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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.
NJCTS Youth Advocates Tess and Paige Kowalski have been on a roll lately. In addition to their presentation at Hamilton Primary School they also presented to the 6th grade class at Temple Emanu-El in Westfield, NJ this week. They educated approximately 50 students and 2 instructors about Tourette Syndrome and the associated disorders and shared their TS stories. Brava, ladies!
Earlier this week, NJCTS Youth Advocates Tess and Paige Kowalski were joined by Youth Advocate-in-training Cami Jimenez to present to the third graders at Hamilton Primary School in Bridgewater, NJ. More than 115 students learned about Tourette Syndrome, acceptance, and treating others with respect. After school that same day, Education Outreach Coordinator Gina Maria Jones presented to 50 faculty and staff members. Now, the Hamilton School community has the tools to help kids with TS thrive. Way to go, ladies!
Today, NJCTS Youth Advocates Anna, Sarah, and Eric Baldwin presented to the 7th and 8th graders at Clearview Middle School in Mullica Hill, NJ. Nearly 900 students and teachers learned about Tourette Syndrome, tolerance, and acceptance. The Baldwins were joined by their cousin Rachel who spoke about her TS for the first time! Here they are with Clearview Middle School Principal Robin Bazzel. We are so proud of the great work this family is up to, spreading understanding and awareness of TS throughout South Jersey. Bravo!