Helping Children Live Better: Juvenile Arthritis Family Summit
A nationwide event for families affected by juvenile arthritis and childhood rheumatic diseases.
Formerly known as the National JA Conference, the JA Family Summit is set to be held in Atlanta, Georgia, from July 20–23, 2023. Its main mission is to support families affected by juvenile arthritis by providing educational programming focusing on overall physical and mental health and wellness. The Summit also gives children and teens the opportunity to connect with other young people facing the same challenges. With nearly 300,000 juvenile arthritis patients in the United States, the Arthritis Foundation works to support families with children ages six months and up, as well as young adults ages 18–30.
For Corinne Pinter, who volunteers as the 2023 JA Family Summit planning committee chair, ensuring the success of the JA Family Summit is personal. Pinter’s youngest daughter was diagnosed with polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis on her second birthday.
“When my daughter was first diagnosed, it was easy to feel alone,” said Pinter. “Through my work on the JA Family Summit, I’m able to help bring families together going through similar situations and remind them we’re in this journey together.”
This Summit is just one of many programs and resources that the Arthritis Foundation offers to those affected by juvenile arthritis. Other programs offered are in-person and virtual Connect Groups, JA camps, scholarship opportunities and JA Power Packs.
There’s Comfort in Connection
Many kids, teens and young adults living with arthritis or other pediatric rheumatic conditions express similar thoughts and feelings about their disease and what they’ve experienced, including struggles with isolation, loneliness and being misunderstood. More than two-thirds of parents surveyed by the Arthritis Foundation reported their child experiences moderate to severe anxiety and depression in conjunction with their physical symptoms.
The Arthritis Foundation offers Connect Groups for parents of elementary school, middle school, and high school-aged youth with JA, as well as one for young adults. In these support groups, parents and young adults living with JA can take a deep dive into learning new skills to improve daily living and how they can advocate for themselves or their child.
Lasting Memories with JA Camps
Youth with juvenile arthritis can feel safe and secure at camps specifically tailored to their needs while gaining a greater understanding of their own juvenile arthritis. Supervised by health care professionals, the Arthritis Foundation ensures children are taken care of while making lifelong friends at JA camps.
Attending these camps allows youth with juvenile arthritis to gain confidence in themselves while discovering new skills and interests. Camps are offered in a variety of locations around the country.
The Arthritis Champion Scholarships
Multiple $5,000 scholarships are awarded annually to students who live with juvenile arthritis and positively impact the arthritis community as a role model and leader. Eligible students can apply up to four years total, and the award can be used for books, supplies and tuition. The 2023–2024 scholarships are funded by Dr. and Mrs. Walter J. Winterhoff and Dr. Smriti Bardhan.
JA Power Pack
The Arthritis Foundation JA Power Pack provides families with the tools they need to find their own personal victories in their battle against juvenile arthritis. Each Power Pack is tailored to different age ranges and includes a parent’s guide, informational brochures for teachers, a hot or cold treatment for aching joints, and a book to help children better understand their diagnosis.
The Arthritis Foundation is committed to providing support and resources to families and patients affected by juvenile arthritis. Getting connected is easy, and the JA Family Summit is a great place to start. For more information and to secure your spot at the Summit, visit the registration page. This event does sell out, so be sure to make your hotel reservations by the early bird deadline of April 30, 2023.
JA Family Summit is sponsored by Alpha Omicron Pi Fraternity, an Arthritis Foundation partner for more than 50 years.
About the Arthritis Foundation:
The Arthritis Foundation is fighting for all people who live with arthritis. As a Champion of Yes, it’s the Arthritis Foundation’s mission to turn the obstacles arthritis causes into opportunities. The Arthritis Foundation champions life-changing solutions and medical advancements, and it also provides ways for people to connect, break down barriers in health care and join the fight to conquer arthritis — uniting hearts, minds and resources to change the future of arthritis. To join the fight to conquer arthritis, visit arthritis.org.