One Girl Brings the Inspiration of Jeff Yalden to Larned High School

An image of Jeff with Janae

An image of Jeff with Janae via her Twitter

On Monday, March 25, Youth Motivational Speaker and Teen Life Coach Jeff Yalden spoke with the students of Larned High School in Larned, Kansas.  He describes it as “an amazing day,” and none of it could have been possible without the work of one girl.

Janae Woods, a junior at Larned HS, was required to complete a project for her English class. Instead of just carrying out a simple project, she was inspired to complete one that would have an impact on the entire student body; she decided to do so by bringing Jeff Yalden to her school.  She met with her principal and asked if the school could donate financially towards her project. However, the principal simply responded, “No.  If I were to help you, then I would have to help everybody.”

This lack of financial support would have ended a project like this for most people, but Janae was determined to bring Jeff to her school.  Entirely alone, she raised the $4,000 required to bring Jeff to her school.  To make it even more meaningful, she even invited a neighboring school, Pawney Heights High School, to join in the experience.

Jeff speaks with students of

Jeff speaks with students at Larned HS

In total, around 100 students from 7th to 12th grade took part in this assembly.  It is inspiring to think one girl brought this opportunity to them, as schools this small are rarely able to provide opportunities for their students like this one.  During the hour-and-fifty-minute assembly in the gymnasium, it was so quiet that you could hear a pin drop.

Ironically, Jeff encountered Janae and her family prior to the assembly at Larned.  As he was flying in the day before at Chicago, he saw several people looking at him strangely.  At first, he thought they had recognized him from MTV.  However, he then discovered that it was actually Janae and her parents flying in from Michigan.  He found it interesting that he got to meet them the day before the assembly.  He described her parents as “absolutely beautiful, wonderful, kind, loving, and very dedicated to their daughter’s work and efforts.”

Overall, Jeff thought that his visit  “was an inspiring day where an eleventh grade girl wanted to make a difference in her community and raised the money on her own to bring me to her school.” He was impressed by her actions, and the assembly went very well.  The administration, students, and teachers were inspired by his visit and loved his speech.

Jeff “was so honored and grateful that [he] got to kind of make a girl’s dream come true in front of her peers.”  He states, “It’s kind of amazing to think that here I am, just a simple guy, [and] that I get to share a message where a teenager thinks so much of [me] that [she] wants to do the work to bring [me] for her peers.”

An inspiring poster in the halls of Larned.

An inspiring poster in the halls of Larned

As shown by the work of Janae, you can bring Teen Speaker Jeff Yalden to your school, no matter how small or large it is.  With a little bit of hard work, you can inspire the students in your area with a message that they will never forget.  Please visit if you are ready to bring change to your community through Youth Speaker Jeff Yalden’s high school assemblies.

Community Responses

One of the best school speakers I’ve ever seen @JeffYalden #respect
- Jessica Lynn Latshaw via Twitter

Just paid for the person behind me at Wendy’s. Thanks @JeffYalden for coming to LHS today!
- @Jaceyleelove via Twitter

@JeffYalden thanks for coming today!! You were truly an inspiration to me and my school!
- Ashleigh Slattery via Twitter

@JeffYalden Your speech was so touching! You’re an unbelievable speaker! So glad we got to come see you!
- @Micaela_dawn via Twitter

you were hilarious! really good stories today! usually people like you don’t pay attention to small schools with “20 people, literally” in it lol!! means a lot! Thanks!
- Tori Anne Rouse via Facebook

You were awesome! And I’m glad our little school Pawnee heights could be there
- Alexis Kent via Facebook


Author:Brandon Schmuck, Teen Blogger for Youth Speaker, Jeff Yalden

“I want to put a ding in the universe.” Brandon Schmuck is a senior class president at Rockwood Area High School. He is an ambitious teen with a dream: to change the world. He plans on majoring in electrical and computer engineering and gaining a background in speaking, writing, business, and the arts. He dreams of becoming an influential business leader and changing the lives of millions through his words and products. He is inspired by his parents and his two younger sisters to be all that he can. In his spare time, he enjoys playing guitar as part of his high school’s jazz band and hitting up the greens during the summer. He loves to write and express his opinion and is an active member of student congress, speech, and Future Business Leaders of America. Online, he has an active presence as a teen blogger for youth motivational speaker, Jeff Yalden, and operates his own personal blog. He enjoys having an impact on those around him and is a member of National Honor Society, Student Council, SADD, and Spanish Honor Society, where he helps at local food drives and school events. Brandon was first inspired by Jeff’s words at Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week, where he heard him as a guest speaker. After hearing him, he knew that he had to bring him to his area. Despite the small size of his school, Brandon managed to gather the funding to bring him, while arranging for a neighboring school to come hear him also. Jeff’s words had an enormous impact on his school; students there were inspired to live their lives to the fullest and make the right decisions. Every day as he walks through the halls, he sees the impact that Jeff’s visit had on the students, as many of them continue to carry his messages with them by wearing his t-shirts. Prior to Jeff’s visit, Brandon published an article on his personal blog and his school’s website, describing what he had heard during Jeff’s speech at PFEW and how he managed to raise the funding for his visit. After reading it, Jeff hired Brandon as a teen blogger. Brandon admires the impact that Jeff has on others and hopes to someday carry the same impact himself.

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