staff and parents. In my school, which is in OKCPS, students have complete access to water fountains, healthy options at lunch and are required to have one physical education credit to graduate. However, after attending the YAHL leadership team summit, I have seen many different student perspectives. YAHL is unique in that it connects students across the state and provides opportunities to students in rural areas. During the summit, other students shared their experiences about unsafe water fountains, very limited food options and no time allotted for movement. I have learned about the scarcity of healthy options and education in the underfunded schools outside of the city. 

I joined YAHL to have a bigger impact whilst being involved in my community. Additionally, YAHL is amazing for expanding viewpoints and improving one’s communication, leadership and public speaking skills. Youth activism is important because the younger generation needs to be prepared to take on the bigger challenges of the future.

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 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 adults! Health activism matters to me personally because family, friends and colleagues may have unhealthy addictions, and I wish to be there for them to overcome their problems, better themselves and learn things along the way.

Many teens, no matter gender, race or religion have come together as YAHL members to help those who are in need overcome health problems. In YAHL, I collect surveys for our two campaigns, CounterAct Tobacco and Elevate Student Health. When collecting surveys, I talk to people in my community and bond with new people.

I hope to better people in Oklahoma and make huge changes in other people’s lives by helping them with their problems. For my school, city and family members, I want them to know how unhealthy things can have a big effect on their everyday lives and have them realize what they can do to overcome these things. Others in the YAHL community may learn new things and overcome their own unhealthy habits by helping others in need. People in my community can come together as one to help those who are in need/help with unhealthy habits that affect their everyday lives.

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

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.

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

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 community and be able to address issues I care about. 

For CounterAct Tobacco, we are working to promote comprehensive tobacco retail licensing. For example, we want to make sure all tobacco retailers have a license to sell vapes and e-cigs. I have seen teens accessing vapes from gas stations and from strangers, and this is concerning to me. Smoking and vapes are the hardest to dodge when there are ads and the access to them in gas stations and convenience stores is so easy. They always put beautiful colors and flavors in front of kids’ eye levels. The flavors and vapes are often advertised as not being as bad as cigarettes, but vapes still contain toxic levels of nicotine when you smoke them. You are literally putting nickels and metals into your lungs – that’s dangerous. 

For Elevate Student Health, we are working to put healthy food options in schools and improve school wellness policies. I see that many schools in Oklahoma, especially in rural areas or small towns, don’t have access to clean drinking water or healthy food options. I see easy access to junk food at school. For example, in school when they are selling foods for clubs, events and fundraisers, the majority of the time it is junk foods containing high calories and trans fats. Through Elevate Student Health we are working to create alternative healthy options like trail mix or fruits and vegetables. This may face some challenges, but it will feel good when I see my friends and teachers more active, happy and healthy from the food they are eating. 

With YAHL I will put a voice to the voiceless to help Oklahomans see that vapes are not safe and there are policies that can protect us. I want to help Oklahoma schools be the healthiest they can be.  I hope that through my efforts members of my community can understand the dangers of tobacco and the importance of healthy schools.

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

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: 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 eating really greasy food? Try trading it out for healthier 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.

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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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?

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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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