The Tourette Association's Youth Ambassador Program trains teens to talk about Tourette & Tic
Disorders. The program
gives young people with Tourette, their siblings, friends and classmates the preparation they need to speak about TS before their peers at school, sports leagues, scout troops,
camps and after school programs.
What is the Youth Ambassador Program?
Jennifer Zwilling, the program co-founder says,
“The goal of this exciting program is to educate children all over the country about TS, a widely
misunderstood disorder. We are following the motto ‘think globally, act locally’.”
Jennifer developed the program with her sister Amanda and with help from her brother Eric.
Understanding and tolerance are the program's goals.
The Tourette Association Youth Ambassador Program began in 2005, and has become an ever-expanding group of teens with Tourette & Tic Disorders (and their siblings, friends and classmates) who speak about Tourette Syndrome to their peers at school, sports leagues, scout troops, camps and after school programs. The purpose of the program is to spread tolerance of and understanding about TS. The teen and their adult parent or guardian comprise a YA Team – with the teen giving presentations and the adult helping with scheduling and other arrangements.
The Youth Ambassador Program trains teens to advocate for themselves and for others and to provide their peers and younger children with accurate information by going into classrooms, schools and clubs to teach understanding, sensitivity and tolerance of TS and its symptoms while displacing the myths and stereotypes that are often attributed to and associated with this misunderstood and misdiagnosed disorder.
Youth Ambassadors appear in the media and assist with fundraising and awareness raising campaigns.
Youth Ambassadors will find there are many personal benefits as well, such as learning to work as team members and developing increased confidence in public speaking.
Youth Ambassadors learn skills that they will use for the rest of their lives and at the same time are helping to enlighten new generations about Tourette syndrome.
Youth Ambassador Requirements
The Youth Ambassador must be between 12 and 17 years old
The Youth Ambassador may or may not have a diagnosis of TS
The Youth Ambassador must be paired with an adult who will take on the responsibility of helping with the program, schedule and outreach. These are typically teen/parent teams, however the adult does not need to be a YA’s parent (could be another family member, neighbor, teacher, etc).
Youth Ambassadors must have a clear understanding of Tourette Syndrome. You will be trained, however you must accept responsibility to become proficient in and comfortable with speaking about Tourette Syndrome.
Good communication skills - both verbal and written.
Must be a member of the Tourette Association! If you are not a member, it is very easy to become one. Click here to find out more.
How to become a Tourette Association Youth Ambassador:
Upcoming Youth Ambassador Training:
The Tourette Association seeks at least one teen & parent/guardian team from each Tourette Association Chapter (or at least one team per state not served by a Tourette Association Chapter) to attend the upcoming Youth Ambassador Training being held March 8 – 10, 2016 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, VA.
The Youth Ambassador Training is a comprehensive training aimed at creating exceptional teen leaders and Tourette advocates. Youth Ambassadors will receive guidance on public speaking, on how to give a concise presentation on TS and presentation logistics. The Training also includes participation in the Tourette Association's annual National Advocacy Day.
This is an excellent opportunity for interested teens to learn public speaking, build friendships with other teens involved in the program, gain leadership and advocacy skills, and represent the Tourette Syndrome community as they raise awareness through YA Program activities.
Click here for complete Information and Application. Applicants residing outside a chapter area can email or call Michelle Gutmann at the Tourette Association – 718-224-2999 x258.
Applications are due Friday, November 6, 2015.
Click here to see a listing of all Tourette Association Chapters and their contact information.
Youth Ambassador Resources:
For current Youth Ambassadors:
Peer Presentation Outline
Peer Presentation Slide Show (follows above Outline) -
1-Page handout for class (Print enough for all attending)
Visual Aids (Print out, set up in front of class)
Downloadable Tourette Association videos
Youth Ambassador Training experience - click here for 3-minute video
VIDEO SHOWING JEN ZWILLING AS A Tourette Association YOUTH AMBASSADOR TO A CLASS
The Tourette Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the Frank J. Antun Foundation for development of this video.
Download the Video
Download the Audio Only
Youth Ambassador Updates:
Click here to submit a Youth Ambassador Activity Report Form
Spring/Summer 2015 - Youth Ambassadors on the Move
Summer/Fall 2014 - Youth Ambassadors on the Move
Summer/Fall 2014 - National Advocacy Day and Trip to the Hill
Spring/Summer 2014 - 8 page Special Youth Ambassador Training Insert to "That Darn Tic" (pages 2-9)
Spring 2014 - Youth Ambassadors on the Move
Winter 2013 - Youth Ambassadors on the Move
Fall 2013 - Youth Ambassadors on the Move
Summer 2013 - 4 page Special Youth Ambassador Insert to "That Darn Tic" (pages 2-5)
Summer 2013 - Youth Ambassadors on the Move
Summer 2013 - Report on April 2013 YA Training and Trip to the Hill
Spring 2013 - Youth Ambassadors on the Move
Youth Ambassador Kenny Richards, 2012 Zak Hollis Youth Achievement Award winner, gets certificate of Congressional Recognition
Fall 2012 - Youth Ambassadors on the Move
Summer 2012 - 4 page Special Youth Ambassador Insert to "That Darn Tic" (pages 3-6)
U. S. Senator Benjamin Cardin speaks on the floor of the Senate about Tourette Syndrome and Tourette Association's Youth Ambassador Program on July 11, 2012
click here to view C-Span video
Summer 2012 - Youth Ambassadors on the Move
2012 National Tourette Association Conference Report and Presentation Slide Shows/Handouts now available on this site(Youth Ambassador,
Teen Track, more)
Spring 2012 - Youth Ambassadors on the Move
Winter 2011 - Youth Ambassador Graduate Program and Youth Ambassadors on the Move
Fall 2011 - Youth Ambassadors on the Move
Summer 2011 - 4 page Special Youth Ambassador Insert to "That Darn Tic" (pages 3-6)
Summer 2011 - Youth Ambassadors on the Move
Summer 2010 Special Youth Ambassador Insert to "That Darn Tic"
You should not rely on the information
posted on this Web Site as a substitute
for consultations with qualified health care
professionals who are familiar with
individual medical conditions and needs.
The Tourette Association strongly recommends that care and
treatment decisions related to Tourette Syndrome and any other medical condition
be made in consultation with a patient's
physician or other qualified health care
professionals who are familiar with
the specific individual's health situation.