JDRF 2023 Children’s Congress took place from July 9 – 11, 2023, in Washington, D.C.
Every two years, more than 160 children with type 1 diabetes (T1D) between the ages of 4 – 17 gather in Washington, D.C., to meet face-to-face with some of the top decision-makers in the U.S. Government. The selected Delegates represent all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as JDRF’s five International Affiliates. As participants in JDRF Children’s Congress, Delegates have a unique and empowering opportunity to help Members of Congress understand what life with T1D is like, while forming lasting bonds with fellow youth who live with this autoimmune disease.
History of Children’s Congress
The JDRF Children’s Congress T1D advocacy program was inspired by a boy from Massachusetts named Tommy Solo. One day, at age nine, he asked his mother, “Why can’t kids go to Washington and tell their Representatives about what it is like to have type 1 diabetes and let them know that we want scientists to find a cure?” His mom and other JDRF volunteers agreed and, in 1999, the first-ever JDRF Children’s Congress took place in Washington, D.C.
Since then, 11 successful Children’s Congresses have been held, one every other year, and more than 1,000 kids with T1D have served as Delegates. JDRF Children’s Congress has been essential to securing continued government funding of T1D research and to raise awareness of the daily burden of Americans living with this serious autoimmune disease.
Delegates form lifelong friendships, meet T1D role models, develop leadership skills, and leave Children’s Congress empowered to use their voices for the change that will improve their lives and the lives of all people affected by T1D.
Originally posted on cc.jdrf.org/about-jdrf-childrens-congress/
JDRF Upstate New York 2023 Children’s Congress Delegates
Jackie shared her of her time in Washington D.C.: “Initially, I expected the most memorable part of Children’s Congress to be meeting our federal legislators and attending a Senate hearing, but I was quickly proven wrong. While these experiences were remarkable, what made Children’s Congress so special was the new friends that I walked away with. Meeting people who understand my ever high and low of diabetes was so rewarding and I can confidently say that my T1D family has grown for the better.”
After the week’s events, Nicholas said that the entire experience was amazing and he is so happy that he was chosen to be a Delegate for JDRF Children’s Congress. He loved meeting new friends and being surrounded by kids who understood exactly what it means to be living with T1D. He also really enjoyed going to Capitol Hill and advocating for insulin affordability and the renewal of the Special Diabetes Program. Meeting all of the T1D celebrities was awesome too! He even got to ask Jimmy Jam a question during the Town Hall!