Welcome to the first issue of the Pacific Region JA Newsletter designed for kids and families affected by juvenile arthritis and related rheumatic diseases as well as JA community supporters.
Our newsletter goals are to:
- Keep you informed on local Arthritis Foundation programs and events.
- Share highlights from past programs.
- Give local JA heroes opportunities to share their stories; and
- Spotlight the JA Communities in Arizona, California, Hawaii and Nevada (a.k.a. the Pacific Region!)
2013 JA Highlights
Every year the Arthritis Foundation looks forward to planning juvenile arthritis programs that will take place throughout the Pacific Region. In addition to hosting our SIX SUMMER CAMPS (at least one in every Pacific Region state this year), we also host JA Symposiums, Family Fun Days, and Family Weekend Camps. We are also lucky to partner with other nonprofits to host family support sessions like "Families Living with Rheumatic Diseases" and programs through CoachArt! One of the Arthritis Foundation's biggest partners, The Painted Turtle, is highlighted below. This past year, we implemented an awesome welcome backpack kit called S.A.K. - Supporting Arthritis Kids. The S.A.K. program is especially designed for families with children who are newly diagnosed with a rheumatic disease or families that are new to the Arthritis Foundation. The backpack is filled with educational materials and fun activities for the family. So far, we have been able to serve nearly 1,000 new families.
In 2013, the Pacific Region certainly dreamt big by hosting the National Juvenile Arthritis Conference on July 18-21 in Anaheim, CA. The conference took place during National Juvenile Arthritis Awareness month and brought together nearly 1,500 participants! The JA Conference Planning Committee, consisting of over 30 of the best volunteers ever and staff, chose "Dream, Believe, Achieve!" as the theme for the 29th annual conference. All participants benefitted from a weekend of learning, exploring, and meeting others from across the nation (and New Zealand) who share similar experiences in dealing with juvenile arthritis.
The Painted Turtle
The Painted Turtle, a member of Paul Newman's SeriousFun Children's Network, is a camp designed especially for children and teens with serious, chronic medical conditions. The Arthritis Foundation has partnered with The Painted Turtle since 2005 for the Southern California Family Weekend Camps. In 2009, Camp Esperanza - established in 1986 and the first camp just for kids with arthritis - moved to The Painted Turtle location in Lake Hughes, CA. This move enabled the Arthritis Foundation to serve 3 times more campers than before in one session! This year The Painted Turtle celebrates its 10th Anniversary!
Quote from The Painted Turtle:
"Every year The Painted Turtle looks forward to partnering with the Arthritis Foundation for our camp sessions. Whether at our annual summer camp session or at family weekends, the kids and families, as well as the entire Arthritis Foundation, bring wonderful energy and community to camp. The sessions are always some of the most remarkable of the year! We are extremely grateful to the Arthritis Foundation for partnering with us to make a lasting difference in the lives of these incredible kids."
-Blake Maher, CEO, The Painted Turtle