A publication for volunteers of the Arthritis Foundation, Great West Region
Articles This Issue
Friends in the Field
There aren't any Arthritis Foundation volunteer activities off-limits for the Barrett family, who commit to supporting nearly every aspect of the Arthritis Foundation’s mission. Read their story.
Healthy Resolutions for Arthritis
Make these arthritis-friendly resolutions any time of year. Discover them.
Technology Makes it Even Easier to Volunteer
Find volunteer opportunities, become trained and sign-up… all online! Learn how here.
Give Your Time and Be Healthy and Happy
Data continues to point towards volunteerism as a link to overall happiness. Read more.
Your Local Arthritis Foundation
Take a tour and meet the staff of the Salt Lake City office, one of the 11 offices of the Great West Region. Get started.
Volunteer Opportunities Come in All Shapes and Sizes
Finding the right volunteer opportunity to match your skills and interests may be easier than you think. Learn more.
Bring A Friend to the Foundation
There aren't any Arthritis Foundation volunteer activities off-limits for the Barrett family, who commit to supporting nearly every aspect of the Arthritis Foundation’s mission.
The Barrett family is heavily impacted by arthritis, but in turn, works hard to positively impact other families affected by the disease. Through their volunteerism at juvenile arthritis activities, Jingle Bell Run/Walk, advocacy and countless other events they seek to connect with other families and build a broad network of support for anyone affected by arthritis.
Name: The Barrett family
Location: Everett, WA
A Q & A with Heidi Barret of the Barrett family.
Who are the Barretts? What brought you and your family to the Arthritis Foundation?
We are a fun loving family who lives in Everett, Washington: John, Heidi, Johnny (23), James (21), Levi (15), Liam (14) and Maggie (6). I have arthritis along with James, Levi, Liam and Maggie.
Our youngest son was the first in our family to be diagnosed with arthritis almost a decade ago. We had no idea children could even get arthritis at the time, boy has a lot changed from that initial diagnosis a decade ago! When our youngest child at the time was diagnosed, our family went into mourning and denial. We had no idea what this even meant for our son or our family. It wasn’t until an appointment with Liam’s pediatric rheumatologist, Dr. Helen Emery when she basically told us to pull our head out of the sand and get with the program.
From that point our whole family went from ignorance to becoming very active within the Arthritis Foundation. I am on the committee for KAT-FISH Camp, our local juvenile arthritis (JA) camp. During camp, I do all the food, ensuring every meal and snack meets each child’s nutritional needs including those with food allergies. My sons take care of the audio/video for the entire session and my husband is the man running around with the duct tape in his hand fixing whatever emergency comes up. Maggie has literally been attending camp since she was a newborn. After camp this past summer she announced at the tender age of six that she was going to be a camp counselor next year!
Our family also heads up the local Parent to Parent group, Snohomish County KAT-FISH families. We plan outings with other local JA families in the area and once a month the moms get together for coffee. We are also very active on the advocacy side of things: I am an Arthritis Ambassador, and along with my family have made visits to our Congressman and Senators as well as testified before our State Senate Subcommittee. I am also on the committee for the National Juvenile Arthritis Conference, which will be held in Keystone, Colorado this July.
At this year’s Jingle Bell Run/Walk, we collected advocacy support letters for the Arthritis Foundation. Our three youngest children were ready to go at five o’clock Sunday morning, even though it was seventeen degrees and they knew they would be spending the morning outside. It did not hold them back one bit, my kids love volunteering with the Arthritis Foundation.
You have been very involved with the Arthritis Foundation’s Advocacy and Public Policy initiatives – what about this drew you in and what does advocacy mean to you?
I decided to become an Arthritis Ambassador for two reasons: I wanted to give back to my community for all the help that was given to our family when times were very bleak. Also, I wanted to feel like I was doing something to help us get closer to a cure. This disease affects my family every minute of every hour of every day of the week; we need our voices to be heard.
