Archived Story

Local church wraps up diabetes program

Published 8:03am Friday, March 14, 2014

For the past 18 weeks, a group of local men and women learned more than they could ever ask about diabetes, and then some.

The Dowagiac Seventh-day Adventist Church wrapped up its Wellspring Diabetes Program on Tuesday, with five people completing the educational course. Starting in September, the participants learned about ways to adjust their diets and lifestyles to help tackle the disease that plagues more than 25 million people in the U.S.

Overseeing instruction for the educational seminars was Melody Wallace, the faith community nurse for the church. While she has provided wellness education for local residents since she joined the church in 2007, last year was the first time she had brought the Wellspring program to the people of Dowagiac, after two participants in her weight management program asked if she could help teach them more about diabetes.

“We decided as a church that if this is a need people have, we will serve that need,” Wallace said.

Wallace looked into four different options before settling on the Wellspring program, she said. While the course was originally intended to last for four nights a week for four months, Wallace said she decided to extend the schedule into the spring, requiring participants to come one meeting a week.

“I knew that people would need help going through the holiday season,” Wallace said. “Our environment doesn’t support a healthy lifestyle, especially around the holidays.”

Every week, participants would watch informational videos featuring expert physicians, preceded and followed by discussion. In addition, the course also offered a book of recipes for meals that cater to people managing their blood-sugar levels.

“I actually cooked up some dishes from the menu so they could sample them and see what they liked,” Wallace said.

The course was well received by everyone who signed up, Wallace said. One of the ladies told her it was the first such diabetes management program that gave her hope of successfully managing the disease, Wallace added.

“One of the positive things about this program is that it gives people hope,” she said.

Based on the apparent success of its inaugural run, Wallace said the church would likely offer the series again next year. However, she would like beef up certain aspects next time hoping to add lessons about exercise or guest lectures from local physicians to the mix.

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