They can do it all: they share their stories with politicians, they calculate insulin, they raise awareness about diabetes, they testify before Congress, they inspire camp children, and they influence legislation – and all while they’re still teenagers. Superheroes? Almost! These are things our National Youth Advocates have done. And now it’s your turn.
The American Diabetes Association is currently accepting applications for the 2011 National Youth Advocate. If you are between 14-17 years old (as of September 1, 2010), have type 1 or type 2 diabetes and are passionate about using advocacy to help Stop Diabetes®, you are eligible to apply! You have to be quick, though – the application deadline is October 31st!
Obligations of this position include:
- Commit to a one-year term as the American Diabetes Association’s National Youth Advocate.
- Work in close coordination with Association staff to communicate diabetes advocacy message via speaking engagements, the internet, social media and directly to policymakers.
- Attend training, National Advocacy Committee meetings, and Call to Congress in the Washington, DC area.
- Travel (with parent or guardian) to Association Diabetes Camps and other Association events throughout the year.
I could go on and on about how awesome this position is for teens with diabetes, but why listen to me? This is a topic that people who have been our National Youth Advocate should talk about – so I caught up with a few of them and asked them to share some of their thoughts on the experience.
Amy Johnson, 2010 National Youth Advocate, Kansas City, MO: Now a freshman in college, Amy shared with me something she’s become more aware of over the past year that she’s served as National Youth Advocate:
To even imagine the number of people who have dedicated their lives to fighting this disease is an impossible act until you have experienced a journey like that of the National Youth Advocate! Talk about passion! It’s been so inspiring to see and hear from thousands of people who share a similar goal.
Christian Stokes, 2009 National Youth Advocate, Minneapolis, MN: Currently in his second year of college, Christian is busy – so busy, in fact, he couldn’t get back to me! We’ll let it slide this time, but here’s what he said about being National Youth Advocate:
During my term as American Diabetes Association’s National Youth Advocate I have had the opportunity to do many fun and memorable things. I have given speeches at galas; spoken with top researchers and met many amazing kids I will always remember.
Tesch West, 2008 National Youth Advocate, Salt Lake City Utah: Tesch is a Political Science major at the University of Utah. She is also Assistant Campaign Manager for a candidate running in a local election
The year I spent as the National youth Advocate changed my life. I learned about myself and who it is I want to be. My experiences lobbying Congress and working as an advocate showed me that I have a true passion for politics. I use the skills I acquired as the National Youth Advocate every day; writing briefs, opinions and recaps, public speaking, organizing and participating in events and – most importantly – working with people.
Dana Lewis, 2006-2007 National Youth Advocate, Huntsville, AL (and now Seattle, WA): Called an “internationally recognized social media strategist,” Dana just graduated from college earlier this year and is already working with Swedish Health Services as their interactive marketing specialist.
I applied to be American Diabetes Association’s National Youth Advocate because I am passionate about diabetes advocacy and making a difference; but it was during my experiences as NYA that I discovered the power of communication for health care and found what I wanted to do in life.
Anyone who is passionate about diabetes advocacy and improving the lives of people with diabetes should apply to be National Youth Advocate. However, don’t let the application be the end of your passion! Whether or not you are selected, use the opportunity of filling out the application to think about different ways you can continue to make a difference and advocate on behalf of people with diabetes in your community.
Seems like there is no better way to end this – these kids (not actually kids anymore) are going to go places. And so can you! Apply now!