OPPA Youth Prevention Awards


The OPPA Youth Prevention Awards honor Ohio's youth leaders for their contributions to prevention on the local and/or state level. Only OPPA members can nominate award candidates.

Below are narratives about each of the 2023 OPPA Youth Prevention Award recipients. The 2024 Youth Prevention Awards will be presented at the OPPA Youth Prevention Showcase, taking place in the fall of 2024.

Devin Duncan


Devin Duncan is the recipient of the 2023 OPPA Youth Prevention Excellence Award, presented to a teen for exemplary efforts to amplify prevention across Ohio.  

Devin is a senior at Fairfield High School in Butler County. He is also a member of Agents of Change, the countywide youth-led prevention group, as well as a five-year member and senior officer of the Fairfield Prevention Coalition.

With the coalition, Devin has helped plan the high school’s freshmen retreat, organized the 2022 and 2023 Red Ribbon Week events, and serves on multiple committees related to preventing substance use in Fairfield County Schools.

On the county level, Devin was instrumental in planning and organizing the 2023 Butler County Youth Summit with his Agents of Change peers. He contacted school counselors to speak about his personal experience with the Youth Summit to spur other youth to participate.

On the state level, Devin has been a member of the Ohio Youth Led Prevention Network Youth Council and helped plan the 2023 We Are Change Rally, bringing together youth-led teens from all corners of the state for a day of advocacy, celebration, and learning. He has also participated in Youth Advocacy Days, focused on legislative advocacy. Devin was also a featured panelist at an OPPA Community Spotlight, focused on youth prevention advocacy, held earlier in 2023 with an audience of Ohio prevention professionals.

Devin’s prevention commitment has even taken him beyond state lines. He attended CADCA Mid-Year, a national four-day training event for coalition members and prevention advocates, this past summer. He was also a guest on an episode of the Vive 18 podcast. The episode topic: Getting youth involved in prevention.

Devin’s nominator states, “Devin intentionally works with prevention professionals to ensure the work is done in relevant and efficient ways to meet teens where they’re at. He is the epitome of a teen who prioritizes prevention in his local community and statewide and is an asset to any prevention effort or organization with which he is involved.”

Reese Hornick


Reese Hornick is the recipient of the 2023 OPPA Youth Prevention Advocate Award, presented to a teen who is a prevention advocate and a role model to their peers.

A junior at Archbishop Alter High School in Montgomery County, Reese is a member of Alter’s Hope Squad, a peer-to-peer suicide prevention program, addressing the prevention of depression and other mental disorders. Reese and her Hope Squad peers implement Mental Health Days at the high school with the intention of recharging and rejuvenation of students’ mental health, while simultaneously building morale, community, and overall wellbeing.

Reese is also part of Alter High School’s Castle Players, the school’s theatre program. The Castle Players were one of the first theatre programs in the United States to bring The Anxiety Project, a musical that anxiety and depressive disorders, to the stage. Reese played a memorable role in the production, which, after it closed, was re-introduced to the broader community six months later at the request of the Montgomery County Prevention Coalition.

While she’s inherently a prevention advocate in her roles with Hope Squad and the Castle Players, Reese has been an even more pronounced voice for prevention through other roles. In October 2023, she was a featured speaker at the Grant Us Hope Butterfly Bash, a fundraiser for Hope Squad expansion in Ohio. She’s been interviewed about suicide prevention on her local PBS station. And she’s in her second year serving on the Youth Board for GEM Project Dayton, an initiative focused on youth suicide prevention. GEM is an acronym for Goal: Everyone Matters.

“Reese’s ability to speak about her own experiences and advocate for the support of prevention programming make her a perfect award candidate,” Reese’s nominator states. “Reese makes her voice heard in our community.”

Akron UMADAOP Youth-Led Prevention


Akron UMADAOP Youth-Led Prevention is the recipient of the 2023 OPPA Youth Prevention Organization of the Year Award. recognizing exemplary efforts, utilizing youth-based prevention, to advance the mission of the Ohio Prevention Professionals Association, by an agency, coalition, board, business, task force, or other group. The OPPA mission: OPPA employs the power of dialogue, education, networking, and advocacy to amplify a united voice for prevention in Ohio.

Akron UMADAOP is one of Ohio’s 11 Urban Minority Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Outreach Programs. The organization’s Youth Led Prevention program consists of students from 12 different Akron area schools who promote the positive social norm of choosing to live a drug-free lifestyle.

