Living with a chronic illness can be a frightening, alienating and confusing experience, perhaps particularly so when combined with the already existing challenges of young adulthood. Since 2005, the Adolescent Leadership Council (TALC) has been providing a forum for adolescents living with diseases such as asthma, diabetes, lupus, cancer and sickle cell anemia to come together with students from local colleges including Brown University, Community College of Rhode Island (CCRI) and Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), who are also chronically ill. Since 2012, TALC has been the official "Youth Advisory Council" for Hasbro Children's Hospital.
Open to 13 to 18 year olds who have the diagnosis of a chronic medical illness, TALC has meetings every month (September through May) along with an annual team-building retreat, annual overnight summer leadership camp, periodic social events, and art related events.
TALC strives to prepare teenagers for the transition to adulthood and independence by providing them with mentors to whom they can relate.
- To provide a forum for teens with chronic illnesses to discuss their experiences
- To introduce teens to college-age role models who are successfully transitioning to adulthood
- To decrease isolation of group members
Parents are an integral part of the TALC program, offering support to their children and each other through participation in the Parent Council.
A large part of TALC's success is due to its faculty advisors: Matthew Willis, MD and Francine Pingitore, PhD, PCNS-BC, RN.
TALC is a free program available to all chronically ill adolescents and their families. If you are interested in joining, or know someone who could be a good fit, please contact Abby McGuire at 401-444-7563 or by email at TALCProgram@gmail.com. Visit the TALC Program website for more information including membership, events, newsletters and photos.