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- Raise awareness among teenagers and the general public about Alzheimer’s disease.
- Provide education, counseling and support to young family members.
- Enable teens to share feelings and experiences with other teens and experts.
- Refer teens and their family members to various programs and support services of the Alzheimer's Foundation of America and its member organizations.
- Help support the mission and services of the Alzheimer's Foundation of America.
Back in 2002, when Neha Chauhan, AFA Teens’ founder and president, was a teenager herself, she conducted a comprehensive science research project on Alzheimer’s disease. "While the scientific implications of my research were important," she recalled, "I wanted to go beyond academia, take off my latex gloves and lab coat, and address an issue often overlooked -- educating society, and especially youngsters about Alzheimer’s disease." She partnered with the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) to found AFA Teens so that young people would have their own unique community where they could find support, get educated about the disease, and volunteer for the cause.
As the Internet took off, and became a communication vehicle of choice for teens, AFA Teens developed a dedicated Web site to serve as the hub of the division. AFA made it its goal to engage the many teens who are in turmoil, but who prefer the Internet when they begin to seek answers to tough questions about Alzheimer’s disease. The organization’s sense that teens need a place for education and support was confirmed in 2008 when an AFA survey conducted by Harris Interactive found that three in five "sandwich caregivers" (those caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease while also caring for children under 21) said their children are involved in providing care to family members with dementia.
In response, AFA Teens added more features to its Web site, began aggressively encouraging teens to set up AFA Teens chapters, and rolled out more programs and services, including a college scholarship competition. We turned to teens themselves for their guidance by forming the AFA Teens Advisory Board.
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