Marti Bennett, 17, of Hollywood, Florida has known all her life that few people understand Tourette’s Syndrome.

When she was 15, a misinformed teacher reprimanded her during an exam for making noises. That was when it clicked.  She knew she had to make people more aware of Tourette’s Syndrome so other kids and teens wouldn’t have to go through what she had endured throughout her youth and adolescence.

Over 500,000 children in the U.S. ages 5-17 are estimated to have Tourette’s Syndrome and Tic Disorders.  That’s 1 in every 100 youths. Bennett’s mission is to make sure that they receive the support and advocacy they need to thrive.

The opportunity to do just that presented itself when Bennett learned about the Tourette Association’s Youth Ambassador Program.  She applied for the program and was accepted.

Bennett completed a training course in Washington, DC, and is now trained in Tourette’s Syndrome and Tic Disorders advocacy. She is able to facilitate training and presentations for students, teachers, administrators, elected officials, and more.  She has also lobbied on Capitol Hill for funding for Tourette’s Syndrome from local representatives.

As a Youth Ambassador of the Tourette Association of America, Bennett educates communities, elected officials, schools, extracurricular programs, and peers about Tourette’s and Tic Disorders. For more information, email martiyouthambassador@gmail.com