Mother and daughter establish non-profit organization to award college scholarships to students with Tourette Syndrome.
Diane and Kelsey Diamantis started The Kelsey B. Diamantis TS Scholarship Family Foundation, Inc. d/b/a Dollars 4 Tic Scholars (www.dollars4ticscholars.org) in response to the lack of scholarships available when Kelsey, who has Tourette's, was an incoming college freshman in 2010. To spread the word to applicants as well as to raise money for scholarships, the entrepreneurial pair has scheduled the launch of a crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo for February 23, 2015.
Tourette syndrome (also called Tourette's syndrome, Tourette's disorder, Gilles de la Tourette syndrome, GTS or, more commonly, simply Tourette's or TS) is an inherited neurological disorder with onset in childhood, characterized by the presence of multiple physical (motor) tics and at least one vocal (phonic) tic; these tics characteristically wax and wane. The exact cause of Tourette's is unknown, but it is well established that both genetic and environmental factors are involved.
The campaign, which includes a short video that calls attention to the Diamantis family's scholarship search and subsequent journey building the non-profit, will go live on February 23 at igg.me/at/tourettes-scholarship. Called 'College Scholarships for Students with Tourettes,' the Indiegogo campaign will run through April 8. Dollars 4 Tic Scholars is holding a "D4TS Crowd-funding Campaign Kick-Off" event on February 27 in Boca Raton, FL, the family's home town.
Kelsey, a fourth grade teacher, noted,
"We are excited to be able to award our first scholarship in 2015. With the help of our family, friends, supporters and the crowd-funding campaign, we hope to support additional scholarships."
"Kelsey and I found college scholarships for a multitude of parameters, but none specifically for students who have Tourette Syndrome," said Diane Diamantis. "There is one offered in New Jersey that we found later, but as Florida residents, this was not available to us. We decided to create the opportunity ourselves for students around the country, and in August of 2014 we achieved status as a 501c3 public charity."
Tourette Syndrome is a neurological disorder characterized by chronic motor and vocal tics.
"Students with Tourette's have challenges focusing on their studies while they try to resist tics in class," said Kelsey. "In addition, according to a study by the CDC, we found that approximately 86% of people with Tourette Syndrome also have accompanying disorders such as ADHC, and almost one third have OCD. These students have enough to worry about without worrying about college tuition costs, which may be amplified by the need to pay for tutors, counseling, repeating classes or even the cost of medication."
Applications for the 2015 scholarship may be found on the organization's website at www.dollars4ticscholars.org/application
"We want to increase the opportunity for students with Tourette Syndrome to earn degrees and contribute to society. Our tagline is 'College Scholarships for Movers & Shakers, Encouraging Students who have Tourette Syndrome.'" Diamantis notes that scholarships will be for books, fees and tuition and will be made jointly to the student and educational institution. The number of available scholarships will depend on funds raised.
For more information, visit the Indiegogo crowd-funding page from February 23 through April 8, 2015. Dollars 4 Tic Scholars may be reached at 561-487-9526, online at www.dollars4ticscholars.org, on Facebook at "Dollars4TicScholars", on Twitter at @Dol4TicScholars or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org