NJ Walks for TS was founded for kids, by kids, to benefit kids across the state of New Jersey living with Tourette Syndrome. Tara Barr has spent time on both sides of that equation—she’s living with Tourette Syndrome and is working as a youth co-chair to raise awareness of this Saturday’s event on behalf of the 1 in 100 New Jersey children living with the disorder.
Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary movements or sounds, known as tics. Most children and teens with TS experience myriad other neurological and mental health disorders including ADHD, OCD, learning disabilities, anxiety, and depression.
The Nutley High School tenth-grader has been part of NJ Walks for TS, a 5K walk/family fun run since 2012, when the event was held in Morris County. Over the years, NJ Walks for TS has grown to become a statewide movement. This Saturday marks the inaugural Bergen County walk, which will be held at the Overpeck Park Amphitheater.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the education outreach program of NJCTS—which includes faculty and peer in-service workshops at schools, hospital grand rounds presentations for physicians, and youth advocate training. Tara’s experience as an NJCTS Youth Advocate and alumna of the NJCTS Tim Howard Leadership Academy has ignited a passion for helping students struggling with stigmatized conditions and their peers. She leads students in school assemblies that focus on acceptance, empowerment, and anti-bullying.
“I think it’s helpful for kids to hear from someone living with Tourette Syndrome, hopefully it gives them a sense of peace; a feeling that having TS does not need to hold them back,” she said. “My experience has been that, if I make the person that does not have TS aware, they are more understanding and are less likely to make fun of [someone else’s] symptoms.”
The outreach programs provided by NJCTS have proven to be successful; demand for presentations continues to grow across the state.
“Supporting NJ Walks for TS at Bergen, by registering to join us on November 12th or by making a donation, allows NJCTS to send more presenters to more schools and hospitals,” said NJCTS Executive Director Faith W. Rice. “These presentations not only benefit the students with TS, but have a measurable impact on the way educators and clinicians choose to recognize and deliver the most effective strategies to all students and patients.”
NJ Walks for TS at Bergen
Sat. Nov. 12th
Check-in beings at 8 a.m. Kick-off at 9:15
Register online at www.njcts.org/walk
Rain or Shine
Overpeck Park Amphitheater, 199 Challenger Road, Ridgefield Park
Live music by Good Works Band and Carl Gentry
Silent Auction & 50/50
Fun and games for the whole family
Subs by Jersey Mikes
For information about Tourette Syndrome, the education outreach programs of NJCTS, or NJ Walks for TS, call 908-575-7350 or visit www.njcts.org.