ADAPAO Youth Award 2020 Recipient: Jesseca Housel

Posted on: December 28, 2020 11:00 am

Jesseca Housel has received the ADAPAO Youth Prevention Alumni Award, which recognizes an alumnus of youth-based prevention who continues to promote core prevention values and beliefs as a young adult. 

As the history of the prevention field in Ohio demonstrates, youth-led and youth-engaged prevention can spark lifelong investment in prevention. Some teens engaged in youth-led prevention will actually pursue prevention as a career. Others will apply their prevention knowledge and commitment to other career paths. Even more will continue to integrate prevention in their personal lives, supporting their communities, positively influencing their families and friends, and creating community change.

Jesseca, who a 2018 high school graduate, was a youth-led prevention pioneer as a student at Jefferson High School in Ashtabula County. While in high school, she was one of just two students from her area to attend Ohio Teen Institute, or OTI, the statewide youth-led prevention conference. But she was inspired by the learning and the new relationships she developed. So, she started a TI group in her area.

Jesseca was not only a leader in her new local program, but also accepted the mantle on the state level, returning to OTI as youth staff her final two years in high school.

But graduation didn’t end her prevention commitment. After her freshman year at Kent State University, Jesseca took on an intern role at OTI. As an intern, she stood out from the start, making it her mission to ensure that year’s conference participants had as memorable experience as she did when she attended OTI as a high school student. 

She spring-boarded her intern experience into joining the OTI Planning Committee and investing in the youth-led prevention eco-system. As an active member of the Planning Committee, Jesseca has excelled, establishing new initiatives for Ohio Teen Institute, providing insightful perspective, and simply doing the work. She has logged many miles, driving from the northeast corner of the state to central Ohio for Planning Committee meetings and support TI initiatives – all while being a full-time student at Kent State and maintaining a job.

Prevention science is steadfast in the importance of recognizing prevention as a lifelong endeavor. Jesseca models that truism through her continued investment in prevention and the skills and perspective she brings to that investment. Jesseca's continued commitment to core prevention beliefs and values epitomize how the heart of youth-led prevention can resonate well past the final day of high school and set the stage for being a prevention advocate as an adult.