I first meet Jeff Yalden at our local high school following an assembly where he had spoke to our High School students. My daughter came home telling me that a man (Jeff Yalden) had spoken at her school describing the event as very impactful.
My daughter was aware that Mr. Yalden would be at the school that evening to recap with parents what he had shared with students earlier in the day. We returned to the school that evening. Arriving early I hoped for the opportunity to get few minutes with Mr. Yalden to discuss challenges my son was facing.
Mr. Yalden took the time to visit and coach me on things I needed to do and things I needed to do differently.
My sons condition seemed to be deteriorating. He struggled to attend school. Refused to take his medication. Didn’t feel a need to see his doctors. Stopped seeing his therapist. He frequently mentioned not having a will to live. For me, I really did not know where to turn.
I thought back on the conversation I had with Mr. Yalden, and the impact my daughter said he had on students. I decided to send Mr. Yalden a email explaining the situation. I was unsure if I would even get a response back as I know he is a very busy man, speaks to hundreds on young people a week, and my boy is only one person.
The next day Mr. Yalden called me. We discussed my concerns regarding my son. Mr. Yalden remembered our initial meeting and said, “I am willing to help! He put together a video reaching out to my son inviting him into a relationship with Mr. Yalden as a “Significant Trusted Adult”. At this point, it was up to my son to choose the invitation or not. Things on his end did not happen quickly but he did make the first step, reached out, and admitted he needed help.
Today, Mr. Yalden and I, Mr. Yalden and my son too, communicate on a daily basis. Their relationship continues to grow. With the support of Mr. Yalden we now have a plan to finish High School. We have made a Doctor’s appointment that would not have happened without his support and each morning starts with taking the medications prescribed for him. A few days ago, he was reviewing a 28 day plan that Mr. Yalden is coaching him through.
Today we are celebrating small wins. The successes are more frequently. This is progress that undoubtedly would not have happened without the support of Jeff Yalden.
*The image testimonial is this young man making life changes and graduated from high school, but not before doing all the work he had to do. Jeff worked with the boy, his family, and the school principal. Ultimately, we saved this the life of this young man and gave hope to the family.