JDRF Mentoring

by Leighann on August 3, 2011

I have the privilege of “guest tweeting” for the Illinois Chapter of the JDRF today. If you are on Twitter, please click over and follow the hashtag #JDRFlife to see my tweets and those from @JDRFIllinois. Please pop on over and join the conversation.

I am happy to announce that I have become a JDRF mentor.

Why, you may ask, would I add yet another thing to my already full plate? I realized earlier this summer that there was a serious void in my locale to help connect families with newly diagnosed children.

Our family traveled over 120 miles to a JDRF event in a large city. While at the event, I was chatting with one of the vendors and mentioned the town I live in. I continued down the line and was called back by the vendor. The person in line behind me was from my same town.

Their child had been diagnosed the month before.

I began to question why it is that I (and they) had to travel 120 miles to meet a family that lived less than two miles away…practically neighbors!

(I was actually able to ask this of Jeffrey Brewer, CEO of JDRF in person while in San Diego. He said connecting people is what JDRF does best.)

It took me a while to find the DOC (Diabetes Online Community) after my daughter’s diagnosis, even though I was an established blogger and adept at social media. But the DOC has helped our family in so many ways through encouragement, knowledge, and support.

I try to give voice to those affected by diabetes by becoming a founding member of the Diabetes Advocates. If you haven’t looked at their list of members, you should! It’s full of wonderful, educated people who know their diabetes stuff. They kick ass and take names!

You can find me blogging here at D-Mom Blog, and also on Twitter and Facebook. I’m good at reaching those already online, but how can I reach people in my own community?

(This was actually one of the topics discussed at the recent Roche Social Media Summit: taking our efforts offline.)

I heard from my contact at JDRF that they were looking to expand their reach in my part of the state. She asked if I was interested in becoming a mentor.

I felt like it was a win-win situation: I could meet families in my area affected by diabetes and I could help give support to families standing where I was three years ago.

I will also be available to families who seek mentorship in other areas such as diabetes at school.

I hope that I rise to the occasion and share meaningful knowledge, but perhaps the most important thing is just being there as a d-mom who “gets it.”

Further Reading

Diabetes at School

{Newly Diagnosed} Bag of Hope (the bear that totally saved the day!)

Newly Diagnosed

Twitter 101 (If you aren’t already on Twitter, see what it’s all about and read my primer.)

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Katy August 3, 2011 at 9:50 am

We’re thrilled to have you as a mentor!


2 Amy Scheer August 3, 2011 at 10:13 am

Leighann, this is so important–mostly because I know you’ll do a great job. In my case, I was wanting a connection to other families, and what I got from JDRF was an email several weeks after the request, and no reply to my reply. That was it. Thankfully, though, within a month or so of diagnosis we met our neighbors–I mean, their yard *connects* with ours–whose son was in the same school and has diabetes. In fact, as I type, our boys are playing together. Connections are important, no matter how they’re forged. You’ll be great at this.


3 shannon August 3, 2011 at 4:11 pm

sounds like a great opportunity!


4 Roselady August 3, 2011 at 8:50 pm

I think mentoring is a great idea. Connections for you; connections for them. I’m from IL, BTW. Miss it all the time.


5 Kristin August 5, 2011 at 5:05 pm

JDRF needs more people like you! Woot!!! I’m involved as well, and it’s too bad that Amy’s experience is pretty typical. Great organization but needs to do a lot better at connecting people – fantastic when it does.


6 Paula August 8, 2011 at 7:57 pm

Fantastic resource for all families living
the T1D journey. Thank you for all that you do for the community!


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