Teens providing education and spreading awareness about Tourette
Youth Ambassadors (YAs) are young people trained to speak to their peers about Tourette Syndrome (TS) at schools and host of other venues. YAs are teens with TS and their siblings, friends, and classmates (ages 13 through 17), 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 assits 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.
YAs are available to make presentations during school hours. Our YAs have presented to peers in numerous elementary and secondary schools. Please check out zipcode map to ensure your district is within our network.
Youth Ambassadors also meet with politicians, appear in the media, and assist with fundraising and awareness-raising campaigns.
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.