Jeff Yalden Brings Hope and Healing to Warsaw Community High School in Warsaw, Indiana

On February 1, 2013, Teen Motivational Speaker Jeff Yalden and I visited Warwaw Community High School in Warsaw, Indiana.  Jeff has been speaking in high school assemblies for 20 years and he possesses a unique gift which enables him to touch the hearts of students, parents, administrators and communities. By the time Jeff received the phone call from Principal Troy Akers, he had already begun preparing himself for his visit to this community because the principal of neighboring Wawasee High School had also invited Jeff to visit.  In the span of six heartbreaking weeks, the greater Warsaw community lost four teens to suicide.  One of the teens who had taken his life two days after Christmas was a young man from the senior class at Warsaw Community High School. This was a community left searching for answers, struggling to pick up the pieces of shattered hearts and determined to encourage their students to embrace life.

Warsaw Community High School has 2,160 students in grades 9-12. They had scheduled for two assemblies in their absolutely beautiful state-of-the-art auditorium: one in the morning for juniors and seniors and a second in the afternoon for freshmen and sophomores.


Mr. Akers introduces Jeff to the Warwaw students


Jeff spoke for over an hour and half during each assembly. During that time he encouraged teens to “Take Time to Think”.  Sharing his own personal stories of tragedy and triumph, Jeff touched their hearts as he made them laugh, cry and ultimately enabled them to move forward and begin to heal. Jeff has a reputation for skillfully addressing the issues that teens and parents are struggling with today. Simply put, he changes lives. Since his visit to Warsaw, we have received countless messages from students, parents and teachers in the community who remain grateful for Jeff’s inspirational and healing words.



Jeff speaks with the juniors and seniors at Warsaw


Jeff speaks to Warsaw freshmen & sophomores


During lunch, in between the two assemblies, Jeff and I set up outside the cafeteria so students could get their Jeff Yalden T-Shirts, bracelets, posters or simply spend a few moments visiting with him.


Jeff visits with students during lunch


In addition, after the assemblies, he spent some extra time in the auditorium with various students who wanted to chat with him.


Jeff and students after assembly


During both assemblies, there was an incredibly helpful student named Patrick who went above and beyond to make sure that everything in the auditorium was as exactly as Jeff wanted. Patrick assisted with the lighting and sound system with incredible attention to detail and a level of enthusiasm and genuine dedication that left a lasting impression.


Jeff visits with Patrick (in red) and other students


We would like to thank Patrick again for making us feel so welcome and for ensuring that both assemblies went smoothly that day.


Jeff, Patrick (in red) and other students


Warsaw Community High School has incredible facilities for their students. Their gymnasium is by far the most beautiful high school gym that I have ever seen. That evening, Jeff and I were invited to attend the Warsaw Varsity boys basketball game. Earlier in the day, Jeff had spoken to and connected with a student named Cameron. Upon arrival at the basketball game, Jeff immediately spotted Cameron and he headed towards the “cheer block” to join him.


Jeff and Kaylene with Cameron (in solid red) and friends in the cheer block


At one point, Jeff, Mr. Akers and I also went up to say hello to the talented band students who were contributing so much to the overall atmosphere at the game.


Jeff listening to the band students



Jeff, Mr. Akers and I at start of game


The game was awesome and the school spirit was incredible. Jeff and I had a blast as we participated in the cheers and enjoyed watching the game. There is one cheer called “mock the coach” that Jeff particularly enjoyed. I spent the first half of the game in the cheer block and then at half time I joined Mr. Akers and his sweet wife in the bleachers. I had such a wonderful time visiting with them and I truly appreciated their hospitality.


Jeff, Mr. Troy Akers and students.


Warsaw Varsity boys basketball team


Speaking of Mr. Akers, I can not speak highly enough of what an incredible leader he is.  There have been multiple occasions since our visit to Warsaw that we have been in touch with him. Mr. Akers is determined to build an atmosphere of open communication where students know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they are precious and irreplaceable. Warsaw is truly blessed to have a principal who is so deeply committed to their students.

Our hearts were indescribably touched by our visit to Indiana. In fact, Jeff and I often find ourselves reflecting on the entire experience and we are profoundly grateful for the opportunity to have visited with Warsaw. I invite you to read Jeff’s reflections on his visit to Warsaw and watch the video on that post as well.

Jeff and I are really excited to share that we will be stopping in Warsaw again on March 21st. We look forward to spending some time with Mr. Akers and his awesome students again. Be sure to keep an eye on the Jeff Yalden Facebook Fanpage for more information!

If you would like Youth Motivational Speaker Jeff Yalden to speak at your High School Assembly or Teen Leadership Workshop, please visit

For more information on Teen Suicide and Teen Depression check out Jeff’s article: Teen Suicide and How to Deal for Teens, Families and Schools.

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Author:Jeff Yalden, Youth Motivational Speaker

Youth Motivational Speaker & Teen Life Coach. Since 1992, Jeff Yalden has been mesmerizing audiences with his engaging style and passion. Jeff is a story-teller that every where he speaks, he guarantees he is real and in the moment, perfect for every audience. He is one of a kind. He's interactive and nobody pours as much energy and passion into their programs that Jeff does. Guaranteed, Jeff will be a defining moment and a highlight of your students lives.

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