Youth Leaders

ADAPAO Youth Prevention Awards

ADAPAO presented the 2018 ADAPAO Youth Prevention Awards, recognizing five Ohio young people for their commitment to preventing behavioral health problems. The awards were presented at the ADAPAO Social: Celebrating Champions of Change, held September 30, 2018 at Goodale Park & Shelterhouse in Columbus. The award recipients:

2018 ADAPAO Youth Community Champion Award 

for going above and beyond expectations to champion prevention within their local community 

Logan Kazelman

Logan is a junior in his third year as a member of Youth to Youth, the youth-led prevention program at Dover High School in Tuscarawas County and has become a key member of the group. Logan leads group discussions, gives direction to his peers, goes out of his way to ensure everyone felt included, and tackles any task presented to him.

One of the priorities of Dover’s Youth to Youth program is mentoring of middle school students, and Logan is a standout in this capacity. The Dover middle school students look to Logan as a role model and leader, and he takes on every task within that program, from relationship-building to carrying supplies, with enthusiasm.

Within the larger Dover community, Logan has presented information collected through a tobacco prevention grant with the Tuscarawas County Health Department to multiple community organizations, including the Tuscarawas County Commissioners, Tuscarawas County Children and Family First Council, and the Tuscarawas County Anti-Drug Coalition.

Logan has also participated in tobacco compliance checks of local vendors and visited over 120 area stores to gather data for the aforementioned tobacco grant. He has also attended numerous meetings with the County Commissioners to request proclamations and assistance for Dover Youth to Youth’s efforts.

Logan also sits on the Anti-Drug Coalition’s Youth Advisory Board and assists the coalition with multiple projects.

2018 ADAPAO Youth Community Champion Award 

for going above and beyond expectations to champion prevention within their local community

Miranda Baker

Miranda is a junior at Fredericktown High School in Knox County and is a three-year member of Teen Advisory Council, or TAC, Knox County’s youth-led prevention program.

Miranda was TAC’s first member from Fredericktown, and immediately built a link between TAC and her high school by raising awareness of TAC’s work at Fredericktown among her circle of friends. By the following year, the Fredericktown contingent at the county-level TAC had grown by five members. 

Miranda has been the driving force in the creation and facilitation of the school-specific TAC group at Fredericktown High School this school year, and is a leader in that group’s work to coordinate prevention activities in Fredericktown.

Miranda recognizes that youth leadership is the key to successful environmental prevention in school settings. Last school year, while planning a pre-prom prevention activity, Miranda engaged her school principal to ensure an explanation of the activity was sent to all parents and youth in the district. She knows the key role parental involvement plays in keeping youth drug free.

Miranda’s also volunteers for Drug Take-Back Days; serves on the planning committee for the TAC Color Run, one of TAC’s biggest community events; hosts a table at Fredericktown’s National Night Out, a community-building event; and coordinates prevention activities throughout Knox County. 

2018 ADAPAO Youth Advocate Award

for exemplary efforts to employ dialogue, education, networking, and advocacy to amplify a unified voice for prevention 

Nathaniel Dixon

Nathaniel is a senior at Bellbrook High School in Greene County and is serving in his fourth year as a member of the Family Violence Prevention Center’s Youth Advisory Board. 

Nathaniel understands the necessity of teenage boys and young men standing up against domestic violence. His advocacy for the prevention of domestic violence is both quiet and loud. He has spent hours doing background, supporting work, from washing dishes at donor events to moving filing cabinets within the Center. He has also used his voice and influence to recruit his entire football team to participate in the “Walk A Mile in Their Shoes to End Teen Dating Violence” community walk. For three years running, Nathaniel has recruited the most walkers for that event.

Nathaniel’s advocacy can be very personal and individually focused, too. While interacting with peers, including those he learns may be in unhealthy dating relationships, Nathaniel introduces many of the concepts he knows from Safe Dates classroom presentations and his other relationship violence prevention education, including dynamics of power and control, healthy and unhealthy relationships, and the nine types of abuse. Nathaniel also shares information on where teens can get more information and, if needed, support and assistance, 

2018 Youth Prevention Excellence Award

for exemplary efforts to advance prevention across Ohio

Jami Baker

Jami is a 2018 graduate of Deer Park High School in Cincinnati and current freshman at the University of Cincinnati. In her senior year at Deer Park, Jami was a co-founder of the Deer Park C.A.T.S., a brand new youth-led prevention coalition consisting of 10 Deer Park High School students.

