DFF YAT is made up of Fayette County High School students who want to positively influence their peers and promote a healthy environment in Fayette County Schools. This team was implemented in response to a rise in the number of youths vaping in Fayette County. It brings awareness to the harmful effects of drug misuse including vaping through anti-vaping communication campaigns. DFF YAT currently has teams at McIntosh High School and Whitewater High School.


YAT works to increase the awareness of the risk of substance use. The team’s primary focus is on preventing of underage drinking, tobacco use, and marijuana use. These messages will be conveyed using posters, social media posts in Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter, newspaper articles, and advertisements. YAT members will strengthen their leadership skills through community collaboration as they work to raise awareness, provide information, share resources, and find solutions to address substance use among Fayette County teens.

``My Why`` Essay Contest

DFF YAT McIntosh High School YAT Team launched their "My Why” Essay Contest from March 21-25, 2022 to coincide with National Drug and Alcohol Facts week. Students got together and visited local businesses and secured $325 worth of gift cards to be given away as prizes for essay contest winners. In addition, they gave away 300 bracelets to McIntosh High School Students with the hashtag #mywhy engraved on them and created “my why” wall where over 250 students wrote reasons they chose to abstain from using drugs/alcohol.

Congratulations to the essay contest winners!

Pictured (L-R): Tiffany Costa, Aspen Heist, Karima Wakili, and Wendy Mabon

Summer had just begun and I was ecstatic for 6th grade to finally be over. Middle school was harder than I thought it would be, but I did not need to think about that. Summer break meant no worries, it meant having fun. As I lay awake one night in early June, I realized that I was home alone. I had always been scared of the smallest things, so I quickly texted my mom asking where she was. After a couple of minutes, she responded with, “I’ll be home soon. Your brothers are in big trouble”. Such a cryptic message entailed something 12-year-old me could not even fathom. As I heard a car pulling up in the driveway I also heard the harsh arguments between my mom and my brothers. I was called from my bedroom to face both of my brothers far from sober. I was so young; I didn’t know that high schoolers could even obtain drugs or alcohol. Let alone did I think my very own brothers were capable as well. I felt innocent tears form in my eyes as I found out what teenagers really did for fun. Sitting there, all my brothers could tell me was, “Don’t be like us” over and over. That night I only got an hour of sleep. I make the choice now to be drug and alcohol free because, from that moment on, I saw firsthand the effect it has on the people that love you the most.

That summer was rough but the next school year was even worse. One of my brothers continued with these bad habits. This decision slowly consumed our whole family. Arguments were a regular occurrence as my parents kept finding him guilty of his actions. Not only did I have to deal with middle school, but I also had to deal with this extra layer of stress. It hurt to see someone you respected turn into something you know they are not. My brother was always a good, smart kid, but after hanging with the wrong crowd for too long he was different. I wanted my brother, my family back. When the school year finally ended, my parents took my brother to a group that would help him go on a path to sobriety. Of course, it was never easy, but it was all worth it in the end. My family, once falling apart, was building itself back up.

Despite what others might believe, I do not think my brother is a bad person because of what he did. I choose to think about what he will become rather than dwell on the past. If anything, his sobriety now can be used as a role model for others. I like to tell his story to my friends as a life lesson that drugs and alcohol are not the path you should go down. When I describe what happened from my perspective, it gets people to think in a way that reminds them to think selflessly. The people that love you may not always show it, but your actions can impact them in ways you do not think of.

This part of my life has made me live with the choice to stay away from drugs. Some things are just not worth the time or the expense. Whenever I’m confronted with making a decision that can have a big impact, I always remember my brothers telling me to never be like them. Sometimes you have to choose to be selfless and think of how the people around you would feel. With my story, my peers and I can be inspired to say no to drugs and alcohol no matter what.

