Montville sixth- and seventh-graders get lessons about Tourette Syndrome from NJCTS Youth Advocates Tess and Tara

NJCTS Youth Development Coordinator Maddie Pucciarello; Kyle, Tina, and Nikki Swords; NJCTS Youth Advocates Tess Kowalski and Tara Barr; with School Counselor Susan Rappaport.

More than 600 sixth and seventh graders at Robert R. Lazar Middle School in Montville, NJ learned about Tourette Syndrome and about treating others with respect after NJCTS Youth Advocate Tess Kowalski’s recent presentation. The students welcomed their classmate Kyle to the front of the room to answer some questions about his experience with TS. Youth Advocate-in-training Tara Barr also answered some questions. Tess, Tara, Kyle, School Counselor Susan Rappaport, and NJCTS Youth Development Coordinator Maddie Pucciarello did an outstanding job creating an open and supportive atmosphere to finish out the school’s week of respect!

NJCTS Youth Advocates present in schools, community groups, and hospitals throughout New Jersey about Tourette Syndrome and its associated disorders. In addition to providing an overview of the neurological disorder, Youth Advocates promote understanding and tolerance and deliver a strong anti-bullying message. The presentations have grown to include a discussion of the Six Pillars of Character: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship.

“Our Youth Advocates foster understanding, sensitivity, and tolerance of TS while displacing the myths and stereotypes that are often associated with this misunderstood and misdiagnosed disorder,” said NJCTS Executive Director Faith W. Rice. “By educating others, we hope that each new generation will grow up with a better understanding of TS, making bias a thing of the past.”

For more information about Tourette Syndrome and the NJCTS Youth Advocate program, contact 908-575-7350 or www.njcts.org.