The JDRF T1D Connections Program is one of JDRF’s most meaningful Outreach Programs. The program pairs newly diagnosed individuals and families with Outreach Volunteers (OV) who share experiences and resources to minimize the struggle and help connect the T1D community. They create ongoing, substantive opportunities for communication and engagement, so members of our T1D community don’t feel alone.
JDRF OV’s play the very important lead role in building early relationships with newly diagnosed individuals and families– welcoming, supporting, guiding, and connecting them to the larger T1D community and JDRF. This is accomplished through relationship building activities throughout the first twelve months post-diagnosis, including making introductory phone calls, sending periodic emails, extending invitations to chapter events, and identifying opportunities for further engagement as advocates, volunteers, and fundraisers.
This role is so important and meaningful for newly diagnosed families and adults and we know that it is rewarding for our Outreach Volunteers as well!
Spring Youngman, who is one of our newest Outreach Volunteers, was excited to join the team as her parents reached out to JDRF for support over 40 years ago when she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 7. Now as an adult living with T1D, Spring shares she wanted to become an OV to “help people as her parents helped her” saying “life with T1D is a difficult journey and I want to pay back the help that I received when I was diagnosed.”
Spring says if you are considering to join as a volunteer, “definitely do it! You don’t know who you will reach and provide support to. You will really make a difference in their life”. Although Spring completed training only a month ago, she has already been matched with a family whose daughter was recently diagnosed with T1D. “I love what JDRF is doing out in the community”, said Spring “becoming an OV has forced me out of my comfort zone, but at the same time is allowing me to provide support to adults and families who are just starting their T1D journey and giving them hope.”
If you are interested in learning more, please contact Elizabeth Dixon at firstname.lastname@example.org or 916-576-1379.
Written by: Elizabeth Dixon