What influences your family to continue to volunteer for the Arthritis Foundation?
We continue to volunteer and be active with the Arthritis Foundation because it is the only way our family can help by getting us closer to a cure. Neither John nor I are scientists, so we are not personally going to find the cure. Arthritis has some pretty awful things that are associated with it as my children can attest to. It is not fun to be hospitalized, get multiple pokes for blood draws and IV starts and that’s just the medical side of things. The disease itself is another story; not being able to participate in life's activities because of this disease is huge. Our family volunteering and being active with the Arthritis Foundation gives us a sense of control over our disease, which we would not otherwise have.
It also allows us to help other people with this disease. We have fantastic rheumatologists, but they are not living this disease like we are. By talking with other families, I might just have a little something that will make a difference in their lives. For example, at the recent Jingle Bell Run/Walk, I was talking to a mom whose daughter was struggling with getting up for school on time because she was so stiff. I mentioned something that helped our family in the same situation… putting the kids’ clothes in the dryer to warm them up. It is not a cure, but maybe it will help this family out just a little.
What is the most important thing you want people to know about arthritis and advocacy?
Advocacy is such a scary word especially when you think about what it can imply. You want me to go up to complete strangers and start talking politics, federal funding, taxes, budgets and our government or even worse, you want me to speak to my extended family about this? Oh boy, that should go over great at the Christmas dinner table. But advocacy is not like that at all. You get to tell your personal story, how arthritis affects you and your family. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican or a Democrat or if your Congressman is a Democrat or a Republican, arthritis can and does affect anyone regardless of political party including children. My daughter was 10 months old when she was diagnosed. It is pretty easy striking up conversations with complete strangers (which is something that is definitely not in my comfort zone) because arthritis has some pretty big startling facts. Did you know that arthritis is the leading cause of disability in America? That statement alone usually stops people right in their tracks and usually they want to know more. We end up having a conversation with people about this disease. I am not trying to change anyone’s political ideology. All I am doing is sharing my family’s story and how the disease has affected us.
Find out more:
Find the local ways that you can get involved at our Volunteer Resource Page.
Make these arthritis-friendly resolutions any time of year.
We are two months in to 2014 – the perfect time to evaluate your progress towards any New Year’s resolutions you may have set related to your arthritis health.
Reprinted from ArthritisToday.org
By Camille Noe Pagán
Nearly half of all Americans make New Year’s resolutions. That’s a good thing. A recent study from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania found that 46 percent of people who make them see positive progress in the areas they resolved to change – compared to just four percent of people who don’t make resolutions. With that in mind, here are six rheumatologist-recommended goals to consider for 2014.
1. Resolve to be more open with your doctor.
In pain? More tired than usual? Tell your doctor. “Many individuals with arthritis feel that they’re ‘complaining’ or taking up too much of their doctor’s time. But more information helps a physician tailor treatment, leading to better health outcomes,” says M. Elaine Husni, MD, director of the Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Treatment Center at the Cleveland Clinic.
2. Resolve to eat more fresh produce.
There’s no easier way to improve your diet, says Dr. Husni. “Fresh fruits and vegetables are high in micronutrients and are very filling, even though they’re low in calories” – helping you consume less processed fare, reduce inflammation and achieve a healthy body weight, all of which is gentler on your joints and better for overall health. Aim for at least two servings of fruit and/or vegetables with every meal, and one serving per snack.
3. Resolve to find a workout you love.
Rather than vowing to exercise a certain number of times or minutes a week, focus on finding a workout you truly enjoy – because that will drastically increase your odds of staying physically active, which will in turn stave off the effects of arthritis. “Consider a dance class, chair yoga, exercise videos or water walking,” urges Dr. Husni. “Be willing to try different things until you find something that sticks.”