Meet Our Youth Action Team Members

DFF YAT is made up of Fayette County High School students who want to positively influence their peers and promote a healthy environment in Fayette County Schools. This team was implemented in response to a rise in the number of youths vaping in Fayette County. It brings awareness to the harmful effects of drug misuse including vaping through anti-vaping communication campaigns. DFF YAT currently has teams at McIntosh High School and Whitewater High School.

Rylee Smith, President

I’m Rylee Smith and I’m a Junior at Whitewater High School. Inside of school, I am involved in many other clubs like HOSA, BETA, FCCLA, National Science Honors Society, National Technical honors society and now Youth Action Council, while outside of school I like to hang out with my friends and work in my free time.

Shreya Gupta

My name is Shreya Gupta and I am a rising senior at McIntosh High School. I was born in Mississippi, and moved to Peachtree City in 2005. I did rowing in 9th and 10th grade, and I plan to continue it again next year. I have a younger brother who will attend MHS next year. My friends on the DFF Youth Action Team encouraged me to join, so I thought about it and decided to show up to the next meeting. The most amazing experience for me was when we launched Drug Facts Week here at McIntosh. I loved reaching my fellow students with facts about harmful substance abuse and I loved working with the people around me! I’m excited about what’s next with this team! 

Olivia Shim

Hi, I’m Olivia Shim. I’m a rising senior at McIntosh. I have been a part of this team ever since my sophomore year. I absolutely love it. I was born in South Korea and moved to the US when I was 2 years old. I love thrifting, running, and doing puzzles! I learned about this amazing team through my healthcare teacher, and I wanted to join because I wanted to be a part of something bigger. I feel strongly about the importance of taking care of one’s body and mental health. I want to help others make the right choice and do everything in my power to advocate for teen substance abstinence. I want to work to grow our platform and help people realize that there are solutions other than drugs. I hope that as a team we will all be able to work together to stop drug and alcohol abuse in our community!

Chris Hartman

My name is Chris and I love playing sports with my friends and playing video games
Being part of the Youth Action Team will allow me to learn more about substance abuse and learn how to prevent myself and other people from it.

Maddie Kellerman

My name is Madison Kellerman but I go by Maddie. I am in 9th grade at Whitewater High School. I joined the Youth Action Team because I want to make a positive impact on my school and spread kindness. Being a part of the Youth Action Team will allow me to spread kindness and positive ideas to the ones around me. Outside of school I am a part of a program called Civil Air Patrol. It teaches leadership and many other useful advantages as I grow and become a better person.

Jackson Lovejoy

I am a rising senior at McIntosh High School who moved here from Philadelphia during my early childhood. I am passionate about the field of technology which I hope to continue throughout college and future career. I joined the Drug-Free Fayette Youth Action Team to help raise awareness among my peers of how one’s life can change and become challenging from substance abuse.

Megan Leclaire

My name is Megan and I was born in Peachtree City. I’m a rising senior at McIntosh High School. I’m the youngest of four children and have a twin brother. I’m a track and field athlete and compete in the 4 x 100, 300 hurdles, 100 hurdles, and 4 x 400. In addition to that I enjoy reading, playing guitar, hanging out with friends, baking, and swimming. I joined the Youth Action Team to make a difference because I know a lot of my peers are currently participating in drugs. I hope to show them how dangerous the drugs are and that there are more options than drugs and alcohol.

Chloe Sayler

Being apart of the Youth Action Team will allow me to help better our community by taking responsibility and campaigning good behavior. By doing this our community will positively benefit and overall become a better environment for the people. By me being in the Youth Action Program I can promote good behavior and help the people around me to make good decisions in order to better the community around me. I love to help my peers when they are struggling in order to make them feel supported so that they do not feel alone in times where they need someone to lead them to make good choices. Overall, me being in the Youth Action Team will help my peers become the best type of people they can possibly be and learn to make good behavioral decisions made by my influence.

Faith Johnson

My name is Faith Johnson, and I’m a Junior. I am in lots of clubs, and my favorite one is PALS. I also love to volunteer and help others. Which is why I am a part of Youth Action Team.
I joined YAT so I can be involved in preventing substance abuse within my school and local community through engaging and positive ways because I know how life damaging they can be and want to encourage my peers to stop before it’s too late.