Jami quietly and effortlessly took the lead with the C.A.T.S. She asked important questions of both her peers and the adult prevention professionals assisting in the coalition’s creation. She requested data about evidence-based strategies and resources. She energized her peers and kept everyone on task.

In less than a year under Jami’s leadership, the C.A.T.S.:

  • Planned and implemented an environmental scan.
  • Interviewed fellow students using a community readiness tool.
  • Created a mini-movie using information from the student interviews and data from the environmental scan, and presented the mini-movie to the Deer Park school board.
  • Planned and facilitated a “Coaches, Kids, & Chemicals Summit at Xavier University, attended by over 100 high school students and coaches.
  • Developed a presentation for this year’s OPEC Conference, one of Ohio’s premier educational events for prevention professionals
  • Analyzed 2018 Student Drug Use Survey data for Deer Park – and selected prevention strategies for the 2018-19 school year based off that data.

Jami’s leadership has been key to the creation of a youth-led coalition and prevention initiatives modeled throughout Ohio.

2018 Youth Prevention Alumni Award

for an alumnus of youth prevention who continues to advance prevention as a young adult

Max Doll

Max Doll is a student at the Stark branch of Kent State University and coordinator of Stark County Youth Led Prevention, or SCYLP, through Stark County Mental Health and Recovery, or StarkMHAR.

As a member of the precursor to SCYLP, a member of the statewide Ohio Youth-Led Prevention Network’s Youth Council, as well as an advocate for prevention in his school district, Max was immersed in prevention as a high school student. 

A year after his high school graduation in 2016, Max accepted an internship with StarkMHAR’s System of Care expansion grant. Max eventually gravitated to the continued work of SCYLP and quickly became the group’s adult co-coordinator. Earlier this year, his internship turned into an employed position with StarkMHAR.

Max’s transition to an adult supporting youth-led prevention has been active and engaging. His work has included:

  • Attending the 2018 Nordonia Teen Institute as an adult participant.
  • Recruiting students for SCYLP.
  • Completing deliverables for Prevention Action Alliance’s Training & Technical Assistance grant.
  • Co-coordinating SCYLP’s involvement in the Statewide Prevention Coalition Association’s Ohio Legislative Day.

Just last month, Max attended the Ohio Youth-Led Prevention Network Retreat as a special guest to kick off this year’s Youth Council and help the current teen members understand what it means to be part of this important statewide leadership group.

Max Doll is continuing a legacy of youth-led prevention leaders evolving into adult prevention advocates and, sometimes, even prevention professionals.

ADAPAO has recognized Ohioans for contributions to prevention through presentation of the ADAPAO Awards since 1988. The ADAPAO Youth Prevention Awards are the first ADAPAO Awards specifically focused on youth and youth-serving organizations.

2017 Award Recipients

2017 ADAPAO Youth Community Champion Award

for going above and beyond expectations to champion prevention within their local community

Chloe Merriman

Chloe is a member of Knox County’s Teen Advisory Council, or TAC, and a junior at Centerburg High School. 

Chloe joined TAC in the fall of 2016, a quiet sophomore in a room of mostly seniors. As the year progressed, so did Chloe. She became a voice for the prevention of teen dating violence, was a featured member in a video created by her TAC peers, and encouraged other peers to both become involved in TAC and step up their involvement, once part of the group.

Chloe has become a proactive voice in the larger Knox County community, as well. She co-led the Youth Leadership Day at this summer’s Knox Addiction Conference, an event sponsored by the local coalition and attended by more than 50 youth across Knox County. She also provided the race-day speech at Mount Vernon’s annual Color for a Cause 5K, TAC’s largest event of the year. Chloe was also one of three students, amidst a room of 100 adults, who attended the New Directions annual dinner this past spring.

2017 ADAPAO Youth Community Champion Award

for going above and beyond expectations to champion prevention within their local community

Bruce Gay

Bruce Gay is a 2017 graduate of Walnut Hills High School in Hamilton County and has been a leader in the Young, Not Silent Citywide Youth Summit in Cincinnati for the last three years.

The Summit was launched in 2013 as a project of the Youth Commission of Cincinnati, a group created by Cincinnati City Council to provide youth a means to advocate for issues most important to them. The Summit was named the “Youth Commission of Cincinnati’s Youth Summit,” though adults played a more significant role in the planning of the event.

