A message from Tim Howard
As the starting goalkeeper of the United States Men’s National Soccer Team, I embrace the daily challenge of honing my skills to ensure I am at my best. As a member of the Board of Directors of the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders (NJCTS), I am spearheading an opportunity to help adolescents ages 14 – 17 living with Tourette Syndrome to develop the skills they need to succeed as adults.
Tourette Syndrome is an inherited, misunderstood neurological disorder that affects 1 in 100 children and adolescents. Its effects can be particularly devastating during the teenage years. I would know – I was diagnosed with TS at age 11. I struggled mightily in school, but early on, my athletic talent was discovered and I was fortunate to have coaches and mentors guide me every step of the way through the many challenges I faced. Those successes kept me focused, and my abilities began to outweigh the perceived inabilities that come along with a diagnosis of Tourette Syndrome. I want to see similar experiences for adolescents with TS everywhere. That’s why I joined with NJCTS last August to pilot the NJCTS Tim Howard Leadership Academy. I’m pleased to announce that the Academy will become an annual program, beginning in 2015.
The Academy offers an innovative program that gives teens with TS a toolkit of skills they need to take charge of their lives. The 4-day session is designed to promote social connectedness, a sense of belonging, and the awareness that anything is possible for them in life – all while spending their time on campus in a Rutgers University residential setting that offers fun and camaraderie.
This program, just one of the NJCTS youth development programs, educates teens with TS about the biological, psychological, and social aspects of their condition, and teaches them about self-leadership, self-empowerment and resilience. The goal is for these teens to be better prepared to visualize possibilities, solve problems, navigate life systems and develop supportive networks.
Teens with TS need help in realizing that potential – just like I did. I wouldn’t have spent the past 15 years as a starting goalkeeper in Major League Soccer, the English Premier League or with the US Men’s National Team without that help.
I am now asking for your help. Please join me in launching the NJCTS Tim Howard Leadership Academy and supporting all the wonderful youth development programs offered by NJCTS. Your financial support will give kids with TS the assist they need in life and continue to make a difference for years to come. Please click here to donate or send your check to NJCTS at the address below.
From everyone on the NJCTS team we thank you for your generosity and wish you health and happiness in the New Year!
Tim Howard, NJCTS Board of Directors New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders, Inc.