McKenzie Warrick

My name is McKenzie Warrick and I enjoying running gardening and going to church twice a week! I joined YAT in order to help those struggling with their mental health.

Anna Daniel

My name is Anna Daniel and I’m a freshman at Whitewater High school. My interest in Orchestra, Church, and I joined the Deca team this year. I’m excited about Youth Action Team because I feel like that a team should bring up the problem of drug abuse in our community and school.

Maddie Shelton

Hey! My name is Maddie. I have been on the DFF Youth Action Team for about two years. I’m in multiple honor societies at McIntosh High School where I am currently a junior. I’ve lived in Fayette County all my life and work at a local daycare center. My main interests are in health science and public health. By being a member of the YAT I hope to grow my knowledge about public health and interact with my community directly in a positive way! 

Sydney Watton

My Name is Sydney Watton. I have lived here in Peachtree City  for almost my whole life. I have one sister who is also in high school. I do competitive gymnastics, and it has been my passion for about eight years now. I enjoy math and science classes at school and maybe plan on going into engineering when I go to college.I have always been interested in helping spread awareness to teens about the harms of drug  and alcohol abuse. I want to let them know that there are better things waiting for them.

Maddison McGehee

Hi, my name is Maddison McGehee and I am a junior at Whitewater High School. Currently I am a the co-president of the Class of 2024 Executive Board as well as a member of National Honor Society, PALS, and FCA. I also actively work in my church and babysit. I am excited about YAT because it will enable me to make a difference in my school and community.

Haylee Porter

Hi, my name is Haylee Porter and I’m the communications rep for the Youth Action Team. I’m excited about the Youth Action Team because I think we have a great group of people who can really brainstorm and execute ways to make a difference. I joined YAT because I believe that I can also help contribute to the group and I want to be a part of something greater than myself. Being a part of YAT will allow me to help reach others in a larger way than I feel I would’ve been able to do alone or without the help of my peers. Overall I’m really excited to be a part of the team and I’m excited to see what we accomplish in the future.

Makenna Zeitel

Hi, I’m Makenna Zeitel, a freshman at Whitewater Highschool and I won state with my cheer team in November 2022!  I joined the Youth Action Team because I want to make a difference in my school and help with teen substance abuse, mental health, etc.

Aurora Collins

My name is Aurora Collins, and I am a Freshman at Whitewater High School. I enjoy running, swimming, playing the oboe, and spending time with my friends and dog. I joined Youth Action Team because I want to make a difference

Advisors & Leads

Tara Hannon

Tara Hannon has been a resident of Fayette County for 38 years. She holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a certification as a Master Life Coach, Spiritual Mentor and Relationship Consultant. Tara is the owner of Reintegrative Wellness where she guides individuals as they embark upon an intentional, focused journey towards self-discovery, restoring inner-wholeness, and manifesting a life of peace, happiness, love, passion, and purpose. Tara struggled with addiction in her late teens and began her journey to sobriety in 2001. The experience birthed a deep passion for bringing relief to those suffering from the same battle.

Wendy Mabon, YAT Advisor McIntosh HS

Wendy Mabon grew up in and around Fayette County and graduated from Landmark Christian High School. After graduating from Milligan College in Johnson City, TN with her BA in History, she moved home to Georgia. Wendy began teaching at McIntosh High School in 2003 in the Social Studies Department. She was also the Head Girls Volleyball coach for 19 years leading the Lady Chiefs to six State Championships. Wendy is passionate about teaching and sees her job as a teacher as one of a role model for students. To not only teach them World History, but to help them cultivate the life skills that will go far beyond high school. These life skills include: how to develop a successful and positive attitude, the selfless servant spirit necessary in any job or relationship, how to set and work toward goals, how to deal with adversity, perseverance, and so many more. Wendy is married to Aaron Mabon and they have two beautiful children, Harper and Luke.