The Jeff Yalden Experience Rocks Rockwood

Last Friday, the Rockwood auditorium was filled with more laughter and crying than ever when international speaker, Jeff Yalden, spoke with the students there.  The students were extremely enthusiastic and not one had fallen asleep.  They held signs high in the air and even gave Mr. Yalden a standing ovation at the end of his speech.

Jeff Yalden had been the talk of the school for the past month, as students that heard him at the Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week had rejoiced his message.  Two weeks prior, the Class of 2013 Bonfire booth gave students the opportunity to win his t-shirts and accessories.  Posters flooded the hallways, while students wondered whether or not he would be the typical boring speaker.

Much to their surprise, Jeff Yalden was the complete opposite of dull.  As he walked in, many students were caught off-guard by the fact that instead of being the typical professional in a suit, he appeared more as a casual biker, with tattoos running down his arms, ear piercings, and an accompanying goatee.  He began his speech introducing himself and telling the audience about his own teenage life.

His story was that of a student with attention deficit disorder (though they did not have that in his time!), whom appeared to fail at everything he did.  In his junior year, his girlfriend broke up with him because she thought he would do nothing with his life.   His parents had abused him, and he had been kicked out of their house when he turned 18.  He had ranked 128 out of 133 students in his class, and his future appeared hopeless.

However, he then joined the Marines and began to make something of his life.  When he returned from the Gulf War, he began a career in teaching, where he found his true calling: inspiring young people.

He discovered that he could connect with teenagers in a way like no other and began his career of motivational speaking.  Since then, he has been featured as a teen coach in MTV MADE and has spoken to over 4 million people in all 50 states and 48 countries.

Jeff Yalden engaged the whole student audience at Rockwood and Somerset High School and Bishop McCort Catholic High School, where he had spoken earlier last week.  He walked around the audience asking students questions like, “Are you entitled to the respect of others?” and, “Are you as pretty on the inside as the outside?”  Many had trouble answering these, as their true character was put up to question.

Jeff carried many important messages through his stories, including “Take Time To Think” and battling anger with the 4 Cs: Calm, Cool, Collected, Control.  He stressed the importance of spending time with loved ones, stating that love is spelled T-I-M-E.

The students of Rockwood were truly touched by his visit, and it would not have been possible without contributions from the community.  The Somerset Drug and Alcohol Commission and the Communities in Schools of Pennsylvania had both given $1,000 and the Turkeyfoot Valley School District had contributed financially to bring their own students to hear his message.

Bringing Jeff Yalden to your school will greatly impact the student body, and Mr. Yalden’s message will stay with them long after he leaves.  Mr. Yalden truly portrays his message in a way like no other speaker and teaches real life lessons.  As he puts it, “I don’t talk to students.  I talk with them.”  Visit for information on how you can have Mr. Yalden talk with the students in your area and change their lives.  Follow him on, Facebook, and Twitter for the latest news.

This article was also published in Somerset County’s Daily American.


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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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