4. Resolve to get the right diagnosis.
If you were diagnosed more than a decade ago or were diagnosed based solely on your symptoms, Dr. Husni recommends seeing a rheumatologist for a thorough rheumatologic exam. “We know more about arthritis and autoimmune disease than ever before, so it’s never been a better time for an accurate screening. It may be that you have psoriatic arthritis rather than rheumatoid arthritis, or a co-morbidity like osteoarthritis or lupus,” she says. “A proper diagnosis is the most important step toward effective treatment and relief.”
5. Resolve to get closer to your ideal body weight.
Instead of vowing to drop a drastic amount of weight, set a manageable goal – say, five percent of your body weight, or five pounds – and once you achieve that goal, aim to do it again, recommends Edward C. Keystone, MD, director of the Arthritis & Immune Disorder Research Centre at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Canada and a professor of medicine at the University of Toronto. “Small goals are more easily reached and give you a better sense of accomplishment compared to missing your target on a big goal,” he explains.
6. Resolve to find a stress reducer that works for you.
Everyone knows stress is bad for you – but too few people have effective tools for reducing it, says Dr. Husni. “Start by asking yourself, what’s causing my stress? Disease? Work? Finances? Then make a list of what you can do to improve the situation and take it one step at a time,” she advises. As with exercise, be willing to experiment in order to find a stress-squasher that works – think deep breathing, exercise and cognitive behavioral therapy.
Dr. Husni recommends reaching out to others for support. “In addition to friends and family, I encourage my patients to connect with others who have their disease through organizations like the Arthritis Foundation or the National Psoriasis Foundation.” Knowing others are in the same boat can be comforting, says Dr. Husni, and you may just uncover new ideas for coping, too.
Find volunteer opportunities, become trained and sign-up… all online!
Getting involved and lending a helping hand, whether in your local community or the world at large, has never been easier! Advances in technology have brought the world to your front door, or computer screen, as the case may be. You can chat face-to-face in real time with someone halfway across the world; use social media to increase awareness about an issue important to you; and give your time to support a cause, as long as you have access to a computer or smart phone.
The Arthritis Foundation, Great West Region has opportunities available to support the over 52 million people who are living with arthritis. To learn more about all the ways in which you can get involved, please view the Volunteer Orientation available at https://aftraining.exceedlms.com/, search “New Volunteer Orientation” and fill out the online volunteer application at http://afvolunteer.kintera.org/CO.
We look forward to hearing from you soon!
Data continues to point towards volunteerism as a link to overall happiness.
Reprinted from Outside Magazine
Multiple studies have shown that volunteering increases your well-being while also lowering cholesterol and reducing mortality rates among volunteers.
“It’s like going to a chiropractor for your soul,” says Brad Ludden, founder of First Descents, which offers outdoor adventures to kids and young adults diagnosed with cancer. “It realigns everything, and your problems don’t seem as large anymore.”
The best volunteer experiences are those that connect to your passions, says Suzanne Richards, author of a 2013 study at the University of Exeter Medical School that found that volunteers live longer, are less depressed, and have enhanced feelings of well-being. “The important thing is that people feel they are getting something out of it,” Richards says.
Take a tour and meet the staff of the Salt Lake City office, one of the 11 offices of the Great West Region.
Who are the staff members in the Salt Lake City office?
The Salt Lake City (SLC) Office has six staff members who, collectively, have more than 110 years experience at the Arthritis Foundation! The staff includes: Danielle Bryant, Administrative Assistant; Mary Haynes, Administrative Assistant; Alison Tuft, Development Coordinator; Emily Hoffmann, Vice President of Development for Marquee Events; Leslie Nelson, Vice President of Programs; Lisa Fall, President/Chief Mission Officer; Bonnie Christophersen, Website Administrator.
How long has the SLC Office been in operation?
The SLC office has been open for 56 years. The Utah Chapter was chartered in 1956 and opened the Salt Lake City office that same year, serving those affected by arthritis in Utah and Idaho. In 2010, the Utah/Idaho Chapter merged with two other chapters and now helps to serve the entire Great West Region.