Youth Led Prevention teens meet twice a week during the school year, coalescing around developing a sense of responsibility for their community, while expanding personal growth and providing an opportunity to connect with like-minded peers. The youth learn a variety of skills, from writing and public speaking to leadership and program planning, to equip them for their prevention efforts.

The teens are involved in the planning, organizing, and implementation of their prevention programming, all rooted in serving others for the betterment of self and community. One of their signature initiatives in 2023: Creation of a public service announcement, focused on preventing marijuana use among teens, and broadcast through multiple media platforms in Summit County.

Youth Led Prevention teens’ other community service includes volunteering at local food banks, nursing homes, and homeless shelters.  The teens have walked in 5Ks, such as Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and The Walk to End Alzheimers, and run in Summit County ADM Board’s Recovery Challenge 5K.

The group collects non-perishables for donation to foodbanks, wraps gifts for Toys for Tots, rake leaves for neighborhood elders, and assists with younger kids in various programs.

This service to others, built on a foundation of skill development, prevention knowledge, and collaborative peer relationships, reinforces the healthy decision-making among the program’s teens, while positively impacting many others in their community.


Griffin Greear


Griffin Greear is a recipient of the OPPA Youth Community Champion Award, honoring a teen who goes beyond expectations to champion prevention in their local community. 

Griffin is a sophomore at Oakwood High School in Montgomery County and a member of his school’s Hope Squad. Hope Squads are peer-to-peer suicide prevention programs utilizing education, training, and peer interventions to improve student wellness and build resiliency.

Oakwood students are nominated to the school’s Hope Squad by their peers, based on who students feel most comfortable talking with. Oakwood’s Hope Squad increases awareness of mental and emotional health, directs students to helpful resources, and develops a positive climate of support and resilience at the school. Because of his commitment to suicide and mental disorder prevention, combined with the ease he creates among his peers, Griffin has been a natural leader within the Hope Squad.

Another of Griffin’s key passions is journalism. He is the director of The Ax Media, Oakwood High School’s student news site, and has produced written and video content for the site.

Griffin has applied his journalism skills to broaden the reach of the Hope Squad and promote discussions about mental health and prevention. He has worked with his local PBS station to host several videos providing education on depression, anxiety, and suicide prevention as part of the station’s Mind Frame series. Through the Mind Frame videos, Griffin is influencing young people and adults throughout the region, reducing stigma around mental health, and providing tangible tools to prevent mental disorders to the station’s audience.

“Griffin is a friendly and kind person who ensures that everyone feels like they belong,” states Griffin’s nominator. “He also has an ability to connect with the public and be a voice for his community on large stages."

Brianna Johnson


Brianna Johnson is the recipient of a 2023 OPPA Youth Community Champion Award, which recognizes a teen for going beyond expectations to champion prevention in their community. 

Brianna is a senior at Talawanda High School in Butler County and is a member of the Talawanda High School Youth Initiative Team. The teens involved with the Youth Initiative Team, or Y.I.T., take advocate against substance use, promote mental health, and serve as positive role models to their peers. Y.I.T. is sponsored by the Coalition for a Healthy Community – Oxford Area.

Brianna is a tremendous leader in her school and the greater community. For the past two years, she has served as co-chair of the Youth Initiative Team, leading Y.I.T. in partnering with other student organizations and serving the school and larger community. She recently coordinated a water-coloring activity table, staffed by Y.I.T. teens, at a Best Buddies event for students with special needs and their “buddies.:”

This past year, the Y.I.T. team gathered data, through listening sessions, that suggested students are using electronic vaping devices because they are unhappy, stressed, and wanting to feel better. Under Brianna’s leadership, the members created a “healthy habits lead to a happy life” campaign.

The campaign utilizes multiple messaging interventions and alternative activities to promote healthy means to happiness. Brianna’s capacity to see how the campaign message can be weaved into numerous Y.I.T. efforts, along with her drive to ensure students have constant exposure to the message, are remarkable.

Brianna’s nominator states, “Talawanda has benefited from Brianna’s big heart, her strong work ethic, her willingness to help others, and her initiative to spread prevention throughout the high school community. She truly ‘walks the talk,’ and I am confident she will continue to make a difference after she graduates.”