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New Diabetes Mentor Program Seeking Support

Hi there! I'm a 21year old UC Berkeley student and was diagnosed when I was 11. I recently developed and started a mentorship program called Diabetes Relationship Building for Empowering Youth (DRBEY). I have been emailing Manny in hopes of building some community support, and he suggested I appeal to all of you.

Tomorrow, Thursday December 2nd I will pitch the DRBEY program project for a grant that will sustain the program throughout the first year of operation. I am very excited, but also nervous, because the organization providing the funding is not associated with diabetes per se. However, I feel good about it.

Right now, I am looking for support from individuals who have diabetes in the Bay Area. Would this kind of a program have helped you as a teen with diabetes? Is the approach useful? I have included the DRBEY mission statement below, which briefly describes the approach and broad goals. I am willing to email around the entire project proposal if anyone is interested. Any feedback would be absolutely amazing and appreciated.

Mission Statement:
Diabetes Relationship Building for Empowering Youth (DRBEY) is a mentorship program that aims to inspire and empower teens and pre-teens living with type-1 diabetes in the Bay Area. DRBEY aims to improve the lives of the children faced with the challenges and struggles of life with diabetes by helping them to understand their personal diabetes story and dynamic relationship to it. DRBEY also aims to open dialogue and create partnerships that have the capacity to build and strengthen the diabetes community as a whole. We feel that participating in this program will improve the lives of youth living with diabetes as well as those living around them, and will thus foster a tighter diabetes community in the Bay Area.

DRBEY Program: What it looks like:
The DRBEY program has been designed around personalized ‘My Diabetes Books’. Both mentees and mentors will create, maintain, and utilize their own log books to track diabetes management, both physically and mentally. I designed the program in this way because of how the creation of my own diabetes book inspired a drastic change in my overall diabetes health. Before creating my own, I tried to use books made by my doctor or diabetes companies. I just couldn’t motivate myself to do it. The main reason why I had a difficult time logging was because the only thing their books asked for was numbers: blood sugar numbers, insulin numbers, carbohydrate numbers, and calculation numbers. There was no room to explain what happened that day. There was no place to write how I felt that day; was it a low day, or a good day? Diabetes is a number game, but a number game that involves the heart. The heart parts need to be explored to ensure a holistic change in diabetes self-care at any age.

Lastly, I would like to offer the opportunity for open positions with DRBEY.
We are currently seeking to fill the following positions:

Director of Outreach
Director of Events

If you are interested in leadership positions or in becoming a mentor, please respond to this post or send an email to Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope it inspires some of you.

Heather Gabel

Views: 545

Comment by Emily B on November 30, 2011 at 2:26pm

Heather Rose, what an exciting program you are developing, my best wishes. Sadly we live in Southern Cali., if we were up there, I'm sure I and my son would like to be involved. I am very much on top of his diabetes using (Pump and CGMs) we strive to "color in the lines" and frequently achieved flatlines (not to shabby for a teenager). I remember also being frustrated with log books. I made our own because there a just too many variables other than the numbers. We'll best of luck. Keep us update on how its going. Emily :)

Comment by Heather Gabel on November 30, 2011 at 2:31pm

Thank you for the sentiment, Emily. I am glad to hear the method has been successful for others. :-) I"ll post updates as regularily as possible.

Comment by Heather Nielsen on November 30, 2011 at 9:56pm

Awesome work!!! I live in Portland, OR - any need for virtual mentors?!
Good luck!! Very important and insightful re: the heart issues....

Comment by acidrock23 on December 1, 2011 at 4:37am

It sounds like a great idea! Good luck with your pitch. I'm in Chicago though so not able to help.

Tactically, I understand the importance of logging however I have spent almost my entire diabetes "career" trying to avoid it because it is a PITA! I wonder how much of it is because I wanted to put the "other stuff" in there so I think that's a good idea however it was still a PITA during my brief 2-4 weeks of logging to get a pump. I was involved in a challenging martial arts program and was taking quite a bit of R/N insulin and the results seemed unintelligible to me. I think the doc estimated my pump settings using my weight/ age according to a scale and came out very close to what worked, which also sort of makes me think logging may be somewhat overrated?

Comment by jujube on December 1, 2011 at 9:18pm

Great idea and nicely planned. I am in the wrong bay area (Tampa LOL)

Comment by Bradford on December 3, 2011 at 6:43pm

I agree w/ the others that this sounds like a great program initiative!! I live in Oklahoma (so not even a "wrong" bay area for me living in a landlocked state ;) but if I lived closer I would very much like to get involved w/ this kind of outreach.

Comment by Steff on March 8, 2012 at 8:46pm

Hey I go to Berkeley too!! Send me a message or response of something. I'm interested! :)


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