Dollars for Tic Scholars
Delivering Support and Scholarships to Students with Tourette's
Dollars 4 Tic Scholars Delivers Support and Scholarships with .ORG
Imagine you’re a child again. Playing a game of catch with a friend, raising your hand in class to answer the teacher’s question, singing your heart out in your school musical. Now, imagine doing those things while losing control of your actions: shouting expletives, blinking fast, and even punching yourself. These experiences are part of everyday life for the estimated three million Americans with Tourette Syndrome.
As difficult and disruptive as tic disorders can be for adults, the one in 100 U.S. school-aged children with Tourette Syndrome or other tic disorders face additional challenges. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), almost nine in ten—86%—of children with tic disorders also are diagnosed with co-occurring mental health, behavioral, and developmental conditions. These issues, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), autism, and depression, can affect kids’ ability to study, learn, and interact socially, and make them vulnerable to bullying.
Dollars 4 Tic Scholars Co-Founder Diane Diamantis’ daughter Kelsey was diagnosed as a young child, so she learned firsthand the obstacles families face when a child has Tourette Syndrome. It took time to find the right medication for Kelsey. It took dedication and hard work to support Kelsey’s academic success. And, when high school graduation came, a moment to celebrate and anticipate the next step, it took co-founding a new organization to make college more financially accessible.
Inspired by her inability to help Kelsey find scholarship options for students with Tourette Syndrome, Diamantis and her daughter launched Dollars 4 Tic Scholars in 2014. Dollars 4 Tic Scholars encourages students with Tourette Syndrome to seek higher education and provides them with financial assistance to meet their goals. Along with college scholarships, Dollars 4 Tic Scholars also provides funding for two children per year to attend Tourette Syndrome summer camp where kids with Tourette Syndrome meet other children, share similar experiences, and learn coping skills in a fun, safe, and positive environment.
“I don’t think we’d be taken as seriously without the .ORG ending.” – Diane Diamantis, Dollars 4 Tic Scholars co-founder
Since its launch, Dollars 4 Tic Scholars has raised $94,000, provided $1,000 scholarships to 28 students, and sent 10 children to camp. Support comes from private donations, grants, and annual fundraising events. Being a .ORG has also given Dollars 4 Tic Scholars an advantage, helping them raise funds, adding to their credibility, and raising their profile, according to Diamantis.
“Having that .ORG suffix on our website sets us apart,” says Diamantis. “It deems us a non-profit worthy of attention. I don’t think we’d be taken as seriously without the .ORG ending. People find us by searching the web for Tourette Syndrome scholarships, and we pop up pretty regularly for our size.”
Dollars 4 Tic Scholars also leverages its online presence to help students support and inspire one another. Scholarship seekers can contribute essays, shared on the Dollars 4 Tic Scholars website, to uplift others with similar experiences. “Our students and applicants are so generous. It’s heartwarming that they can help other people by doing this, and I’m so proud of them for allowing us to share their stories. It’s a real privilege for us to be able to share their experiences online,” says Diamantis.
Dollars 4 Tic Scholars knows the students they support will contribute positively not only through the power of words, but through their actions out in the world. In recognition of this impact, .ORG presented Dollars 4 Tic Scholars with the 2019 “Rising Star” award, solidifying its valued place among the social good community. The Rising Star award honors contributions of an individual with five or fewer years of experience who has demonstrated exceptional contributions to their affiliated organization.
Not a group to rest on their successes, Dollars 4 Tic Scholars has launched this year the Tourette Syndrome Superstar Scholarship, which will be awarded to a student who spreads awareness about Tourette Syndrome in their community through public speaking and advocacy. Dollars 4 Tic Scholars also plans to raise its current scholarship level from $1,000 to $1,500 per student, and to create a renewable scholarship program offering multi-year funds to students. As an award-winning .ORG, the .ORG community stands behind Dollars 4 Tic Scholars and knows that for this Rising Star, the sky’s the limit!
Our mission is twofold: (a) to encourage students with Tourette Syndrome to attend college and to stay in college, and (b) to make it possible for two children per year to attend Tourette summer camp.
.ORG Impact Awards 2019 Winner: Rising Star
Dollars 4 Tic Scholars displayed a relentless commitment to encouraging students with Tourette’s Syndrome to attend college, providing these hopeful scholars with opportunities to pursue their futures and transform their lives.