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Diabetes: A Family Matter

The Toolkit: Introduction

SUGAR Helpers

SUGAR stands for “Support to Unite Generations in the Appalachian Region.”

SUGAR stands for “Support to Unite Generations in the Appalachian Region.” Everyone needs care and assistance along the way. Type 2 diabetes is a disease that afflicts many members in some families. It is raging across America and is a real problem in the Appalachian region. Families and communities need to work together to stop this disease. Type 2 diabetes afflicts many generations of a single family. It is going to take local people supporting one another to improve the health of our communities. No health care dollars or providers are going to be able to help. We are going to have to do it for ourselves

Who are SUGAR Helpers?

SUGAR Helpers around the table

SUGAR Helpers are community volunteers that care about one another. They unite to provide local services and activities that educate others about diabetes risks and work together with individuals, families, and groups to tackle problems and promote health. SUGAR Helpers can be of any age, gender or ethnicity. They are people who want to get involved and make a difference in the lives of others and the health of their communities.

Where are SUGAR Helpers found?

SUGAR Helpers can be found anywhere! They are your neighbors, your church friends, and your classmates. You can find them at —senior centers, businesses, schools, hospitals, health departments, physicians’ offices, and government offices. Find incentives to get local people involved.

How to Recruit SUGAR Helpers

Internet, newspapers, word-of-mouth, postings at senior centers, clinics, physicians’ offices or hospitals, speak at a Rotary, Shriners’ or other organizations, post signs at YMCAs, discuss the needs with local businesses, having a booth at a job fair or the county fair to recruit as well as a means of providing information about diabetes and television or radio. Brainstorm a list of volunteer sources and direct attention to these areas.

Ways to Recruit

  • Word-of-mouth
  • Group presentations (can be done at public meetings, senior centers, etc)
  • Other presentation events-booths, parade handouts, etc.
  • Newspaper ads
  • Local volunteer centers
  • Local corporate relationships
  • Direct mail
  • Radio or television ads, public service announcements

Retain SUGAR Helpers

People enjoy volunteering; they do it all of the time. Become known locally as a great place to volunteer, this is the most important means of retention. If the volunteers view their activities in positive ways, they tell others and encourage them to get involved.

SUGAR Helpers Activities

Engage in activities that promote physical activity, lead recipe/pot luck meetings to show low sugar and low fat foods can still taste good. Be able to direct participants through the web pages, answer questions related to use of family reunion ideas. Lead a group discussing their difficulties in self-managing with the allowance of family members. Work as a mentor with a specific person or family with noted goals that can be worked towards together. Need to be instructed on icebreaker methods so they can open up their discussion groups effectively and keep everyone involved and comfortable.