American Legion grant helps educate youth on juvenile arthritis

The American Legion’s Child Welfare Foundation awarded a $37,464 grant last October to the Arthritis Foundation in Atlanta for its juvenile arthritis (JA) wellness book. More than 300,000 youth nationwide have some form of arthritis or rheumatic disease, according to Jillian Lain, mission integration manager for the Arthritis Foundation. And this book is helping children that have been recently diagnosed with juvenile arthritis to better understand their disease.

“The book that you all supported, which we are very gracious for, is a child-related activity book; it’s an educational, interactive book,” said Lain, to attendees of The American Legion’s Children & Youth Conference in Indianapolis on Sept. 23. “We’ve gotten positive responses from families because it was kind of a lacking piece of the (JA Power Pack) kit. It’s something for kids themselves to educate themselves in a fun way.”

The JA Power Pack, which the child wellness book is a part of, is a free toolkit featuring disease-related brochures, information on how to get involved with the activities the Arthritis Foundation provides (42 camps across the country, family camps, family days, and two JA conferences a year), and Champ the teddy bear that’s a hot/cold pack for treatment on sore joints. The power pack is designed to assist newly-diagnosed children and teens, as well as their parents. For more information about the JA Power Pack and other JA-related resources, visit www.kidsgetarthritistoo.org.

Lain shared with The American Legion that the Arthritis Foundation is always looking for volunteers for its JA conferences, which are “life-changing experiences” for the more than 1,000 families that attend each one. To get involved by either being greeters or helping with different activities like arts and crafts, visit www.arthritis.org to connect with the local offices.