by Elizabeth Oleksa, ACBDA Peer Mentor Relations Program Chair
With November being Diabetes Awareness Month, you may have many questions about how individuals living with both diabetes and sight loss can be of needed positive support, encouragement and empowerment for others and even themselves. Well, ACB Diabetics in Action began developing a program to do just this. The brainstorming, collaboration and building process began in October 2021. This brings us now to where we are today. ACBDA’s Peer Mentor Relations (PMR) officially began Sept. 1, 2022!!!
Before going into more detail, I would like to iterate that the ACBDA Peer Mentor program is in fact different from the MAPS program that ACB has recently initiated. Neither of these programs are associated with one another. Both programs are being run differently and fully separate from each other. If you are interested in learning more about the Peer Mentor program offered by ACBDA, you must be a current paid member of the ACBDA affiliate group. The main goal of the ACBDA PMR program is to be able to provide appropriate support for all interested members in the areas of both diabetes diagnoses and sight loss. There are countless areas in which support is not only desired, but also desperately needed, which is why we have developed such an in-depth peer-to-peer model.
You may not realize it, but many of you already provide mentor/mentee support to one another simply by responding to questions posed through different platforms, such as Facebook, e-mail listserv groups, or the Community calls. This is a large part of what a peer mentor does, and does not need to take much of your time. Being a part of a program like the ACBDA Peer Mentor Relations Program provides opportunities of knowing that you are making a difference in the lives of your peers. Or, perhaps you are looking to learn about better health habits (nutrition and diet, exercise, sexual or mental well-being with diabetes, beginning a new insulin therapy regimen, etc.), and need an accountability partner, information/facts, or just some support.
Participating in the ACBDA PMR Program does not need to take much time — maybe just a few minutes a week, or more if so desired. The interactions of all participants are completely up to those involved. But without the support and participation of ACBDA members, the program could not be successful. So, try something new, and make it a better year for yourself and those you care about by becoming a member of ACB Diabetics in Action and join the PMR Program today!
So…which one will it be? Mentor or mentee?
For more information on how to become a member of ACB Diabetics in Action, get involved or if you have any questions after reading this article, you can check out our website at ACBDA.org, e-mail ACBDA directly at [email protected], or e-mail me privately at [email protected]. I will be more than happy to answer your questions, and to be sure that you are provided with the best match possible for your needs! Together, we can create a web of much needed support to hold one another up through the challenging journey that is both diabetes and sight loss.