Reaching Out for Health
Joyce Boudoin got involved with the American Diabetes Association’s Safe at School® program when her daughter, Alexis, now 10, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes five years ago. But it was her mother’s history with type 2 diabetes that encouraged Boudoin to reach beyond school and into the African American community
as a volunteer, leader, and Diabetes Advocate.
Boudoin, of Apopka, Fla., was awarded the American Diabetes Association Stop Diabetes® LEARN Outreach Award at November’s 2013 Community Volunteer Leadership Conference in Nashville, Tenn. In a letter detailing her nomination, Association leaders honored Boudoin’s dedication as a volunteer with Safe at School®, Step Out®: Walk to Stop Diabetes®, and Live Empowered: Learning to Thrive With and Prevent Diabetes®, the Association’s African American programs.
The memory of her mother, who died of diabetes complications in 2010, motivates Boudoin to continue her work in the African American community. “My mother was very ill … renal failure, heart problems as well, just generally deteriorating,” Boudoin remembers. “It wasn’t until one doctor sat me down and said, ‘You realize this is the result of years of not controlling her blood sugar.’ I thought, ‘There’s got to be something we can do about this.’ ”
Since 2011, Boudoin has trained other leaders in at least 15 different churches in her community, all through the Live Empowered program, which targets African American religious communities and is designed to help people get more informed about their health. Boudoin’s own church, Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church in Eatonville, Fla., now has an active health ministry that began with Boudoin’s introduction of ADA materials.
Pauline Lowe, program director with the Association’s central Florida office, says she admires Boudoin as a Diabetes Advocate. “Joyce’s enthusiasm is infectious! It is not unusual for me to receive long e-mails outlining her ideas and strategies to increase our reach in the community and engage more people,” Lowe says. “Not only does she share information and resources; she is always actively recruiting more volunteers to help Stop Diabetes.”
Celebrate Black History Month by getting involved in the American Diabetes Association’s Live Empowered programs. Learn more at diabetes.org/liveempowered. Find events near you by contacting your local ADA office at 1-800-DIABETES (800-342-2383).