HACKENSACK, N.J. -- The Hackensack-based Diabetes Foundation, which does great work year-round to help individuals dealing with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes obtain the financial and educational assistance needed to manage their diagnoses, is launching a new program for dedicated volunteers who want to serve as Diabetes Resource Coaches. The new program will match diabetics with qualified individuals who understand the challenges they face.

This program has been in the works for quite some time, according to Executive Director Ginine Cilenti, who joined the nonprofit as Chief Development Officer four years ago.

“When I came on board, I did a learning tour going to local doctors, trustees and participants in our program. What I found out was that people were missing the follow up, the point once they’re diagnosed and prescribed to where they can follow their active health plan.” 

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That’s where the Diabetes Resource Coaches come into play.

“It’s a very structured program. The criteria is you must have a healthcare degree or have cared for people with diabetes,” said Cilenti. “Diabetes Resource Coach Program volunteers will guide individuals living with diabetes to a range of important resources including local healthcare experts, tips and tools for disease management, nutrition, fitness and wellness programs and support groups.”

The Diabetes Foundation was founded in 1990 with the mission to help individuals with diabetes get connected to services and help eligible individuals secure funding to pay for their prescriptions. Since it is not a research organization, the foundation is instead able to deliver direct services to individuals.

Funding for the nonprofit comes from both grants and private donations. Cilenti estimating the foundations raises about $1 million each year through individual donations, events and corporate support. The foundation has served approximately 1,100 individuals to date this year.

"We have the capacity to help about 1,600 people this year … it costs us as an agency about $750 per person for medication and coaching program," said Cilenti.

The Diabetes Foundation will host its 29th Annual Golf Classic on Monday, Sept. 24 at the Ridgewood Country Club, 96 W. Midland Ave. in Paramus, N.J. 

Those interested in becoming Diabetes Resource Coach Program volunteers should mark down the first training date, Wednesday Sept. 14, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 411 Hackensack Ave., in Hackensack.

Volunteers must be 21 or older and computer proficient. Due to the personal interaction with participants, a minimum one-year commitment to the Diabetes Resource Coach Program is required. Coaches will be asked to work one day a week for approximately 4-6 hours per day between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

To fill out a volunteer application or for more information on volunteer opportunities, call (201) 444-0337, e-mail diabetesresourcecoach@diabetesfoundationinc.org or visit the organization’s website atwww.diabetesfoundationinc.org.