Young people these days have been advancing their technology in so many different ways, and I think that it is so important to channel and use technology to learn and research about what is going on in your community. Not many young people realize how big of an impact they can make if they take a few hours, or even minutes, out of their day to read and care about an issue.
When I started to take time out of my day four years ago as a sophomore in high school to channel my energy into learning about Tourette Syndrome, a great event, great friends and great opportunities came out of it. The stories I have heard and the people I have met through the annual NJ Walks For TS at Mendham have touched my life in a way that is indescribable.
Having adults, as well as small children, come up to me and personally thank me, my friends and my family for our efforts and support is a feeling that I would never give back and give everything for more people to experience.
This event has grown throughout the past several years and will continue to grow. Everyone that has become a part of the event — this year’s walk on Saturday, November 23, will be our 4th! — has enriched their lives not only in feeling good about themselves, but also learning about personal experiences of those with TS.
Young people have such potential for making a change in the lives of adults, as well as the future for smaller children. Older organizations and companies that see young people enrich their lives, as well as other people’s lives, want to work and have those young people in their own organizations.
Leadership is one quality in young people that is hard to find and not that hard to show. To step up and be a leader shows courage, creativity and an ability to inspire others. Being the “top dog” at an event is not the only way to become noticed and make a difference.
Things as little as helping set up and clean up, registering friends and family, advertising by word of mouth, and even just improving knowledge of the event have a huge impact. This event would be nothing without the help of my friends and family, the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders (NJCTS) and local schools.
I encourage young people, as well as people in the community, to step up and help support this event. It does not take much, but every small effort goes a long way. The effort and support people put in, as little as it may be, grows and goes such a long way. It enriches the lives of others as well as yourself. Leadership is contagious. All it takes is one small step.
So how can you get involved, even if you don’t live anywhere near Mendham, New Jersey? For starters, you can donate to the event. Every single penny brought in will go toward helping the 1 in 100 NJ kids affected by TS — toward educating teachers and nurses at schools in every corner of the state, as well as conducting peer trainings and anti-bullying sessions on behalf of New Jersey kids with Tourette Syndrome. TS affects every aspect of a child’s life, and nowhere is the impact greater than at school and with their peers.
Second, if you do live within driving distance of Mendham — and there are lots of people in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania who do! — you can register for and attend the event! It promises to be a lot of fun on a cool, crisp fall day — perfect for spending outside alongside people equally committed to the TS cause!
And third, you can spread the word about the event to EVERYONE! You never know who might show up, who might donate or who might be watching and taking notes about your advocacy efforts. All it takes is one person with enough influence to change the world. It can be you! Remember that!