I am interested in starting a local support group for families of diabetic children in our community. I would like any information you can share about starting a group, how often you meet. If you attend a group some of the things you do, if you cover certain topics at each meeting, have guest speakers or just let everyone get together and talk. What to do with the children while parents are involved in discussions? Thank you!

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There is nothing like a support group where I live but I would love if there was. I have thought about trying to put one together but sometimes I feel like the only type 1 family in town (I know we are not)
stjrhein - I hope you consider starting up an outreach group in your area. There may be others in your same situation but too afraid to want to reach out and connect. If you need additional help or advice please don't hesitate to ask! Good luck.
Tonight is our first get together, it might just be us and one other family but we can discuss what to call ourselves, what we want out of a group and how to let other families know we are here.
Any tips would be appreciated. Prayers too!
When we were diagnosed, I just felt so alone. Like no one understood. I found support online but no one I could see face to face. I don't want anyone else to feel like that. :)
Thank you for your encouragement!
In the North Alabama area we started a group called Hot Shots 3.5 years ago with the help from our local hospital and the Southeastern Diabetes Education Services. We do a mix of things for our gatherings. The fun events have been ice skating, putt putt, and bowling. The education sessions have been from a diabetes educator, the 504 meeting to prepare for going to or in school and speakers about outreach and the artificial pancreas. We were fortunate enough this year to bring on JDRF and the ADA to support Hot Shots. If you know some families that have children or adults with type 1 you could always start by having a lunch or dinner gathering. I would also contact your local or state JDRF chapter to see if they have anything in the works. I know JDRF is currently looking to create support/outreach groups and this may be happening now in your area. I hope this helps and let me know if you have any other questions in regards to this.
I help facilitate a support group in Tacoma, WA. I have been with the group from the beginning (3.5 years, but I did not start it). We partnered with JDRF. They reimburse us for snacks and send out our flier to newly diagnosed patients. Our local Pediatric Endocrinologist office distributes the pamphlet as well. We meet once a month at a local church (we take December and July off). We try to have high school students come watch the kids in the Church's gym while the adults meet (although sometimes us adults take turns if we do not have a babysitter). The gym has a glass wall that faces our meeting room so we can see the kids at all times. We meet for 1 and 1/2 hours and 1/2 of that time is spent with a speaker and the other half is just open discussion. We try to have two of us facilitators there each meeting (there are currently three of us that work together)... that way, 1 can run the meeting and the other can meet individually with newly diagnosed families or help with the kids. Our attendance really varies from one or two families to up to 20 people with the right speaker. Let me know if you have other specific questions.
Thank you for your suggestions. I have been in contact with our local JDRF chapter, they are going to try and help me with guest speakers and put the meeting in their newsletter etc. There was no mention of reimbursement for snacks however something like this would be helpful since I am going it alone .. I am distributing a newsletter to all the school nurses who can then pass them out to their diabetic families. I am working on getting the information in our local paper radio and tv in their community calendar. I am nervous because I do not speak well in front of a group of people. I will know more after our first meeting.
As a facilitator, I do not have to do a lot of speaking. We generally start out the meeting by having each person introduce themselves and explain their connection to diabetes. Then, we introduce the speaker. Once the speaker is done we thank the speaker and open up the meeting for discussion. Our meetings are fairly informal and usually pretty small so I find that it does not require a lot at the meetings. Usually people are so happy to ask questions and join the discussion that the time goes by fast without much effort. Good luck with your group.
I wish you the best of luck. One unexpected thing that has come out of this support group is great friendships among the kids. My daughter really looks forward to going and playing with her diabetic friends while the parents meet. We have even had play dates with a couple of them outside the meetings and she is excited that she will know someone in her group at camp this year!

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