junior arthritis ambassador program

Become an Arthritis Foundation Junior Ambassador

This new and exciting program gives teens 13-17 the opportunity to represent the estimated 300,000 kids in the U.S. who have arthritis and raise awareness by sharing their personal arthritis story. This advocacy initiative will enable those who do not have a connection with arthritis to put a face to the disease. Junior Ambassadors will receive advocacy training, help raise awareness with policymakers about their disease and receive our Junior Ambassador Newsletter.

Meet Mason Merager!

Mason is 15-years-old and a member of the Junior Ambassador program.

“I like advocating because it’s a chance for me to make a difference,” said Mason. “It’s a great way to make your voice heard in such a big world.”

How do I know if the Junior Ambassador Program is for me?

The Junior Ambassador program is right for you if you are:

  • 13 to 17-years-old;
  • Willing to share your personal arthritis story, both in writing and in front of groups, at Arthritis Foundation programs and events, meetings with elected officials and other events;
  • Enthusiastic and passionate about finding a cure for arthritis; and
  • Interested in meeting with peers virtually and receiving training from Foundation staff and volunteers. 

Please note:

  • Parents or legal guardians must give permission for participation in the program.
  • The program is email based – meaning participants will receive all program information by email.  Parents must supply their email information and will be copied on all correspondence.
  • Junior Ambassadors are not required to have arthritis; siblings and friends are encouraged to join.

I’m interested! How do I get started in the Junior Ambassador Program?

  • Complete the Junior Ambassador Application. Submission instructions are included.
  • Write your arthritis story and send it to us by submitting it either through U.S. Mail or email with your application and photo. A parent or guardian must sign the application.
  • Once your completed application has been received, we will send you a letter confirming your participation.
  • Participation in the program is through email. Participants and their parents must have an email account.

What types of activities will I be asked to complete?

  • Writing a letter to your elected official telling them your arthritis story.
  • Meeting with your elected official in his/her local congressional office.
  • Telling your arthritis story at a Foundation event.
  • Helping to recruit Advocates at events like Walk to Cure Arthritis or Jingle Bell Run.
  • Recruiting adults you know to become Advocates, like your pediatric rheumatologist and other health care providers.
  • Attending a town hall meeting with your parent/caregiver.
  • Finding a way to tell your arthritis story (or do research on kids with arthritis) through one of your existing activities, like school projects.
  • Brainstorming other meaningful ways for Junior Ambassadors to get involved with the Arthritis Foundation.

What is the expected time commitment?

While we are looking for committed Junior Ambassadors, in no way do we want program involvement to become too demanding. It is our overall vision to provide the Junior Ambassadors with a series of meaningful and reasonable opportunities for engagement.

Consistent with the existing Ambassador Program for adults, Junior Ambassador tasks will be distributed on a bimonthly basis. Some will be quick and easy while others a bit more time-intensive.  Junior Ambassadors are also encouraged to share their arthritis story when other opportunities arise.

How can I get more information about the Junior Ambassador Program?

Contact Julie Eller, grassroots advocacy manager at jeller@arthritis.org.

Meet Some of Our Junior Ambassadors