What is your favorite Arthritis Foundation activity that takes place in Utah?
Danielle Bryant - “The Salt Lake City Jingle Bell Run/Walk because I love how many people come together to support the Arthritis Foundation and enjoy themselves at this event! This was my first year attending the event, and we created a team in honor of my cousin Charity who has JA. We named our team Charity’s Christmas Crew. I love seeing the creativity that people bring to this event through their costumes and team names. I hope next year Charity and her family will come from Sacramento and join in the Jingle Bell Run/Walk with us!”
Where’s your favorite place to get a cup of coffee?
Leslie Nelson recommends The Coffee Garden. “I love this place. It’s a small, cozy café, good coffee, nice selection of teas, and friendly staff. The changing local artwork is great, and I love the foam art!”
What’s your favorite part of your job and why?
Lisa Fall - “Working with staff and volunteers throughout the country.” (Lisa will be celebrating her 33rd year with the Arthritis Foundation this year.)
Fun Facts about UTAH:
- The name “Utah” comes from the Native American “Ute” tribe
and means 'people of the mountains'.
- The 30th annual Sundance Film Festival kicked off in January and the Arthritis Foundation’s own Lisa Fall was in attendance!
- Utah hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics.
- Utah has the world’s greatest powder because the snow in Utah is unusually dry.
- Beaver, UT is the birthplace of two very famous individuals-Philo
Farnsworth (inventor of television) and Butch Cassidy (notorious western outlaw).
- Emily Hoffman shares that Utah is famous for both Green Jell-O and 'Funeral Potatoes'. Emily says, “I can’t speak to green Jell-O, but I love the potato casserole!" Here is one version of the beloved recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/moms-cheesy-potato-casserole-aka-funeral-potatoes-390936
Find out more:
Contact the Salt Lake City office at 801-536-0990, or visit them online at www.arthritis.org/utah.
Finding the right volunteer opportunity to match your skills and interests may be easier than you think.
Volunteer opportunities are always evolving around the Arthritis Foundation’s events, programs and outreach activities. There are countless unique options that you may have never considered!
Think about your skills and interests and see how they might benefit an upcoming Arthritis Foundation activity in 2014. The sky is the limit!
Some unique volunteering options could include:
- Course support, registration or cheering (just to name a few options) during a Walk to Cure Arthritis, Jingle Bell Run/Walk or Arthritis Bike Classic cycling event
- Silent auction chaperone at an Arthritis Foundation gala or Bone Bash
- Volunteerism from home including proof-reading Arthritis Foundation newsletter articles, grants or email campaigns
- Research local communities to uncover new potential Arthritis Foundation event supporters
- Juvenile Arthritis activity volunteerism to help run games, or secure in-kind donations for children’s activities
- Take part in a training to consider becoming an Arthritis Foundation Programs for Better Living Instructor
- Share your expertise on arthritis and become trained to make local presentations about arthritis through our Speakers Bureau program
- In-office support through data entry, assisting with mailings or writing personal follow-up notes to callers who have received Arthritis Foundation literature
- Canvas local community events to inform the public about arthritis advocacy and how to make a difference
- Take a walking tour of your local town to distribute Arthritis Foundation materials in laundromats, grocery stores, book shops, etc.
If you have an interest in expanding your volunteerism through opportunities like those listed above, or in another capacity, contact us. You can reach out to Jill Lysengen, Field Relations Manager, at 888-391-9389 x 6558, firstname.lastname@example.org or complete a volunteer application.
Pictured at left: The Colorado State University Rugby team in action at the Northern Colorado Jingle Bell Run/Walk. The team’s volunteerism, along with many other volunteer groups across the Great West Region, were critical to the success of all of our 2013 Jingle Bell Run/Walks!
Help our volunteer family grow! Share AFriends with friends or family members who may be interested in volunteering!
Feedback or ideas for AFriends future stories? E-mail email@example.com
Read back issues on the AFriends Archive page.