Message From the Chair

Barbara Pasternak

As we mark Diabetes Hope Foundation’s 19th year, I look back at where we started and where we are today...

In 1997, I hosted a golf tournament and began raising funds to help families with children who were challenged by the day-to-day obstacles of living with diabetes. My goal was to reach out to these youth to give them hope for a healthier tomorrow through financial support and encouragement.

In 1999, Diabetes Hope Foundation was founded with a mission to reward, empower and provide peer education and support for youth-in-transition, to enable them to live successfully within and beyond diabetes. Over the last 18 years, the foundation has been successful in raising over $9 million to invest in communities across Canada to provide peer education and financial support for 2,380 families and youth living with diabetes.

This year, with the support of our families, donors, and generous community partners, Diabetes Hope Foundation expanded its scholarship program to award scholarships from coast-to-coast to deserving young adults in six Canadian provinces (BC, AB, ON, NS, NB and NL). Our transition program also grew beyond its provincial borders this fall to include programs and events in the west coast to honor the 10 year anniversary of our BC Scholarship program, and a new Transition Workshop was launched in Langley, BC. With support from the First Nations community, our Aboriginal Diabetes Retreat program's catchment area also spread across Southwestern Ontario to include at-risk youth from Sarnia to Brantford, and 3 First Nations reserves.

In the coming year, the foundation will continue to make investments in higher education through its scholarship and transition programs for teens and young adults living with diabetes. With funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the foundation has also been working with leading stakeholders from the diabetes, mental health and First Nations communities to develop youth-led strategies to address gaps and emerging needs within the diabetes and mental health community. With support from our partners and donors, Diabetes Hope Foundation plans to launch a NEW peer mentorship program next year to support youth living with diabetes and mental health disorders. We're thrilled with our growing presence in communities across the country, and will aim to continue developing new partner-ships and programs to support the needs of children and youth living with diabetes. We now invite you to take a few moments to see what your support has enabled us to accomplish this year !!!

Our strength comes from YOU, and together we are able to inspire today’s youth to dream, grow and achieve their goals in life.

Together we are making a difference.

Many thanks, Barbara