Outreach Volunteers Working to Connect T1D Community


The JDRF T1D Connections Program is one of JDRF’s most meaningful Outreach efforts. The program pairs newly diagnosed individuals and families with Outreach Volunteers 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 Outreach Volunteer’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.

Jessica Lehner and her dog, Tucker

Jessica Lehner, one of our newest Outreach Volunteers, decided to join our T1D Connections program because after living with T1D for 18 years, she knew that she has the experience to support families who are newly diagnosed. “I felt like this was an opportunity to help others who are going through the same diagnosis that I went through”, Lehner said.

The training process to become an Outreach Volunteer can either be in person or through an online training portal. Jessica said, “I volunteer at a few nonprofit organizations in Sacramento and this training proves was easier than most. It was very convenient watching the training video and connecting with Elizabeth, the JDRF Outreach Coordinator, by phone. The training process makes it easy to volunteer for this great organization”.

Ultimately, our Outreach Volunteers are our JDRF representatives out in the community connecting with people of all ages and in different stages of their T1D life. This is a resource that most people, like Jessica, who were diagnosed over 15 years ago wished they had access to: “When I was diagnosed, my whole world was flipped upside down and it would have been nice to hear how other people are living with Type 1 Diabetes. I look forward to making an impact on the lives of other people who are living with T1D.”

Our Chapter is currently looking for additional Outreach Volunteers, especially parents who have children with T1D. If you are interested in learning more, please contact Elizabeth Cejka at ecejka@jdrf.org or 916-576-1379.