Our Teen and Young Adult Council programs are designed for young people who want to make an impact for others with epilepsy and for their communities. Started in 2016-2017, our program has grown to include more than 70 young people from all 4 states. Young adults meet in person once per month for 2-3 hours on Saturday afternoons, and they meet on the phone to work on projects in between. Participants work with leader Chanda Gunn to pick out specific projects they would like to pursue, which most recently include raising money to help someone get a service dog, public policy advocacy, and supporting EFNE through work like participating in our Walks for Epilepsy as teams.
Where? In our first year, our in-person programs were held in the Greater Boston area, but in the coming year, we hope to have programs in other cities! If you’re interested in participating, let us know! (Stay tuned for news on upcoming programs!)
When? In-person meetings are typically held on Saturday afternoons. Every effort is made to accommodate as many people’s schedules as possible. Subcommittee meetings are held by phone and are led by a young adult leader. These are set at times convenient for the committee members.
About Chanda Gunn: Volunteer Youth Programming Specialist Chanda Gunn leads this program. She is an accomplished ice hockey player known for overcoming obstacles on and off the rink. Diagnosed with epilepsy at age 9, Chanda went on to excel at hockey and was recruited to the National Team at age 15. An alum of Northeastern University, in 2004, Chanda was honored with the NCAA Female Sportsmanship Award and College Hockey Humanitarian Award. The following year, she helped Team USA win a gold medal at the World Championships. In 2006, Chanda helped lead Team USA to a bronze medal in the XX Olympic Winter Games, her third Olympics. An injury forced her to retire in 2009, and she quickly took up the mantle of working with high risk youth as a Teen Center Manager in Greater Boston, and then in the City of Lowell, before taking time away to raise her two children. All the while, Chanda has been an outspoken advocate and role model for epilepsy, working regularly with Epilepsy Foundation of America, Columbia-based FACES, the Epilepsy Therapy Project, and Epilepsy Foundation affiliates and chapters across the country.
Tell me more about what to expect: Last spring, the group met at Northeastern University to learn about how to write “elevator speeches.” They then recorded their speeches at the University’s recording studio. Another time, they met with world famous author Francisco Stork, who told them about creative writing and got folks started in create writing. The group also volunteered at the Boston Walk for Epilepsy, where they managed younger children’s activities, like facepainting and games.
Do I have to attend every meeting? No: but we hope you’ll want to!
Parents: During Council Meetings, parents often congregate with an EFNE staff member or volunteer to share stories and ideas over coffee.
Is there a fee? No.
What else? Last year, several participants elected to go to our first ever Young Adult Retreat, a long weekend of fun and laughter in Southern Maine in April. See clips here. One participant is selected to attend “Teen Speak Up” in Washington DC. And, we are working on other opportunities!
Ready to connect? Email Chanda at firstname.lastname@example.org
CHECK OUT HIGHLIGHTS FROM OUR YOUNG ADULT RETREAT, APRIL 21-23, 2017.