New Beginnings Toolkit: Quick Tips

Key points

  • New Beginnings: A Discussion Guide for Living Well With Diabetes is a tool to help people and their family members take positive action to manage the condition.
  • Find quick tips including how to begin, activities, adaptations, and more to use New Beginnings.
younger african american man working with older african american women

How to begin

Begin by reviewing the "What You Need to Know" section at the beginning of each module. This section will also provide the Going Virtual Tips for each module.

Make activities and discussions longer or shorter according to the needs of your group.

Turn the stories into role-plays by asking participants to act out the plot. You can also ask participants to use the content to make up their own stories.

Each module has a list of videos, audio, or stories that can be used during the session. Pick one or two according to the needs of the group. Running times for each video or audio clip are provided.

Group discussion and activities

Discussion questions are divided into two columns. Instructions for leaders are on the left. Suggestions for questions or key talking points are on the right.


Each module includes one to three activities to help participants apply what they've learned, practice new skills, and plan behavior changes. The activities can be adapted to meet the needs of your group.

Many modules include a "Think-Pair-Share" activity. Participants will think about what they've learned, talk about it with another participant, then share with the group. The Think-Pair-Share activity is a good option when participants don't know each other.

At-home activities are optional for participants to practice at home or discuss the topic with family members.

The Connecting Thread: Facilitating New Beginnings Online has options for tailoring activities for virtual sessions.

Stories, handouts, and activities included in New Beginnings are in the public domain and may be used or copied without permission.

Adapting the discussion guide

New Beginnings is designed to be flexible and adaptable. It can be used with new or existing diabetes programs or support groups.

The focus of this guide is for Black Americans with diabetes. But the topics discussed in New Beginnings are important for all people with diabetes and their families. If you're working with a diverse group, pick stories that will be meaningful to the people in your group. You can also encourage the people in your groups to tell their own stories.

Building trust

The discussions in this guide ask participants to think and talk about their feelings and experiences with diabetes, both good and bad. This kind of sharing can make people feel uncomfortable. A New Beginnings discussion group should be a safe place where participants can express how they feel without judgment. They also need to know that what they share will not leave the group.

At the beginning of your first session (or as needed) ask the group to develop "ground rules" everyone can agree on.

Ground rules can cover:

  • Sharing information. Everyone should have a chance to talk if they want, but shouldn't be pressured if they decline. Group members should not judge or criticize other members. People should not give advice unless they are asked for it.
  • Respect. Everyone has a right to their opinion or beliefs. People can agree to disagree without being disrespectful.
  • Privacy. Participants should not talk about what is shared by other participants outside of the group. Participants should only contact participants outside of the meeting time if they have permission to do so.
  • Other issues. Groups can also set rules about behaviors such as using phones during the session, bringing children, or bringing healthy snacks.

Write the ground rules on a piece of paper and post them at every session. Remind group members about the ground rules during each session or if there are problems.