We had no clue how much this vision we had would change our lives.
In just the few short months since we said the words, "let's see if we can get everyone together for a support group meeting," we have managed to build an amazing network of families and friends that have, now, in fact become part of our own "extended" families.
Berks T1D Connection became more than just a support group. We found very quickly that there was A LOT of interest, so we decided to move forward (with the help of some A-MAZING friends) to build our own 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to help the T1D families of Berks County. Living with type 1 diabetes is hard... finding help shouldn't be.
So, here we are with no money in the bank (literally) but we have A LOT of passion and great ideas. Vision for helping the local families that live with (and at times struggle with) type 1 diabetes 24/7/365.
We already held the monthly support group meetings that manage to fill the room, graciously hosted by our local hospital (thank you Reading Health System!) We also had created a closed online support group for our supporters for the daily interaction/questions/conversation in between those meetings. This has been WILDLY successful!
THEN, we started networking and hosting social gatherings. A pool party at the Fightin' Phils, a day at Mt. Gretna Lake, and now we will be hosting a candy-free Halloween-alternative party for the T1D kids of Berks County! It doesn't get any better than that! I am CERTAIN there will be many, many more great things to come!
The most amazing part is that when the kids began coming to the support group meetings most parents reported that there was a good amount of blow-back from their kids. They didn't have interest in coming. NOW, they kids have a GREAT time and can't wait to get together with their group friends. They are learning about new treatment options from each other and improving their health as a result! We have even found that spending time together has lowered stress levels in some of the children and their blood sugar levels have begun improving. GREAT news all around!
The parents AND adult T1D members of the group are benefiting as well. We have had guest speakers in the group from various organizations including the American Diabetes Association and a local nutritionist. Not to mention the pleasure they get from simply having the opportunity to speak with other adults who "get it."
We have big hopes and dreams for our group, supporters, & organization.
Some things we would like to do:
- Offer a welcome bag to newly diagnosed families
- Work with local restaurants to make nutritional information more readily available
- Create a diabetes resource library for our supporters
- Create more awareness in the community about type 1 diabetes
- Host a local T1D camp in Berks County
If you would like to support us in our efforts to make a difference in the lives of the children and families living with type 1 diabetes, please visit our website at www.berkst1dconnection.org or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is our mission statement:
Berks T1D Connection is a community-based organization dedicated to improving the lives of all those in Berks County affected by Type 1 Diabetes by providing support, education, advocacy, and awareness.