Noah Feldstein and Trevor Salvior are serving as youth co-chairs of the inaugural NJ Walks for TS at Bergen on November 12th. The event, which was founded in Morris County in 2010, will benefit the education outreach programs of the NJ Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders (NJCTS)—an organization near to both Feldstein and Salvior’s hearts.
Both Salvior and Feldstein are seniors and have Tourette Syndrome (TS)—a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary movements or sounds, known as tics. They were both trained by NJCTS to be Youth Advocates and they are serving as part of NJ Walks for TS at Bergen’s Youth Committee because they know the value of the organization’s education outreach.
Recently, both students have traveled with NJCTS to schools across the state to deliver in-school peer assemblies, designed to break the stigma surrounding TS on behalf of a younger student struggling with the disorder.
“I think it really means a lot for the child [with TS] because now their friends can be more understanding,” said Salvior. “I have the benefit of informing people about TS and have learned more about it through the presentations.”
Even though Youth Advocate presentations are initiated by the needs of a student with TS, the presentation focuses on the universal topics of acceptance and anti-bullying.
Leadership training is a major component of the NJCTS continuum of services for youth with TS—culminating with the NJCTS Tim Howard Leadership Academy, a four-day intensive residential course in self-empowerment, advocacy skills, and techniques for success in college, career, and personal life. Feldstein and Salvior are recent graduates of the Academy and plan to take what they’ve learned, first as Youth Advocates and then through the Academy, to college as they prepare for a future in sports medicine and accounting respectively.
“Demand for our life-changing programs is increasing,” said NJCTS Executive Director Faith Rice. “The success of NJ Walks for TS allows us to deliver more trainings and workshops across the state. 1 in 100 children in New Jersey have TS and their brightest futures are in sight thanks to the help of donors and sponsors.”
While organizers expect a solid turnout from the TS community, Feldstein says the non-TS public stands to gain a lot by being there.
“Stigma increases as we grow from childhood,” said Feldstein. “As we get older, we’re exposed to the media—movies and TV—and take our cues from the way a disorder like TS is portrayed. What we share during our Youth Advocate presentations, is what I think all adults could benefit from—a reminder that, if you see someone different or struggling in some way, console them and make sure they have friends and don’t be afraid to stand up to others in doing so.”
Feldstein will be at the event signing copies of “There Ain’t No Can’t” written by his father, Jeffrey Feldstein, about their experiences as a family living with TS.
Registration begins at 8 a.m. and the opening ceremony is scheduled to start at 9:30. For more information, to register, or to make a donation, please visit www.njcts.org or call 908-575-7350.
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, food, and games for the whole family