Jeff Yalden Delivers Keynote Address at Illinois Valley Community College

Top Youth Motivational Speaker Rocks 32nd Annual Teen Showcase

On Thursday, March 30, top youth motivational speaker Jeff Yalden arrived at Illinois Valley Community College in Oglesby, Ill., to deliver a keynote address at the 32nd annual Teen Showcase – an event that aims to empower youth to make the right choices and to embrace a healthy lifestyle – avoiding drugs, alcohol and tobacco, goal setting and more.

Teen Showcase is presented by a collective of regional mental health, medical and educational organizations in Illinois – North Central Behavioral Health Systems, LaSalle County Health Department, Bureau-Putnam County Health Department, Community Partners Against Substance Abuse [CPASA], Illinois Valley Community Hospital, St. Margaret’s Health, and Illinois Valley Community College.

“This coalition is comprised of some pretty prominent people on the board, but what is great is that they are very, very supportive of youth programs: mental health, drugs – helping youth make good decisions and believe in themselves,” he said, adding that he teamed up with CPASA for a similar event the week before in Princeton, Ill.

“They brought me in again today, but this was called Teen Showcase – where I was the opening general sessions speaker to about 620 high school and middle school students – representing 11 different schools in the area,” he said.

Yalden focused on teen motivation, and he said the turnout was outstanding. Later, He received emails and messages on social media from young people, letting him know that his words inspired and helped them.

“I guess I was a pretty big hit – and that’s a good feeling,” he said.

Yalden is not a big fan of waiting to go onstage because he is usually naturally amped-up (he doesn’t normally drink coffee or energy drinks). To get in the zone, he sent up a prayer, did some mindful breathing and listened to some Jason Aldean – and in ten minutes, he was, as he would say, good to go.

He covered a lot of ground in nearly 90 minutes, and started out with a question: “Who is the hardest person to get to know? Ourselves,” he said.

He spent some time driving home the fact the world owes us nothing, and that he feels that, collectively, we are getting dumber and dumber.

“We don’t think anymore,” he said. “We go home and we watch stupid reality television, and over five million [8.6m on Instagram] people are following [Danielle Bregoli] “Cash Me Outside, How Bow Dah.”

He said that teachers start by teaching a subject to young people, but when you touch the heart, the mind will follow.

Yalden stressed the importance of staying “in purpose.”

“Something might take you out of purpose for a day, a week -  a couple of weeks – but then there comes that point where you are like, ‘you know what – I’ve got to get up, man.’”

He also said that that when you look in the mirror and you don’t like the reflection that looks back – don’t blame it on the mirror.

“You have to embrace the process in life. Embrace it as much as it sucks. Embrace it because it’s the process that shapes us,” he said.

To find out why Jeff Yalden is North America’s number one youth motivational speaker and to learn more about his programs, visit www.jeffyalden.com.

Book Jeff now for your school, organization or event by calling 800-948-9289.

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Author:Roger Yale

Roger Yale is a longtime contributor to McClatchy Newspapers’ The Sun News in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, focusing on stories about the people who make the Grand Strand awesome, including teen motivational speaker Jeff Yalden. He was voted Story of the Year winner four times by readers of The Sun News’ sister publication, Weekly Surge. Roger is the parent of adult twins. His son is a United States Marine and his daughter is currently involved in marketing for Broadway productions in New York City. He spent many years as a single father, and he believes that the experience was something to relish – and the bond he forged with his twins remains strong. Roger is also a working musician. For more about Roger, visit his blog: www.rogeryale.wordpress.com

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