ADAPAO Youth Award 2020 Recipient: Mindi Klaus

Posted on: December 19, 2020 4:00 pm

Mindi Klaus, a senior at River Valley High School and a five-year member of the Marion County Teen Institute (TI) youth-led prevention program, is the recipient of the 2020 ADAPAO Youth Community Champion Award. This award is presented to a teen who has gone above and beyond expectations to champion prevention in their community.

A leader among her peers and in her community, Mindi been a prevention champion in her local community and beyond the county line, as well. She advocated for implementing vaping prevention strategies with her peers and was instrumental in developing Xscape the Vape, a youth-led vape prevention education presentation. She has facilitated Xscape the Vape with freshman at River Valley High School several times, and at the 2019 ADAPAO Social, co-presented a Showcase spotlight featuring the presentation.

Mindi has also served on the Marion County TI Youth Advisory Board for three years. The Youth Advisory Board members guide the county youth-led program, working with adult allies, each other, and community stakeholders to advance prevention goals.

She puts the work in behind the scenes, as well. Mindi is known for her follow-through; her peers and adult allies note that when she takes on a task for a TI project, she gets it done. Mindi is also a reliable voice for prevention with both youth and adults, giving her input and sharing her perspective, all with the aim of ensuring strong youth-led prevention in her school and in the entire county.

No matter the role, Mindi embraces it. She leads large group activities. She facilitates small discussion groups. She inspires younger kids to make healthy choices. She listens to her peers and elicits their perspectives. And she does all of this with consideration, positivity, and kindness.

In youth-led prevention, teens who champion prevention at the local level often find themselves engaged in statewide prevention work. Mindi was a co-presenter on a statewide webinar titled “Communicating With and Engaging Young People,” through the Ohio Coaching and Mentoring Network earlier in 2020. She also provided a keynote address at the statewide School Success Conference this past June.

Mindi has served on the youth staff of numerous local and state youth-led prevention conferences, including Ohio Teen Institute, and often presents workshops in addition to her other staffing responsibilities.

Mindi embraces her leadership role and her capacity to empower positive change in her community, whether that community is her high school, her county, or the group of teens and adults gathered together for a multi-day prevention conference. She is a true community champion for prevention in Marion County.