Tim Howard connection nets NJ Center for Tourette series of donations from North Brunswick High School

Students and faculty of soccer superstar’s alma mater have set a goal of raising $5,000 – $2,300 of which already has been collected – to benefit the programs and services of NJCTS.

NORTH BRUNSWICK – Each year, the Student Government Organization at North Brunswick High School chooses a charity for which to raise money. When the time came to select the 2012-2013 charity, Meg Wright of the school’s social studies department immediately thought of Tourette Syndrome because of her link to one of the school’s most notable graduates – soccer superstar Tim Howard.

Howard, who has TS and is a member of the United States National Team, graduated North Brunswick High School in 1997; Meg Wright, a friend of Howard’s, was right behind in 1998. To her, the connection was a no-brainer.

“I thought it would give a face to what we were raising money for,” said Wright, a faculty adviser for North Brunswick’s SGO, “and that if you were affected with Tourette, it didn’t need to hold you back.”

Upon being contacted by Wright, Howard was immediately on board – autographing and donating one of his national team jerseys. From there, a raffle for the jersey was organized – just the beginnings of a yearlong fundraising campaign that will benefit the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders (NJCTS), an organization near and dear to Howard’s heart for more than a decade. Collaborative Partnerships for the Tourette Syndrome Community Photo courtesy of North Brunswick High School North Brunswick High School Student Government Organization adviser Meg Wright presents junior Brian Pelszynski with an autographed Tim Howard soccer jersey at school pep rally on January 18 after Pelszysnki won a student raffle aimed at generating donations for the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome.

Between the raffle, two staff “Jeans Days,” a “paper link” pep rally and a student auction, North Brunswick High School is hoping to raise $5,000 for NJCTS. So far, $2,300 has come pouring in. The raffle, which was won by junior Brian Pelszynski and concluded January 18, generated $1,000. The pep rally activity, in which the SGO sold paper links for 50 cents each on January 18, brought in $792 – $300 of which came from the senior class. And the Jeans Days, in which members of the staff were permitted to wear jeans on October 12, 2012, and January 18 if they donated $5, collected $535.

The student auction – during which students may bid on the services of a student who will walk them to class, carry their books and serve them lunch – will take place April 19. But according to Wright, that’s not all the students and staff are doing to help out NJCTS.

“We ask every sport and club to donate money to the charity every year,” she said. “And in the beginning of the year, we created awareness for TS by writing up a report for all of our homeroom reps in SGO to read to their homerooms about what TS is, so they would know about our charity of the year.”

Tourette Syndrome is a misunderstood, misdiagnosed, inherited neurological disorder characterized by vocal sounds or motor movements known as tics. It affects 1 in 100 children, teenagers and adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And according to NJCTS Executive Director Faith W. Rice, advocacy efforts such as these putting on by North Brunswick High School will have impact on the TS community for many years to come.

“We are truly grateful for the fundraising and awareness efforts of the students and faculty at North Brunswick High School, and to Tim Howard for once again showing why he is a local, national and international example of philanthropy and success in the TS community,” Rice said. “We graciously accept these donations, which will effectively serve the children and families in the New Jersey TS community through our statewide education outreach, peer advocacy and family support initiatives.”

More information about NJCTS is available by calling 908-575-7350 or at www.njcts.org.