Children’s Congress is not only JDRF’s flagship advocacy event, it is one of the largest advocacy events in our nation’s capital. Since it was launched in 1999, JDRF has brought more than 1,000 kids and teenagers with type 1 diabetes (T1D) to Washington, D.C., to talk to their Members of Congress about the importance of funding T1D research.
Today, we know that Children’s Congress is so much more than just an event. Many of those 1,000 kids have grown up. In their new adult lives, these former delegates continue to prove that the right combination of optimism, perseverance, and community spirit can indeed change the world. In this weekly, five-part series, they show us how it’s done.
“I feel lucky to have had the chance to have an impact on an issue—a cure for T1D.”
Julia Nash, left, with her twin sister, Claire, and fellow 2005 delegate A.J. Melhus (profiled here last week)
Age as delegate: 15
Age at T1D diagnosis: 12
Children’s Congress 2005
What she took away from Children’s Congress:
“Children’s Congress provided a megaphone for each of us, a platform that other kids—and even adults—don’t normally get,” Julia says. Having the opportunity to discuss type 1 diabetes with high-level policymakers, she realized the importance of advocacy and decided that she wanted to work in Congress one day.
How she’s changing the world today:
Mount Holyoke College, 2010
BA in International Relations
During her junior year, Julia studied at The American University in Cairo, Egypt. “What attracted me to the Middle East is that it’s never static. The situation is always changing, and you have to constantly adapt,” she says.
Julia’s view today, from the dome of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.
Stateside, Julia has worked in the offices of U.S. Congressman Richard E. Neal of Massachusetts and U.S. Senator Al Franken of Minnesota. She is currently a legislative correspondent in the office of U.S. Congressman Ron Barber of Arizona, where she communicates with constituents about any and all of their concerns.
Julia has also received the Women in Politics Fellowship from WeLEAD, an organization dedicated to training the next generation of women interested in politics and running for higher office. “My first hands-on experience in politics and advocacy was with JDRF. I feel lucky to have had the chance to have an impact on an issue—a cure for T1D, so important to so many people at such a young age.”