“Advocacy is really important to me because it gave me back the voice I thought I’d lost,” says Kwiecien, who was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (now known as juvenile idiopathic arthritis) when she was 18 months old. During her elementary and middle school years, Kwiecien’s peers were unfazed by her condition and her teachers were understanding. But high school was different.
Scores of the most passionate and vocal champions of the arthritis community recently descended on the nation’s capital to hone their advocacy skills and share their personal stories with each other and with their members of Congress. Attended by nearly 130 participants from 32 states, the Arthritis Foundation’s new Platinum Ambassadors Assembly was held March 12-13.
Platinum Ambassadors are top grassroots volunteers who complete six annual advocacy assignments and raise at least $1,000 to support the Foundation’s mission to conquer and cure arthritis. Forty-eight of our fifty-one Platinum Ambassadors participated in the first-of-its-kind event, along with 25 Junior Ambassadors, young people ages 13 to 17 who speak out for the estimated 300,000 kids in the U.S. who battle arthritis. Also attending were 30 future advocacy leaders, highly-engaged Arthritis Foundation volunteers who have committed to achieving Platinum Ambassador status in 2018.
Earlier this week, we held our first ever Platinum Ambassador Assembly in Washington, D.C. The Assembly is a meeting for our most highly engaged advocacy volunteers to hone their skills, meet other Platinum Ambassadors from around the country and share their stories with members of Congress. Our Junior Ambassadors and future leaders – volunteers committed to achieving Platinum Ambassador status in 2018 – were also in attendance to learn, share their stories and fight for the over 54 million Americans who are living with arthritis. Continue reading Platinum Ambassador Assembly – Highlights from Capitol Hill→
A record number of individuals have achieved the Arthritis Foundation’s highest advocacy honor in 2016 and became Platinum Ambassadors. At the 2017 Advocacy Summit, March 6-7, in Washington, DC, 41 new Platinum Ambassadors will be recognized for their outstanding advocacy accomplishments on behalf of the arthritis community.
Platinum Ambassadors are an elite group of Advocates who go above and beyond the call of duty by accomplishing a challenging list of advocacy assignments along with four bonus activities, all while raising funds to support the Foundation’s mission to conquer and cure arthritis.
Anna and Graci Diggs are on their way home. And they feel pretty good.
Anna and Graci are from Tipton, Missouri, and, along with 388 other people from all parts of the country, they traveled to Washington, D.C., March 14-15, for the Arthritis Foundation’s Advocacy Summit.
“We came to Advocacy Summit because we are dealing with some issues with my daughter’s arthritis that can be changed here at the Capital,” said Anna. “So we feel it’s important that our voices be heard. Hopefully we can make a difference.”
The two-day event started on Monday with welcome remarks by Ann Palmer, president and CEO of the Arthritis Foundation, who was followed by Sandie Preiss, vice president of Advocacy & Access, who introduced attendees to the advocacy program and key issues that would be discussed. Christopher Kush, CEO of the political consulting group, Soapbox, walked guests through a lively do’s and don’ts of communicating with legislators. Continue reading Empowered Advocates of All Ages Share Their Stories at the Advocacy Summit→
Day 1 of the 2016 Advocacy Summit has wrapped and featured learning and training sessions ranging from mock meetings on the Hill, to ways to use social media to advocate, to sessions for advocates to learn how to begin their Capital Hill journeys. Like most attendees, April McCaslin and her daughter, Nora, and Meredith Meyer and her daughter, Sophie, are both excited and nervous for their meetings with Congress members tomorrow.