Youth-Led Prevention

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Youth-Led Prevention

Youth-Led Prevention holds the belief that youth are valuable and powerful resources in their own development and should be integrally involved in program planning and implementation.

What is Youth-Led Prevention (YLP)?

Youth-Led Prevention (YLP), in a nutshell, is drug prevention and a youth leadership program. The goal of its many projects is harnessing the powerful influence of peer pressure—making it a positive force that encourages young people to live free of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs (ATOD). YLP holds the belief that youth are valuable and powerful resources in their own development and should be integrally involved in program planning and implementation. The neat thing about this kind of prevention work is that in developing the student to be a leader, thinker, and doer—building communication skills, assertiveness, self-esteem, decision making, factual information about healthy living (general life skills)—you are actually preventing alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use. Development of the student IS the prevention.

The YLP programs are being supported by the Anti-Drug Coalition of Tuscarawas County. This is one of their strategies to delay/prevent the onset of alcohol and tobacco use. This effort embraces young people as resources and partners in their own personal development by promoting healthy lifestyle choices, providing a no-use message against all substances, and involving adults in a guiding and supporting role.

By investing in our student leadership, we are empowering them to tap into their own beliefs and ideas and discover creative strategies to make their future brighter. We are building capacity on our local schools and in Tuscarawas County by helping the youth design a plan of action to improve their own community and engage other teens. These advocates clearly get the message that they are not alone and find connection and support through other like-minded people. Our students also receive training that incorporates both individual and environmental strategies; they also actively explore what works in youth-led prevention through small discussion groups, team building activities, workshops, action planning, youth created presentations, and information from guest speakers and community resources.
It is only through engaging our local youth in problem solving that we can truly change the community in which we live.

A Top-Down Approach


Youth-led prevention at any school would not be what it is without support staff, agencies, and partners who believe in the power of youth. For Dover’s youth-led prevention program, Dover High School Y2Y is affiliated with Personal & Family Counseling Services, an OhioGuidestone organization and the Anti-Drug Coalition. Jodi Salvo and Hannah Yoder of both organizations are key leader in the area of youth-led prevention. Our youth-led prevention program, when in need, seeks help from the ADC and PFCS for funding, education, trainings, and help when planning community awareness/events about certain issues. When you have concerns, questions, or ideas, Jodi and Hannah are more than willing to help with anything you need.

The Youth Advisory Board Process of the Youth to Youth Model

As a youth-led prevention group, we also attend meetings and events at and for the Anti-Drug Coalition (monthly meetings), and we will also attend this year’s Youth Advisory Board (YAB) that will hold once-a-month county meetings for Tuscarawas County teens. For more information about YAB (meeting times, agendas, goals, projects), contact Hannah Yoder.

What is YAB (Youth Advisory Board)?

The Tuscarawas County Ohio Youth Advisory Board (YAB) is a group of high school aged students that meets on a monthly basis. These students represent the schools that are currently participating in youth led prevention efforts. The YAB will consist of up to 6 students from each high school and their advisor(s). There will be an application process to be chosen for YAB. YAB meetings will be held on the first Monday of the month at Union Hospital in Dover. Dinner will be at 5:30 and then the meeting will begin at 6:00 and run until 8:00. These meetings will include something fun, but it will also be a working meeting. Each month will have a theme and will include a “lesson” or training on something, either sound prevention practices or updated, factual information on marijuana, tobacco, addiction, and so on. It is with this membership that students can become active members of their school, community and serve in the decision making process. See Hannah Yoder for more information.

A Youth-Led Prevention Program in YOUR School

Objectives (Goals)

“Students will…”

You may want to brainstorm what you, as an advisor, want to see happen with your students in this group. Creating objectives for yourself and even communicating these to the students can be helpful in goal setting and planning projects/events. However, the beauty of YLP is that the students should identify the problems and create solutions to better their schools and community. Ultimately, they are in charge.

Mission Statement

Your youth-led prevention group should create a mission statement. For example, the mission ststement of Youth Led Prevention in Tuscarawas County is…

We are youth leaders unified to love people in ways that change lives by leading empowered lives full of positive decisions.

It should be clear and succinct.

Guidelines for Meetings

Some important things to consider when having meetings:

Initial Meetings

  • At initial meetings, you will more than likely want to share information, but more importantly it should be about getting the kids to feel comfortable. Icebreakers and get-to-know you games are always fun ways to start the meetings before you get down to business.
  • Explain what youth-led prevention is.
  • Discuss confidentiality. Make sure students know that meetings are a safe place for them to share information, ideas, and feelings. One of the most important components of YLP is establishing trust and rapport with your students. If students start to discuss information or things that may be personal, you may want to discuss confidentiality with the group. Be sure to share that you are a mandated reporter and what that means.
  • Ultimately you will want them to sign the Drug-Free Pledge (see form). This can be tweaked to meet the needs of your students and your school. The students will feel more compelled if they have a voice in the matter.
  • Have them fill out any forms or info sheets (See shared documents on Google). Having contact information is KEY to staying in touch with the students. Use the Remind texting program. This is a great way to notify students and parents.
  • Provide snacks. This is always a good idea!
  • As meetings continue, assign and form committees, brainstorm school/community problems, create mission statement, identify a few specific focuses rather than too many that may get overwhelming, and brainstorm t-shirt ideas and/or ideas for social media sites.
  • Review/discuss The pHarming Effects presentation and if this is something you want to present to your school and community.


  • Meetings and times are up to your availability and what seems to work for everyone.
    • DHS Y2Y meets weekly (1-2 days) after school from 2:35 to 3:45 p.m. We are also thinking about meeting before school and/or possibly one evening every other week from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. The group also meets during Clubs and Activities period when we have those days.
  • Core Group
    • More than likely you will see a group of students that are your “core” group. These students will be your most driven and committed. Rather than have leaders or officers, we tend to count on our core group of students to plan, organize, and attend most events.
  • YAB Group
    • Hannah Yoder will be running this group that will meet monthly at Union Hospital in Dover. She will contact you with more information throughout the year.

How to Reach the School/Community (Social Media)

  • Create a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and/or YouTube Channel
  • 1 minute PSA – What is Y2Y? or any video advocating what your mission/purpose is
  • Make a banner to hang in your school
  • Create and wear your group’s t-shirt
  • Create and print postcards with your info, mission, and meeting times on it

What Else Do We Do?

  • Mentor Programs
    • Dover Middle School (at-risk youth) using an evidence based curriculum provided by PFCS (Botvin Life Skills and Lead and Seed)
      Summer Program for Hispanic youth
  • Guest Speakers
    • Ty Sells
    • Wayne Campbell
  • Trainings/Presentations/Interviews
    • The pHarming Effects training and presentation to schools and community members
    • Retreats
    • Summer Conference
    • Youth to Youth International trainings for adult advisors
    • Interviewing with the press to raise awareness is incredibly powerful. We did this many times this year with TV2/WJER and the newspapers. The kids loved being heard.

Keys to Success

Overall, your program will be whatever your students make of it. Ultimately, youth-led prevention should be ran by the students with us as leaders and mentors GUIDING them in the process. That’s what makes it so powerful. It’s incredibly rewarding to see your students identifying problems in their community and brainstorming and creating plans to make their schools and community a better place to live.




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