School hosts inspirational speaker Jeff Yalden

Addie Trojanowski, Editor-in-chief

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Inspiring kids to live a better, healthier, and happier life Jeff Yalden made a visit on Tuesday, Feb.6. Mrs.Dudley believed that after the experience we had in previous weeks, it was important that we have someone come in a speak to students and staff about life.

“I thought Jeff hit just the right notes with students and staff. He has left us all with a lot to think about, and hopefully helped us recognize that it is okay to ask for help,” Dudley said. “I really think his visit was beneficial to us all.”

At 46, Jeff Yalden is a man of many talents and a life full of knowledgeable experiences. He is named North America’s #1 Motivation Speaker, Amazon #1 best-selling author, Mr. New Hampshire Male America, and two time “Marine of the Year.” He also was also a “life coach” on MTV’s longest-running reality show, “MADE.”

“To be honest with you, I am prouder now telling my story, because I am healthier now than I ever have been,” Yalden said.

Moving from New York to New Hampshire was what made Yalden into the man he is today. This was the most tragic times in his life and the transition from state to state sent Yalden into a depression that left him hospitalized.

“That is probably what led me to do what I do today, because it was such a culture shock. I ended up being hospitalized for depression and suicidal thoughts. I think that time in my life was pretty traumatic, but I think that also brought me to what I do today,” Yalden said.

Although he has been very successful in his life, Yalden does not hesitate to share and acknowledge the fact that he has mental illnesses. He has suffered from depression and suicidal tendencies. He was also diagnosed with major depression, bi-polar type 2, and PTSD. Along with these mental health issues, he had diabetes as well.

“Over the years you do gain more experience and wisdom, but also with my own therapy that is probably the greatest wisdom. More importantly, the work that I do every day with teenagers I learn so much. This really is not work to me. I am just really passionate about teens,” Yalden said.

After traveling to every state in the United States, every providence in Canada, and 48 countries, Devine had the privilege of hosting Yalden. There were four assemblies throughout the day. The first one of the day was with the junior and senior class. The second assembly was with the sophomore and freshman class. That was followed with a lunch meeting with teachers and staff. Lastly, Yalden spent time with families and community members after school.

“Little by little I was asked to speak here, and then speak there, and then 25 years later now, I am here in Devine, Texas and I think it is awesome,” Yalden said.

Not only did Yalden speak to students and staff all day, he also came to both the Warhorse and Arabian basketball games that night. Yalden spent his time in the stands with students cheering on both the teams.

“It makes me happy. I have been where you guys are. After a day like today where I get to meet you guys, I would not want to be doing anything else,” Yalden said.

One of the details that Yalden touched on was the importance of being aware and asking for help. He teaches that you can learn from your experiences and through asking questions.

“You’re going to be judged whether you ask for help or you don’t ask for help,” Yalden said. “This isn’t even mental health or mental illness, this is your journey in life, and if you don’t ask the questions it is going to affect you with something else later down the road. We are learning every day. This is the greatest time in your life.”

Another point that he made is that he believes that one of the most important things you can have is self-confidence and self-esteem.

“Self-esteem is everything. Self-esteem is confidence. I think at the end of the day confidence always win,” Yalden said.

While students and staff were the key audience for this lesson and motivational speech, Yalden also learned from this experience. He looked forward to come and talk to us about what we had been through, where we want to be, and how we are going to get there together.

“It hurts my heart for what you guys had to go through, but if I can encourage your teachers every day to make sure that you guys know that you are loved and you have a trusted adult in your life,” Yalden said. “This just gives me incredible purpose in life. I love you guys.”