FARE's (Food Allergy Research & Education) Annual Teen Summit took place this year in Wisconsin. I not only had the opportunity to attend this year's conference but I also had the honor of speaking to middle schoolers about the silver lining of having food allergies. I look forward to food allergy conferences every year because I am able to meet new people, make new friends, and learn new information. For the last couple of years, FARE's Teen Summits have been in Washington D.C so when they announced that this year's conference was going to be in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, I was so excited! Not only did FARE change their location, but they also introduced new programs and presentations. Innovation Tank was one of their new segments. Teens and kids attending the conference would be able to pitch new ideas to make living with food allergies easier. When I saw this on their program, I was very happy to hear that they were inspiring people of all ages to take initiative and leadership. I thought it was amazing!
At the conference, I heard many different pitches and they were all spectacular! Everybody was so intelligent and creative. It was very impressive! It was one of my favorite things about the weekend. There were other amazing presentations and information. On Saturday, I heard touching stories about teen's experiences with clinical trials. Amanda Palin and Susan Tatelli shared the process and what it means to participate. Susan showed a video her mother made of her having an allergic reaction. Her participation in the clinical trials meant trying new foods and having reactions. This is the link to her video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nU7pWhzdKlI. I found it very emotional and it conveyed the seriousness of food allergies.
Other presentations such as 'Teens take Action' and 'The Right to Live in the World' were really eye opening. 'Teens take Action' featured inspirational teens who made a difference. And 'The Right to live in the World' featured a young boy and his friend who were excluded from a school activity because of their food allergies. They explained the situation, what rights we have, the disability law, etc.
In addition to these motivational speakers, there were presentations on yoga and breathing exercises. The presenters said these exercises can help in managing the frustrations that come with food allergies. On Saturday night, there was a dance. FARE made the night fantastic by setting up different games, having a variety of music, dancing, etc. I met new friends and had a great time!
This year's Teen Summit was absolutely amazing and was the best one yet! All of the speakers and presentations were very interesting and changed my point of view. They covered many different topics and it was very informational. I met August Maturo, FARE's National Ambassador and an actor on Disney's 'Girl Meets World'. Below is a picture of us together. It was great to meet someone so young who was helping so many at such a young age.
I also met Chopped Chef Junior Contestant, Ally. She shared cooking tips and told us what it was like to be on a competitive cooking show. I had the opportunity of speaking to her and she is not only an amazing chef, but also a great person. She will be sharing some more cooking tips on my blog later in the week.
To end the weekend, I presented a Mean Tweets Video featuring many of the teens at the Teen Summit. They read mean-spirited tweets on Twitter directed towards those with food allergies and the teen advisors shared something positive about encountering and deflecting them. The purpose of this video was to spread awareness and we presented it to all of the teens and parents at the conference. It was a great honor to have this opportunity and I am so lucky to have attended this year's conference! Thank you FARE!