Inaugural youth prevention honorees announced

Posted on: October 17, 2016 1:00 pm

ADAPAO will recognize three Ohio young people and a youth-serving organization for their commitment to prevention alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse and other behavioral health issues. The inaugural ADAPAO Youth Prevention Awards will be presented at the ADAPAO Garden Party, Saturday, October 22 at the Groveport Log House and Heritage Park in Groveport Ohio. The Garden Party will take place from 1-4pm with the awards presentation scheduled for 1:45pm. 

"We are thrilled to build upon the ADAPAO Awards and the legacy of honoring prevention excellence in Ohio by spotlighting young people who are championing prevention in our state." said Aimee Wade, ADAPAO president. "The ADAPAO Youth Prevention Awards recipients are making tremendous contributions to the health of their communities and all of Ohio." 

2016 ADAPAO Youth Prevention Awards Honorees: 


2016 ADAPAO Youth Community Champion: Gregory Weber 
Gregory Weber, a member of Stark County Youth Led Prevention (SCYLP) and a freshman at East Canton High School, is being recognized for going above and beyond expectations to champion prevention within their local community. Mr. Weber has participated in the creation of a strategic plan map for the county youth group. He volunteers for almost every event SYCLP participates in or sponsors. He is an advocate for Stark County Safe Communities and their goals of increasing traffic safety and preventing traffic fatalities, including encouraging drivers to not use alcohol or other drugs before or while operating a motorized vehicle. As an eighth graders, Mr. Weber spearheaded East Canton's participation in the "We Are the Majority" Rally in Columbus, ensuring 30 students attended the statewide event. Mr. Weber has participated in Youth to Youth's International Conference in June and brought back valuable information, knowledge and skills to SCYLP to further contribute to the youth-led efforts in his school and community. 

"Gregory has already left a prevention imprint on his local community, and he's only a freshman," noted Aimee Wade, ADAPAO president. "We can only imagine his contributions throughout the remainder of his high school career. We look forward to witnessing his continued impact on prevention." 

2016 ADAPAO Youth Advocate Honoree: Dajue Newell 
As president of the Village Youth-Led Community Coalition, a program of Lima UMADAOP (Urban Minority Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Outreach Program), Ms. Newell is being recognized for exemplary efforts to employ dialogue, networking and advocacy to amplify a united voice for prevention. A junior at Lima Central Catholic High School, Dajue is also a member of the Quality Urban Alliance Approaching Destiny (Q.U.A.A.D.) through the UMADAOP Federation of Ohio and the Ohio Youth Led Prevention Network (OYLPN). On the local level, Ms. Newell helped organize a Parent's Night event in Lima, providing a teen perspective on substance use and mental health issues to parents, educators and community professionals. She led her peers in raising funds for the Flint Michigan Project, an initiative of UMADAOP Federation of Ohio, which raised funds to purchase bottled water, filters, and baby wipes for families in the Michigan city. Ms. Newell's contributions on the state level are no less impressive. She has represented her community in a Legislative Day, engaging state leaders on the behavioral health of Ohio's youth. As a member of OYLPN, she assisted in the organization of and participated in the May 2016 "We Are the Majority" Rally, joining thousands of her peers to showcase the benefits of living a positive, healthy, drug-free lifestyle. Ms. Newell was among a handful of youth who also met with Ohio First Lady Karen W. Kasich on the day of the rally.

"Dajue is a textbook example of an advocate," said ADAPAO President Aimee Wade. "She applies her skills and passion to affect positive change in her community and across our state, benefiting her peers and all of Ohio."  

2016 ADAPAO Youth Prevention Alumni Award: Cameron Justice  
Mr. Justice, a graduate of Dublin Coffman High School, is being recognized for exemplary efforts to advance prevention as a young adult. While in high school, Cameron was active in Dublin Teen Institute and Dublin A.C.T. (Adolescents and Community Together) Coalition's youth council. He was an engaged member of Youth to Youth, the Columbus Ohio-based youth-led prevention organization, serving on the Youth Advisory Board and The Pulse speaker's bureau. Mr. Justice was selected as a youth staff for Y2Y's summer training conferences, held in three different locations across the county. He was recognized in 2015 with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and Major League Baseball Charities' "Commissioner's Play Healthy Award" for his dedication to the spirit of teamwork, dedication and leadership, hard work, fun and a healthy, drug-free lifestyle. As a student at Ohio University, Mr. Justice is studying psychology. His contributions to prevention haven't eased up. He continues to maintain a relationship with Youth to Youth, engaging in dialogue about expanding prevention within the university setting, while also exploring career options in prevention. Mr. Justice gives back to his younger peers. He has been a key presenter at Youth to Youth's public speaking trainings for high school students, providing important insights to current high school students about their value as role models and spokespeople for healthy, drug-free decision-making. 

"Cameron demonstrates that prevention engagement in high school sets the foundation for healthy decision-making and leadership after graduation and throughout life." said ADAPAO President Aimee Wade. "He is a role model both for younger students and for his young adult peers because of his continued commitment to making a difference and advancing prevention where he may be." 

2016 ADAPAO Youth Prevention Organization of the Year: Youth Leadership Council of Licking County 
The Youth Leadership Council (YLC) of Licking County is a youth prevention and leadership development project comprised of high school students who collaboratively work to help make Licking County a happy, healthy, safe and drug free place to live, work and go to school. The YLC develops, plans, implements and evaluates grassroots, youth-led prevention projects devoted to healthy choices, positive peer influence, and the decision to refrain from substance use, abuse and violent behaviors. 

YLC projects focus on prevention education, civic engagement, leadership development and community service initiatives covering topics from substance use to personal health to bullying and suicide prevention and positive mental health. More than 200 youth have dedicated more than 21,000 hours to community-wide engagement through 150 unique projects in efforts to increase health and wellness in Licking County. Among its accomplishments, the YLC successfully petitioned the Licking County Board of Commissioners to make all county buildings tobacco free; partnered with local partners to host environmental prevention events including the Kickin' ASH Splash, the annual tobacco awareness event which has educated more than 25,000 Licking County residents about the dangers of tobacco use and established the Licking County Leaders Summit a one-day conference promoting the benefits of youth prevention and leadership development for high school students and educators. Members of the YLC have served as founding members of the Youth Council of the Ohio Youth-Led Prevention Network (OYLPN) and on focus groups for OhioMHAS. For the past three years, the YLC President, a high school student, has been a full voting member of the Board of Directors for Pathways of Central Ohio, YLC's parent agency. 

"The YLC exemplifies the power of youth who are engaged in their communities, collaborating to create change, not only for their peers but for their entire community," said Aimee Wade, ADAPAO president. "YLC youth will be change agents throughout their lives because of their engagement, learning, and empowerment during their teen years."