NJCTS Youth Advocate featured on ABC’s “Protect Our Children” special

PROTECT_OUR_CHILDREN_Date Time WABCOn April 16th, ABC aired the, “PROTECT OUR CHILDREN: COPING, STRESS, & MOVING FORWARD” special hosted by Eyewitness News Anchor, Diana Williams. This special describes what experts are referring to as an epidemic of stress-related problems plaguing our children. It’s not easy being a kid these days and the American Psychological Association says one in three teens is stressed. Doctors report they are treating kids as young as six for Migraines and Ulcers. NJCTS Youth Advocate Tom Licato of South Plainfield, NJ, was featured in the program along with other young people dealing with physical, mental, and economic stress-related problems.

“Meeting a 17 year old High School Junior on a mission to educate others about Tourette Syndrome, he’s clearly a leader and a powerful advocate,” said the special’s producer, Jeelu Billimoria. “Finally being diagnosed in 6th grade was a relief for him and he continues to be treated at Overlook Medical Center’s Neuroscience Institute.”

Click here to watch one of NJCTS’s finest advocates on ABC.

 

Skiier races toward Tourette awareness

KylaKyla, a sixth grade student from Oak Ridge, represented the state of New Jersey in Gilford, New Hampshire at the Pice Invitational Ski Race last month for the second year in a row. Kyla was invited to participate in this race because she placed in the top 10 ski racers in her age in the tri-state area–in fact, she placed third in NJ this year! Kyla was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome in third grade and never let it hold her back. Today, she is raising awareness for TS and she’s asking the Mayor to recognize June 4 as Tourette Syndrome Awareness day in Jefferson Township. She is certainly one of The GreaTS!

Join Kyla and NJCTS in getting towns all across New Jersey to recognize June 4th as TS Awareness Day!

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Kyla received her trophy at the NJSRA Banquet.

Kyla received her trophy at the NJSRA Banquet.

Youth Advocate Tess speaks to doctors at Hunterdon Medical Center

Last week, NJCTS Youth Advocate Tess Kowalski and NJCTS partner doctor Harvey Bennett, MD, Goryeb Children’s Hospital, engaged the doctors at Hunterdon Medical Center with a powerful Grand Rounds presentation. After Dr. Bennett gave an overview of Tourette Syndrome and the associated disorders from a medical perspective, Tess and her father, Tim, shared their personal experiences with TS.

Tess and other NJCTS Youth Advocates like her are helping the medical community deepen their understanding of the needs of patients with TS and their families. Way to go, Tess!

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Youth Advocate Jacob speaks to students at Deal School

Recently, NJCTS Youth Advocate Jacob Gerbman presented to the fifth graders at Deal School in Deal, NJ. The students learned about Tourette Syndrome, acceptance, and treating others with respect. After Jacob’s presentation, the students welcomed their classmate, Nolan, to the front of the room to answer some questions about his experience with TS. Together, Jacob and Nolan helped to create an open and supportive atmosphere for all students in attendance. School counselor Christine Priest said, “Jacob was amazing. He was such as good role model not only to Nolan but the other students as well.” Nolan said afterwards he “felt like a star!”Image-1 Image-3 Image-5 Image-8

Teens Hit the Town for NJ Walks for TS

There’s a pack of girls on the loose in Central Jersey. The Youth Co-Chairs of the NJ Walks for Tourette Syndrome at Princeton are going door-to-door recruiting support for their mission of advocacy on behalf of the 1 in 100 New Jersey kids living with Tourette Syndrome, a neurological condition known for involuntary movements or sounds known as tics.

Tess Kowalski, 16, of Plainsboro; Hallie Hoffman, 16, of Hillsborough; and Ally Abad, 16, of North Brunswick understand the physical, emotional, and academic challenges that accompany a TS diagnosis. All three are uniquely talented and share a passion for demystifying the disorder by volunteering as Youth Advocates through the NJ Center for Tourette Syndrome (NJCTS). They are trained to deliver educational presentations to clinicians, teachers, and peers to build acceptance and understanding of TS.

All proceeds from NJ Walks for TS at Princeton will benefit the NJCTS Education Outreach Program, which provides in-service trainings and Youth Advocate presentations to schools and hospitals across the state, promoting awareness of the disorder.

Tess, Hallie, and Ally are spokespersons not just for the walk, but for the programs the walk will benefit.

“I love to educate the public, teachers, and students about TS so that one day, a kid will have TS and will be accepted because their friends and teachers would have already learned about it,” said Tess. “(As a Youth Advocate) I’m speaking up so that they won’t have to. I hope that soon, a kid with TS won’t have to explain their condition to other kids, that their friends will already know about TS and accept them.”

Tess and her sister Paige, 13, were the inspiration for the Princeton event of NJCTS’s statewide NJ Walks for TS program. The Kowalski Family, led by Tim and Leslie, have served as hosts since 2014. NJ Walks began in 2010 in North Jersey as the first advocacy event for kids, by kids, to benefit NJ kids.

The Youth Co-chairs are asking residents and local businesses for a show of support by registering for the 5K walk/family fun run at www.njcts.org.

Ally invites walkers, runners, kids, and families of all abilities to join the movement on April 3rd because “not only is it a nice thing to do, but it’s important to learn about what other people go through.”

“Having so many people from the local community—whether they have TS or not—makes everyone feel incredibly encouraged and accepted,” adds Hallie. “Whether you have TS or not, the walk is a fun and active event that takes little effort but makes a huge difference for the people affected by its benefits.”

To help these three in their walk for TS, join them on April 3rd at Mercer County Park West in West Windsor for an afternoon of fun, food from The Corner Bakery Cafe at Princeton Marketfair, music from NJ 101.5, and a message of self-empowerment by registering today at www.njcts.org or call 908-575-7350.