I am JJ: When you have a food allergy, character & Integrity are important traits


I am JJ: Character & Integrity are key

Two of the 13 words of CAN are Character and Integrity. Character is knowing what’s right. Integrity is doing what’s right. These two traits, which are part of our Food Allergy School CANpaign, are important for all kids to possess. They’re even more important when you have a food allergy. We need our kids with food allergies to be people of good character and good integrity.

Put simply, if they are going to expect others to be people of good character and good integrity around them as they grow older, they better possess and exhibit those traits as well. As someone with a food allergy, I constantly am having to trust how others respond to me. Did you wipe this down with soap and water? What ingredients did you use again? Is that a new “safe” butter in your refrigerator or an older one? Do you ever drink from the punch container in the fridge?

If someone sees us as someone who cuts corners and lies to get around things, they just might be the person who lies to us to get around something.

If someone sees us as someone who lies or exaggerates, they just might be the person who doesn’t believe us when we need them to.

Knowing what’s right and doing what’s right are two entirely different things. It’s often difficult for kids to recognize the importance and to follow through, especially when lying seems like the easiest solution. Kids learn about character and integrity from parents… so be on guard!

People with food allergies are constantly trusting others. We must be people others can trust as well.


JJ Vulopas is a senior at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. An advocate for young people, JJ has lived with food allergies his entire life. He is the author of the children's book, Land of Not. You can read his daily blog at www.thelandofcan.com and follow him @thelandofcan on Twitter and Instagram.