In 2015, the planning approach shifted to creating an event inspired and planned by young people. Bruce, who was involved with the Urban Minority Alcohol and Drug Addiction Outreach Program of Cincinnati, through the CYLC, UMADAOP Cincinnati’s Youth Council, joined the planning group. Bruce began attending Summit planning meetings and providing a powerful youth voice.

Bruce was an immediate catalyst for the event’s name change. He noted that “Youth Commission of Cincinnati’s Youth Summit” sounded like a name adults came up with, leading to the youth-led rebranding of the event as “Young, Not Silent,” a challenge to the old adage that children should be seen and not heard and recognizing that youth must be see, heard, and valued.

By the next year, Bruce was selected as the youth representative to speak at the press conference kickoff for the event. For the 2017 event, in addition to his continued planning committee leadership, Bruce co-facilitated two workshops for his peers, exploring peer pressure, confidence, and leadership.

2017 ADAPAO Youth Advocate Award

for exemplary efforts to employ dialogue, education, networking, and advocacy to amplify a unified voice for prevention

Haylee Perry

Haylee is a 2017 graduate of Canal Winchester High School in Franklin County and was a member of Youth to Youth International, based in Columbus, throughout her high school years.

In her three years on Youth to Youth’s Youth Advisory Board, the organization's leadership group, Haylee barely missed a meeting, while also attending multiple trainings to build her skills to convey a prevention message. As a member of The Pulse, Youth to Youth’s speakers’ bureau-like program, Haylee has presented to youth and adults throughout Ohio and in other states, including New York and North Carolina.

Haylee was an advocate in her own school, as well, even choosing to write her final high school English paper about tobacco prevention, based on her active role in the A.T.A.A.C. (Attacking Tobacco Advertising and Availability in our Communities) Squad at Youth to Youth. The A.T.A.A.C. Squad learned how the tobacco industry targets teens, and subsequently conducted point-of-sale audits and developed and implemented counter-marketing campaigns within local communities.

Haylee also staffed Youth to Youth’s “The Camp,” a weekend program for middle school students. Haylee’s prevention advocacy has been comprehensive and continual: In her junior year of high school, she logged over 240 hours of service. In her senior year, she eclipsed that mark with 300 hours of service.

2017 Youth Prevention Excellence Award

for exemplary efforts to advance prevention across Ohio

Delaney Monroe

Delaney is a senior at Nordonia High School and is a youth-led prevention veteran, spending two years in the Junior Teen Institute (T.I.) program in Nordonia prior to her immersion in the high school program.

At the school program level, Delaney was the first freshman to ever serve on the Nordonia T.I. youth staff, impressing her peers so much that they waived, for the first time in the program’s history, a requirement that a student be a member of the high school T.I. program for one year before serving on youth staff.

Delaney is a leader at the T.I. biweekly meetings, staffs the Winter Retreat, and was one of the emcees at the group’s most recent talent show. She also helped write and performed in 10 PSAs aimed to encourage teens to avoid prescription drug abuse for a project of the Summit County Community Partnership.

On the statewide level, Delaney is a member of the Ohio Youth-Led Prevention Network Youth Council, meeting with state legislators and helping to plan the “We Are the Majority” Rally, which brings thousands of young people and adult allies throughout Ohio to the Statehouse each spring for prevention advocacy, community-building, and celebration. Delaney even spoke at the 2017 rally, demonstrating her ability to motivate her peers and convince adults of the role of youth in prevention.

Delaney also served on the youth staff and presented a workshop at the Youth to Youth International Conference, a four-day conference held each summer that brings together youth and adults committed to prevention from many states and even other countries.

2017 Youth Prevention Organization of the Year

for exemplary efforts to employ dialogue, education, networking, and advocacy to amplify a unified voice for prevention

Nordonia Teen Institute

Nordonia Teen Institute (T.I.) has been harnessing the power of youth for more than 25 years under the guidance of prevention specialist and ADAPAO member Regina Christy and the leadership of innumerable young people. Very few youth-led prevention programs are based primarily in one high school, and even fewer have the consistency and longevity of Nordonia T.I.

Nordonia T.I. is built on the foundation of effective prevention practice. Ms. Christy ensures youth understand the “why” behind prevention strategies, so they are more effective when they are implementing those strategies. The members of Nordonia T.I. are empowered to advocate to school and community leaders to ensure appropriate prevention tactics are being utilized.

