Rising Leaders

The Tourette Association of America is very proud of the Youth Ambassador Program since its start, and the Rising Leaders Program was developed to expand and strengthen it. Designed for ages 18-25 who have been previously trained as a Youth Ambassador, as well as motivated young adults dedicated to raising TS awareness, this program will provide an educational experience and a chance to mentor the new Youth Ambassadors being trained.

Informational Webinar on Rising Leaders Program

The goal of the Youth Ambassador Rising Leaders Program is to educate young adults from all over the country about Tourette Syndrome (TS) and to spread tolerance of and an increased understanding about TS. Rising Leaders join a community of civically engaged volunteers working to improve the quality of life of individuals with Tourette Syndrome and Tic Disorders.

In addition, the program will aid youth advocates to transition into becoming an adult advocate for their community. Aimed at creating exceptional adult leaders and advocates, it will include workshops focused on education in three areas:

(1) advanced presentations and community involvement
(2) personal and professional development
(3) practical application of leadership and mentoring skills.

Rising Leaders will become empowered to effect change and spread awareness in their community.

The Rising Leader (RL) will play a key role in increasing awareness and understanding of Tourette Syndrome in their community. RLs are expected to practice what is learned in the training, identify presentation and volunteer opportunities in the community, and spread awareness to interested groups in partnership with the Tourette Association of America and their local Tourette Association Chapter/Support Group. In addition, the RL is expected to be a mentor to YAs and an ambassador for the Tourette Association. The Program is designed to give the RL skills that are needed to complete the minimum yearly expectations. Rising Leaders are also asked to volunteer at least 5 hours a month by meeting the following expectations. These expectations include but are not limited to the following:

  • Become an active TS advocate and learn about the issues impacting the Tourette community.
  • Prepare short statements (written and verbal) to explain TS and its impact on your (or a diagnosed individual’s) life.
  • Be active on social media regarding TS and be interviewed by your local media.
  • Meet, call, or write to federal and local elected officials.
  • Attend functions to present short presentations about TS and network with community members.
  • Participate in Public Policy Action Alerts and recruit other local activists to support grassroots advocacy efforts.
  • Participate in Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month (May 15-June 15).
  • Mentor Youth Ambassadors and youth with TS.

The role varies throughout the year and is often linked directly to major annual events.  For example, a Rising Leader might work with a local university to table at major events during Tourette Syndrome Awareness Month (May 15-June 15) of each year.

  • Must be between 18-25 years old and have a demonstrated interest and dedication to educating the public about Tourette Syndrome and Tic Disorders.
    • Parents are not expected to attend the Youth Ambassador Rising Leaders program.
  • May or may not have a diagnosis of TS.
  • Must be willing to be a peer mentor to a new Youth Ambassador.
  • 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.
  • Must be comfortable with public speaking.
  • Must possess good communication skills – both verbal and written.
  • Must be willing to share your personal experience/story about Tourette Syndrome with the public and with elected officials.
  • Be a supporter of the Tourette Association of America at any level.
  • Preference will be given to those with prior experience with TS outreach & education efforts.

Estimated time commitment required from the Rising Leader:

  • The Rising Leader is asked at minimum to commit to scheduling one full years’ worth of presentations. RLs are welcome and encouraged to participate in the program even after the yearly commitment.
  • The Rising Leader is asked to volunteer at least 5 hours a month by completing the tasks outlined in the Major Expectations section.

Benefits of the Youth Ambassador Rising Leaders Program

  • Network with people in the Tourette Syndrome community
  • Professional development training
  • Access to thought leaders
  • Potential mentorship opportunities
  • Partnership with the Tourette Association of America
  • Opportunity to give back to the Tourette Syndrome community
  • Monday, May 24: Application deadline.

Rising Leaders Program Funding:
Rising Leaders selected to attend the training will have the following costs covered by the Tourette Association:

  • Program materials

Youth Ambassador Rising Leader Initiatives

After each presentation or activity, complete the Youth Ambassador Rising Leader Activity Report online form. It is important to complete the Activity Report and send the completed Community Presentations surveys because it helps the Tourette Association of America to keep a record of Rising Leader activities, the number of people reached in each activity, and the impact of the presentation.

Community Presentations

A major responsibility of the Rising Leader is to educate community members about Tourette Syndrome and build community empathy for people with Tourette Syndrome. The TAA has developed a standardized presentation to be delivered to the community. This presentation includes PowerPoint slides, videos, and activities. You will be provided with a facilitator’s guide that outlines the community presentation activities and talking points. Used in combination with the community presentation slides (PowerPoint file), it provides everything you need to deliver the community presentation.

Other ways you can get involved

There are many ways to support the Tourette and Tic Disorder Community as a Rising Leader. Your involvement in TAA events and your volunteerism helps to ensure that TAA can continue its work in making life better for all people affected by Tourette and Tic Disorders. Here is a list of various ideas to help support the TAA. This list is not exhaustive; therefore, we encourage you to be creative. If you have other ideas that are not on the list—please feel free to share your ideas with us and with each other!

  • Identify your local Chapter or Support Group and ask what you can do/how you can be a volunteer.
  • Reach out to local Youth Ambassadors – ask how you can support their efforts. You may even want to work with them to develop a mentoring relationship.
  • Advertise yourself on local university/college campuses as a liaison for TS support – any TS related queries on campus go through you to your local support group, or to Tourette Association of America Information & Referral, etc.
  • Host a table at orientation/health fairs with TAA informational materials.
  • Attend a Tourette Association of America special event. Throughout the year, TAA holds special events around the country.
  • Distribute the Pledge not to use Tourette Syndrome as a punchline amongst your networks.
  • Minority Colleges
  • If you have a minority college local to you (HBC, women’s college, etc.) reach out to their health center and ask if they need TS materials/advertise yourself as a local campus liaison.
  • Work with both the Health Center and Resident Assistants on a local campus to disseminate information relating to TS.
  • Connect with local university student disability offices to offer information about TS.
  • Set up table in local mall or bookstore to educate public about TS.
  • Research your state’s Protection & Advocacy resources – look for Spanish language resources related to this and refer back to support group/national.
  • Attend Advocacy Day in DC when possible – Send emails or letters as requested each time you receive a TAA Public Policy Action Alert.
  • Meet with your Representative and Senators or their staff in your district/state offices over the summer.
  • Provide education workshops in your workplace.
  • Collaborate with local community health centers to disseminate TS resources and spread information about TS.
  • Identify five community health centers (at least 3 pediatric) that do not have TS resources and coordinate with National to get information and resources on Tourette Syndrome shipped to the location.
  • Connect with neuroscience/psychology/social work department(s) at local universities to provide materials about the TS community, treatment, how the departments are related to TS and show ongoing research (advertise that TS is a research field with tons of work to do and a rich medical + scientific community to support and mentor young researchers).
  • Connect with a Sorority or Fraternity on a local college campus and get them to select the TAA as their charity partner.
  • Work with the TAA to organize a walk/fundraiser at your local college.
  • Develop a Facebook fundraiser.
  • All of the above efforts can be supported through posting on social media and tagging the Tourette Association of America and using #Tourette #TouretteAwareness and other relevant hashtags to gain exposure.
    • Sample post ideas include:
      • Updates from community events
      • Day-in-the life updates
      • Video Blogging about personal experiences
      • Seasonal Update (ie: handling high-stress times, back to school, talking with colleagues etc.)
  • Share videos of you experiences with TS and the Rising Leader program and how it has impacted your life.