ADAPAO Youth Prevention Award 2021 Recipient: Dina Rulli-Heaphey

Posted on: June 26, 2021 6:00 pm

Dina Rulli-Heaphey has been recognized with the ADAPAO Youth Excellence Award, presented to a teen for exemplary efforts to amplify prevention across Ohio. Dina has been a prevention force on both the local and state levels.

Dina is a sophomore at Springfield High School in Clark County and an original member of the local youth-led group B.A.T.S., or Bringing Awareness To Students. Dina has played a pivotal role in several B.A.T.S. initiatives, but her local hallmark accomplishment has been Capture Kindness, a campaign mobilizing Clark County residents to “capture kindness” with their cameras to promote acts of kindness within the community.

Dina developed the idea in 2019 and single-handedly raised $600 from local businesses for cash awards to the photo contest portion of the Capture Kindness initiative. Dina also recruited community businesses, non-profits, and the City of Springfield to promote the campaign and the community-based vote, leading to a culminating event to coincide with World Kindness Day. The event featured live entertainment, activities, and a silent auction that raised over $700 for Project Woman, a local domestic violence shelter.

While her local prevention work has been substantial, the Youth Excellence Award recognizes statewide impact. Dina has made her mark on that scale, too. Dina joined the Youth Council of the Ohio Youth-Led Prevention Network (OYLPN) in 2019. In a challenging year time for youth-led prevention, Dina has played a key role in the Youth Council’s biggest project, the We Are The Majority Rally. In typical years, thousands of youth-led prevention teens convene at the Statehouse for a day in May to send a message to their peers, legislators, and the public that most teens are making healthy choices related to substance use, gambling, and other behavioral health issues.

Because of COVID-19, the Rally turned into a virtual event in 2020, and Dina and her Youth Council peers worked diligently to convert the energy of teens celebrating and advocating on the Statehouse lawn to a virtual event.

The We Are The Majority Rally was virtual again this year, and, once again, Dina played key roles in the event's planning and implementation. Dina served on Team Application, the OYLPN Youth Council group responsible for the Rally content, including theme creation, agenda development, and presenter research. She was also part of Team Innovation, the Youth Council group coordinating event logistics, timelines, and vendors.

A common thread of Dina’s work on the local and state level: She fully embraces application of the Strategic Prevention Framework, a detailed prevention planning process, to achieve project outcomes. She recognizes successful prevention initiatives are based in science and planning.

Dina’s commitment to the statewide reach of prevention and her local efforts that underpin that philosophy epitomize the impact youth-led teens have on their peers, adults, our communities, and all of Ohio, which is why she is the recipient of the 2021 ADAPAO Prevention Excellence Award.