Members are actively engaged in paying for their efforts, too, from seeking public funding to hosting an annual community-wide talent show that exemplifies drug-free fun while raising dollars to support the group’s other initiatives.

The crown jewel of Nordonia T.I.’s work is the annual Winter Retreat. This youth-led weekend leadership conference is planned and executed by the T.I.’s youth staff and is so highly regarded that students from other areas of Ohio – and even other states – attend. Each year, the youth embrace the opportunity to create a welcoming, engaging, educational, and fun environment. The upcoming 2018 retreat will be the retreat’s 20th anniversary.

2016 Award Recipients

2016 ADAPAO Youth Community Champion Award

for going above and beyond expectations to champion prevention within their local community

Gregory Weber

Greg is a member of Stark County Youth Led Prevention (SCYLP) and a freshman at East Canton High School. 

As a member of SCYLP, Greg participated in the creation of a strategic plan map for the county youth group. He also volunteers for almost every event SCYLP participates in or sponsors. Greg has also been 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 vehicle.

Greg is also an advocate in his school district. As an eighth grader, he spearheaded East Canton’s participation in the “We Are The Majority” Rally in Columbus, ensuring 30 students attended the May 2016 event. Greg also attended the Youth to Youth International Conference in June 2016 to bring back knowledge and skills to further contribute to youth-led prevention efforts in his school and community.

“Grego 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 Award

for exemplary efforts to employ dialogue, networking, and advocacy to amplify a unified voice for prevention

Dajue Newell

Dajue is president of the Village Youth-Led Community Coalition, a program of Lima UMADAOP (Urban Minority Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Outreach Program). She is also a member of both 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), both statewide organizations. Dajue is a junior at Lima Central Catholic High School.  

On the local level, Dajue helped organize a Parents’ Night event in Lima, providing a teen perspective on substance abuse and mental health issues to parents, educators and community professionals. She also led her local peers in raising funds for the Flint Michigan Project, an initiative of the UMADAOP Federation of Ohio, which raised funds to purchase bottled water, filters, and baby wipes for families in the Michigan city.

Dajue’s contributions on the state level are no less impressive. She has represented the her community in a Legislative Day, engaging with state legislators 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 in Columbus, joining thousands of her peers to showcase the benefits of living a positive, healthy, drug-free lifestyle. Dajue 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,” noted ADAPAO President Aimee Wade. “She applies her skills and passion to affect positive change in her community and across our state, benefitting her peers and all of Ohio.”

2016 ADAPAO Youth Prevention Alumni Award

for exemplary efforts to advance prevention as a young adult

Cameron Justice

While a student at Dublin Coffman High School, Cameron was active in Dublin Teen Institute and Dublin A.C.T. (Adolescents and Community Together) Coalition Youth Council. He was also an engaged member of Youth to Youth, the Columbus, Ohio-based youth-led prevention organization, serving on the Youth Advisory Board and The Pulse speakers’ bureau. Cameron was also selected as youth staff for Youth to Youth’s summer training conferences, held in three different states.

He was also 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, leadership, hard work, fun and a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.

As a student at Ohio University, Cameron 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.

Cameron also 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 wherever he may be.”

2016 ADAPAO Youth Prevention Organization of the Year

for exemplary efforts to employ dialogue, networking, and advocacy to amplify a unified voice for prevention

Youth Leadership Council of Licking County 

The Youth Leadership Council of Licking County (YLC) is a youth-led prevention 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 health 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, and cover topics from substance use/abuse and personal health to bullying, suicide prevention, and positive mental health. More than 200 youth participants in YLC 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 Licking County Board of Commissioners to make all county buildings tobacco free. The YLC has partnered with local organizations to engage in environmental prevention initiatives, including Drug Take Back Day, Share the Love (a suicide prevention event), and the annual Kickin’ ASH Splash, a tobacco prevention even that has educated more than 25,000 Licking County residents about the dangers of tobacco use. The YLC established the Licking County Leaders Summit, a one-day prevention training opportunity for high school students and supportive adults in Licking County school districts.

Youth involved in YLC have served on the Youth Council of the Ohio Youth Led Prevention Network and on focus groups for problem gambling initiatives for the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. For three years, the YLC president, a high school student, has served as a voting member of the board of directors of Pathways of Central Ohio, YLC’s sponsoring agency.

“Youth Leadership Council of Licking County 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, president of ADAPAO. “YLC youth will be change agents throughout their lives because of their engagement, learning, and empowerment during their teen years.”