A New Program Sponsored by CAMP Rehoboth and Mautner Project
One of the many reasons people love and move to Rehoboth Beach is for the warm and welcoming sense of community. Whatever your gender, preference, religion, race, or political bent, you can find visible and like-minded people just like you. Soon, there will be one more draw to this fine little beach town. On October 20, the Mautner Project is coming!
What is that, some might ask? Well, just ask one of the 60 or so local supporters who have known about the vital works of Mautner Project for years and have been travelling to the annual Mautner Gala in DC. They will attest that there, stories are shared and women honored for their volunteer efforts to embrace and support other women experiencing life-threatening diseases. In a nutshell, it is community taking care of community. Perfect now that RB would start a chapter of its own. If you are new, if you are away from family, if you need some extra support during your illness, Mautner is a name that has inspired and rallied strangers to become friends in communities near DC, and will now do the same here.
Why and how is Mautner Project coming to RB? As with most things that happen here, there is a very good story. It starts with our own, Georgette Krenkel. She was diagnosed with lung cancer almost a year ago. Georgette had recently moved to Rehoboth Beach, planning to enjoy retirement and become part of the community. And then, illness struck.
Georgette confided in her friend, Janet Redman. They realized that Georgette needed help managing the crisis. Janet sent a request for support out to friends in RB and Lewes. The response was quick and gratifying. In a matter of days, 50 women and four non-profit organizations had pledged volunteer resources, rides to treatment, and central to it all, companionship.
Georgette and Janet also reached out for advice from Mautner Project: The National Lesbian Health Organization in Washington, DC. Both women are long-time supporters and knew that, for over 20 years, Mautner Project has offered services to lesbians with cancer and other serious illnesses by organizing, training, and deploying volunteers. Social worker Jacquetta Brooks, Mautner Project’s client services director, quickly became a resource for the ad hoc Rehoboth “village” that was inspired to help Georgette.
For over seven months, Janet served as coordinator of services. She organized the volunteers on a weekly schedule, making sure that all of Georgette’s appointments, treatments, grocery shopping, and other needs were handled. After noticing the overwhelming response from friends (and some strangers), Janet and a few of the volunteers, including Dr. Kat Huston, Dr. Linda DeFeo, Jinx Jenkins, and Lana Lawrence, thought to capture this energy and establish something the entire Rehoboth Beach community could count on as both a service and a passion.
The local group reached out to both CAMP Rehoboth and Mautner Project to talk about the possibility of formalizing what had so lovingly grown out of Georgette‘s experience. Fast forward to today, and Mautner Project is on the way.
Mautner Project was founded in DC in 1990, following the death of Mary-Helen Mautner. Shortly before she died, Mary-Helen asked her partner, Susan Hester, to start an organization that could help other lesbians facing the overwhelming challenges of breast cancer through direct services, much in the way that she received support from her community of friends and family. Mautner Project began as a completely volunteer organization, but over the years has become a non-profit with a professional staff and 100 volunteers. Similarly, CAMP Rehoboth has, since its 1991 founding, become a full-service community center for the LGBT community in the Rehoboth area.
Back to October 20, the launch of CAMP-Mautner Cares, a joint initiative between CAMP Rehoboth and the Mautner Project. Modeled after Mautner Project’s 22-year old DC Area Client Services program, CAMP-Mautner Cares will offer client navigation and volunteer services such as transportation to doctor and chemotherapy appointments, grocery shopping, and some household tasks to self-identifying lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender individuals living with serious illnesses like cancer in the Rehoboth Beach-Lewes area.
Mautner Project staff will provide the expertise, training and supervising the volunteers. CAMP will provide logistical support and assist with outreach and recruitment of volunteers and of clients. Together, the two groups hope to raise funds to support the project.
Please attend the official launch of CAMP-Mautner Cares! Come enjoy wine, beer, refreshments, and giveaways at the CAMP Rehoboth Community Center on Saturday, October 20, 2012 from 4-6 p.m.
Bravo for this community. Bravo to all those fighting disease, and bravo to all those people who step up when they are needed most.