Advance Online
A woman climbs to the top of the ladder and looks in the distance.
Advance Online

Why Wait?

The next generation of community leaders is getting to work.

Launched in 2016, the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) Youth Ambassador Program has empowered nearly 100 young people to share their personal journeys with psoriatic disease and take on leadership roles at Team NPF events nationwide. Fifteen Youth Ambassadors were on board in 2021, some new to the program and others seasoned ambassadors, like Thomas, who has been part of the program since its inception. (Since several program participants are minors, we will use first names only in this article.)

While the past few years have been different, to say the least, ambassadors typically will participate in their local Team NPF Walk, Run, or Cycle events, or organize their own Team NPF DIY event. They also serve as fundraising leaders in their respective communities. In previous years, a National Youth Ambassador was chosen to participate in NPF Capitol Hill Day in Washington, D.C., sharing his or her psoriasis story with national lawmakers. These visits are planned to resume when NPF Capitol Hill Day resumes in person.

To learn more about NPF and all it does, ambassadors join quarterly calls with the NPF program coordinator and hear from a variety of NPF department heads covering research, advocacy, and more.

While psoriasis is less prevalent in children than adults, approximately 1 in 3 people with psoriatic disease first developed psoriasis in childhood. In 2019, NPF and the American Academy of Dermatology published guidelines for the management of pediatric psoriasis. [1]

Ready to meet some of the young people helping to shape a better future for those with psoriatic disease? Then let's get to it. The following is a look at some of the current NPF Youth Ambassadors.

 

NPF Youth Ambassador Neel

Neel

What does having psoriatic disease mean to you?

Having psoriatic disease means life is never easy or normal. It means not being able to do things others take for granted. It means sometimes being self-conscious about your appearance. But it also means learning to be patient, open-minded, and positive. Like everything else, it’s a mixed bag, a paradox, a checkered chessboard where you win sometimes and lose other times.

What’s your favorite part of being a Youth Ambassador?

My favorite part is when I get to speak at a conference or event, or kick off the San Diego Team NPF Walk every year. It is a time where I feel like a celebrity, and my voice matters. I also love being able to travel to Sacramento [California] and meet lawmakers and share my story.

How did you get involved with NPF?

My older brother also has psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and was a Youth Ambassador. The NPF community in San Diego is a small, tightly knit group that is kind, supportive, and like family for us.

What advice do you have for other youth living with psoriatic disease?

Life will not be easy. There will be times when you will wonder, why me? Just don’t dwell on the negative, and look for what you can do. Remember that you are not alone. You are stronger than you think you are. Ask for help, and don’t stress or get dejected. Most importantly, enjoy the good days and seize every opportunity to experience and explore new things.

 

NPF Youth Ambassador Emme

Emme

What does having psoriatic disease mean to you?

Psoriatic disease has an immense impact on my everyday life, but it has taught me to be a strong, confident young woman who embraces her imperfections.

What’s your favorite part of being a Youth Ambassador?

My favorite part is being able to share my story in hopes of inspiring others who struggle with psoriatic disease.

How did you get involved with NPF?

I got involved through the Youth Ambassador program in April of 2021.

What advice do you have for other youth living with psoriatic disease?

Being unique is a strength, and confidence is key in achieving your dreams.

 

NPF Youth Ambassador Zoe

Zoe

What does having psoriatic disease mean to you?

Having psoriatic disease is a tough challenge, but I remind myself that this is a journey that I need to take slowly and use my voice to share my story.

What’s your favorite part of being a Youth Ambassador?

My favorite part of being a Youth Ambassador is being given the opportunity to educate and spread awareness on something that is often misunderstood and stigmatized and to help get closer to finding a cure.

How did you get involved with NPF?

When I was first diagnosed with psoriasis at the age of 11, I wanted to get involved with the National Psoriasis Foundation to meet people that share similar experiences while also participating in events to raise awareness in hopes to find a cure.

What advice do you have for other youth living with psoriatic disease?

An important piece of advice for people living with psoriatic disease is [that] despite the challenges you may face, you are a fighter and to surround yourself with a good support system.

 

NPF Youth Ambassador Ava

Ava

What does having psoriatic disease mean to you?

You have something unique, and [it] can connect you to another community of people who have similar experiences. It also gives us a special opportunity to be able to spread awareness about psoriatic disease.

What’s your favorite part of being a Youth Ambassador?

My favorite part of being a Youth Ambassador is the connections and opportunities that I might not have otherwise. It is also really nice to be able to talk to other people my age who have had similar experiences to me.

How did you get involved with NPF?

I got involved with the National Psoriasis Foundation when I was doing research for my senior project [in high school], and I decided to do more research into the diseases that I personally have. I wanted to get involved and be a part of their mission, so I signed up to be a volunteer. After going through the interview, I was told about the Youth Ambassador program, which would give me an opportunity to talk to others who have been through similar things.

What advice do you have for other youth living with psoriatic disease?

Do not be self-conscious about it. It is a part of you, and you should embrace it.

Interested in Becoming a Youth Ambassador?

Learn more about the NPF Youth Ambassador program and apply to join the team.

Learn about the program

Reference

1. Menter A, Cordoro KM, Davis DMR, et al. Joint American Academy of Dermatology-National Psoriasis Foundation guidelines of care for the management and treatment of psoriasis in pediatric patients [published correction appears in J Am Acad Dermatol. Mar 2020; 82(3): 574]. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2020; 82(1): 161-201. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2019.08.049.

Stay in the Know.

Expert tips, can’t-miss events and the latest news, straight to your inbox.

National Health Council Standards of ExcellenceCharity NavigatorCommunity Health Charities logoTwill Care logo

Copyright © 1996-2022 National Psoriasis Foundation/USA


Duplication, rebroadcast, republication or other use of content appearing on this website is prohibited without written permission of the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF).


NPF does not endorse or accept any responsibility for the content of external websites.


NPF does not endorse any specific treatments or medications for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

We use cookies to offer you a better experience and analyze our site traffic. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.