Students Teach at Diabetes School Walk
In the Keller, Texas, Intermediate School District, more than 100 students are living with type 1 diabetes. That's more than in the neighboring Dallas district, which is four times Keller's size. Keller also has more than 40 students with type 2 diabetes.
Enter Keller High School nurse Debbie Gregor, RN, and Cindy Parsons, head of health services for the school district. Together, they've built up a diabetes awareness and fund-raising effort that's unlike any in Texas.
|School nurses Debbie Gregor (left) and Debbie Hooker.|
About six years ago, Gregor joined the district. On her first day, 20 students with diabetes came to the nurse's office. Gregor wanted to do something to both serve those students and educate the entire Keller community about diabetes. She turned to the American Diabetes Association and learned about School Walk, an ADA fund-raiser that also teaches kids about diabetes. Normally, Sandy Peters, associate director of the ADA's Dallas office, does the education part of School Walk. Gregor, however, had other ideas.
"Instead of me going to their 35 schools, they have their type 1 kids from the high schools go to the elementary schools," Peters says. The older students visit physical education classes and homerooms, and take part in morning announcements to talk about diabetes. "It's one of those things where you're there crying," Peters adds, "because people are so passionate about helping these kids. It's very emotional."
As the peer-to-peer education continues, so too does Keller's involvement in School Walk. During the 2011–12 school year, nearly 600 students, staff, and other volunteers raised $35,000 at the one-day event. Just as important: raising awareness among those who get involved, says Gregor. "I think it's very important. … We're trying to get the word out so that our population is aware that there's something they can do about preventing the growth of type 2 diabetes," she says. "And of course we want to see a cure for type 1 and type 2 diabetes. That's why we're doing this."
To learn more or to start a School Walk near you, visit diabetes.org/schoolwalk.