Teens and young adults providing education and spreading awareness about Tourette Syndrome.
Youth Ambassadors (YAs) are young people trained to speak to their peers about Tourette Syndrome (TS) at schools and other venues. YAs can be teens with TS or anyone ages 13 through 18 and are still in secondary school, who are committed to promoting awareness of TS. They are formally trained in public speaking and in conducting peer-to-peer presentations. YAs are paired with an adult (generally a parent/guardian) who assists with programming, scheduling, and other arrangements for this community outreach effort. YAs foster understanding, sensitivity and tolerance of TS and its symptoms. They dispel the myths and stereotypes that are frequently associated with this often misunderstood and misdiagnosed neurological disorder. By educating kids their own age and younger, YAs ensure that their generation will grow up with a better understanding of TS, hopefully making bias and bullying a thing of the past.
Rising Leaders are young adults ages 18-25 who have been previously trained as a Youth Ambassador. The program was recently created to expand on the YA program to continue to provide education about TS to other young adults and to mentor the upcoming Youth Ambassadors.
Youth Ambassadors and Rising Leaders will be made available to make presentations for any size group. They also meet with politicians, appear in the media, and assist with fundraising and awareness-raising campaigns. Please check out our zip code map to ensure your school district or other group is within our network.
History of the Youth Ambassador Program
The Youth Ambassador Program was founded in 2005 by a child with TS and her family. Listening to her mom giving a presentation about TS to teachers, Jennifer Zwilling realized that kids needed to learn about the disorder too and that kids with TS could be empowered to be effective peer educators. Over 150 teens from across the nation have attended Youth Ambassador training sessions in Washington D.C.