Illinois Human Performance Project


The Human Performance Project is a nationally recognized program founded by 30 year human performance researcher and Olympic trainer, John Underwood. Partnering with the Veteran Navy SEALS of Applied Performance Sciences, the program’s message of healthy choices and positive leadership empowers students to hold one another accountable to decisions that lead to optimal performance.


John’s research on sleep, nutrition, substance use, mood, mindset, and recovery all show the impacts of these factors on an individual and group’s performance. Utilizing leadership skills such as communication, debriefing, conflict management, strategic planning, and more, gives students hands-on, practical application knowledge on how to lead their peers to making these healthy choices for the betterment of themselves, their school, and their community.

Although the program is also known as Life of an Athlete, the Illinois chapter of this national project targeted to all students, not just athletes. Living your best lifestyle pertains to academics, athletics, extra-curricular, and any type of performance.

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John Underwood is the founder of the Life of an Athlete Human Performance Project and was instrumental in designing the Human Performance Program for the US Navy SEAL Teams. A former NCAA All-American, International-level distance runner and World Masters Champion, John has coached or advised more than two dozen Olympians including World and Olympic Champions. He holds three International Olympic Solidarity diplomas for coaching and has appeared as a guest commentator for ABC Wide World of Sports. John has served as a human performance adviser to many high level sport federations including the NCAA, NHL, NBA, NFL, the U.S. Olympic Committee, Sport Canada and the International Olympic Committee.

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Applied Performance Sciences (APS) is dedicated to expanding the capacity for performance in human beings at the individual and organizational levels. Achieving peak performance in any discipline requires a specific set of conditions and specialized preparation—physical, mental, behavioral, and neurobiological. With a unique understanding of these factors, APS has developed methods for applying them to teams and individuals to maximize performance. Founded by US Navy SEALs and developed in conjunction with Olympic and professional sport coaches, Veteran Navy SEALS deliver content and training that is applicable to any environment in which peak performance is desired.

APS Website

Human Performance Project in Illinois

More about HPP in Illinois


Kaira Klingler

Kaira is the Project Lead on the IL HPP initatives. From a young age, Kaira has had a passion for leadership development, helping others, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This stayed with her throughout her college experience at the University of Alabama where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies with a focus on interpersonal relationships, addiction, and human growth and development. She began her career working with parents of young children which lead to her learning more about the world of prevention. After being in the prevention field for five years, she has continued to be inspired by her long-lasting passions. Kaira’s favorite aspect of the Illinois Human Performance Project is having the opportunity to enhance the well-being of young people through education. When she is not rooting on her college football team or in the office, Kaira enjoys spending time with her family and volunteering with a local animal rescue.

Erin Donlin

Erin is our newest Prevention Specialist with IL HPP! Her primary role will be working with our local communities to help encourage, educate, and support coaches and youth to live their best lives! She also helps to create social media content, assist with website design and maintenance, host events and activities as well as participate in outreach to build connections and promote chapter development. Erin has a very diverse background and skillset starting with a bachelor’s degree in interior architecture, certification in health and life coaching, strong sales experience, eye for artistic creativity, and strong communication skills.

Abbie Lee

Abbie, a prevention specialist, graduated from Ferris State University, in Big Rapids, MI, where she pursued her Bachelor’s degree in Applied Speech Communication while concentrating in both Public Advocacy and English Literature. She has always had a strong passion for working with an active nonprofit organization such as, OMNI Youth Services, and is excited for the work she will be doing with IL HPP. Abbie is looking forward to working alongside the prevention team to help encourage youth to live their best lives by making the best choices they can for themselves.

Jorie Ouimet

Jorie Ouimet has over 17 years of experience in the field of health prevention, education and community outreach. She currently is the Link Together Coalition Prevention Project Lead in Wheeling Township. Implementing evidence-based high school and middle school prevention programming and working with students on building leadership skills are two of many current projects she manages. Jorie believes that empowering and educating students to be the best version of themselves are key components to their successful future.

Julie Berry

Julie graduated from the Trinity International University with a bachelor’s degree in Youth Ministry and is currently getting her Master’s in Clinical Mental Health. She is passionate in helping others find their true self so they are more fully alive and in turn, so is the world. She loves the heart behind the human performance project (HPP) because its foundational goal is to inspire toward optimal performance which include all the good stuff: positivity, healthy choices, accountability, and untapping your greatest potential.

Courtney Ray

Courtney, a prevention specialist, graduated from the University of Iowa where she pursued her Bachelor’s degree in Health Promotions with a certificate in Public Health. Courtney is also a Certified Health Coach and Certified Health Education Specialist. She has always had a passion for working in prevention and helping individuals reach their personal health goals. Courtney is excited to begin her work with the prevention team to help promote the good work OMNI youth services and IL HPP are doing to encourage individuals to live their best lives.

Nick Taylor

Nick graduated from the University of Illinois with a bachelor’s degree in Recreation, Sport, and Tourism with a Minor in Leadership Studies. He has a strong passion for the connection between leadership and athletics and is interested in how people’s different leadership qualities can all contribute to a team’s success. Overall, Nick is excited to demonstrate to youth how to unlock their full leadership potential!

Leia Atas

Leia, the Digital Marketing Specialist and newest addition to the team, is a recent graduate from Illinois State University, with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and a master’s degree in communication. The rise in social media and technology has caught her eye in recent years, and she has taken a special interest personally and professionally in the field. As a Division I college golfer, Leia faced many mental and physical challenges, which is what inspired her to work for IL HPP. She has always been an advocate for both good mental and physical health, which is why she can be found hiking, climbing, running, or doing yoga in her free time. Leia is excited to help IL HPP and OMNI Youth Services expand their reach on social media and help students and other individuals be successful in all aspects of their lives!

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This work is made possible by OMNI Youth Services. Please visit their website to learn more about the variety of services they offer.

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