Trio of Jeans Days raises nearly $1,000 to benefit New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome

Collaborative Partnerships for the Tourette Syndrome Community

Students and faculty from Mountain View Middle School in Mendham, East Greenwich Township Schools in Mickleton and South Plainfield Middle School took part in the effort

In October 2012, North Brunswick High School’s faculty held the first “Jeans Day” to benefit the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders (NJCTS). Since then, six other Jeans Days – in which faculty donate up to $5 for the right to wear jeans for the day – have taken place at schools in every corner of New Jersey, including three in December 2013 alone.

Mountain View Middle School in Mendham collected $145 from its Jeans Day, which was set up by fifth-grade teacher Kerri McCaffrey. In conjunction with Mountain View’s Jeans Day, student Casey Warcola, 11, sold “I’m An Upstander” Tourette Syndrome awareness bracelets as part of a project for Boy Scout Troop 1 in Mendham and netted an additional $70 in donations.

“Many of us participated, wanting to help people with Tourette Syndrome and associated disorders,” McCaffrey said of the Mountain View faculty. “I was proud to have Casey Warcola help with setting up the collection box for the (Jeans Day) and for the bracelet pick-up. We know the money will help make better lives for people with Tourette Syndrome. We are humbled to be able to help just a little.”

Photo courtesy of the Warcola family

Casey Warcola, 11, of Boy Scout Troop 1 in Mendham, raised $70 in donations to the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders from selling TS awareness bracelets as a troop project.

The East Greenwich Township School District in Mickleton brought in $300 from its Jeans Day, which was organized by Stacy Kuhen, a popular teacher who coordinates many of the district’s fundraising efforts.

“We have established a ‘Jeans for a Cause’ program in our district, and the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome is one of the amazing organizations that we chose to support,” Kuhen said. “We appreciate (NJCTS’) efforts to support those who are living with Tourette Syndrome.”

South Plainfield Middle School’s Jeans Day, coordinated by special education teacher Mary Ann Miehe on behalf of one of her former students, Tommy Licato, raised $506.75. This was the second Jeans Day in South Plainfield during 2013. Another effort in June yielded $721. Licato, a freshman at South Plainfield High School, has done a lot of advocacy and awareness work around New Jersey on behalf of NJCTS.

Tourette Syndrome is an inherited, misunderstood, misdiagnosed neurological disorder characterized by sounds and movements known as tics that affects 1 in100 children, teenagers and adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And in the eyes of NJCTS Executive Director Faith W. Rice, advocacy efforts such as these Jeans Days 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 in the Mendham, East Greenwich and South Plainfield school districts, and thank them for teaming up to support the Tourette Syndrome community,” Rice said. “We graciously accept these donations, which will effectively serve the children and families throughout New Jersey through our statewide education outreach, peer advocacy and family support initiatives.”

For information on how to host a Jeans Day in your school district, or for more information about Tourette Syndrome or the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome, please call 908-575- 7350 or visit www.njcts.org.