On the Cover
Diaz Bonville: Expanding Young Minds
Diaz Bonville is co-founder of the West Rehoboth Children and Youth Program (WRCYP), a community-based afterschool and summer enrichment program for at-risk, low-income, disadvantaged youth. He started the program in 2002 alongside Brenda Milbourne with the same motivation he’s had since his youth: “to help young people who are less fortunate.”
The core mission for WRCYP is, according to Bonville, “making the impossible possible by expanding young minds.” Educational opportunities, field trips, and reading programs are just a few of the ways they make that happen.
The program challenges youth to envision futures dependent on one’s habits, not one’s environment. WRCYP is hosted at the West Side New Beginnings’ Community Center, which was formed in 1990 and incorporated two years later. Today, its walls house many pictures of notable Black leaders and figures, including Vice President Kamala Harris, Oprah Winfrey, the cast of Hidden Figures, Bryan Stevenson, and Delaware Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester, for whom Bonville served as community outreach coordinator for several years.
When discussing WRCYP’s story, Bonville underscores that “we focus on the successes, not the struggle.” Those alumni successes include: winning WBOC-TV’s Jefferson Award (twice!), getting featured in magazines like Delaware Beach Life and The Metropolitan, and graduating from many universities across the country. Whatever a child’s path may be, WRCYP encourages them to be the best they can while forging it.
As much as Bonville enjoys rattling off these alumni achievements, they don’t trump the satisfaction of the program’s work now. “The thrill is the same. The desire to help these children will never leave me.”
In other words, “the children are our present and our future. We have to start with them now,” said Bonville. That start for WRCYP often comes at the hands of partnerships with other local community groups. In the past, CAMP Rehoboth’s volunteers have partnered with the program for activities like etiquette dinners. “They taught the kids things like how to fold napkins.… That has left an indelible mark on our program,” said Bonville. In another partnership, the program connected with Rehoboth Beach Library for a summer reading challenge; the students read 2,084 books.
Bonville serves as the President of West Side New Beginnings, Inc., and stays involved in various other community efforts. Recently, he was elected to the board of directors for the Cape Henlopen Educational Foundation, which seeks funding and resources for the Cape Henlopen School District.
In honor of Black History Month, WRCYP will host Twin Poets for a special event. Hailing from Wilmington, Nnamdi Chukwuocha and Albert Mills channel healing through their work; Chukwuocha also serves on Delaware’s General Assembly. Check out West Side New Beginning’s Facebook page for more details on the date and time. This event is open to the public.
Over 20 years strong, Diaz is just as motivated as ever in his work. The program dares its youth to dream; as Bonville says, “The sky is the limit, and once you reach the sky, it’s higher than that.” ▼
AARP Tax Preparation at CAMP Rehoboth
Thursdays until April 6,
10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.
CAMP Rehoboth is once again partnering with AARP for FREE tax assistance. This program began February 9 and concludes on April 6. (On April 6, AARP will only be returning completed tax returns—no new intake.)
Taxpayers can schedule an appointment to meet with an AARP volunteer for a brief interview while dropping off a completed questionnaire and their tax documents. The volunteer will give the taxpayer a time to return the following week to review and sign the completed return and take all of their documents with them.
To schedule a time, please call CAMP Rehoboth at 302.227.5620 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Mark Those Calendars •
Hooray for Hollywood!
CAMP Rehoboth Chorus
CAMP Rehoboth Theater Co.
CAMP Rehoboth Bus Trip
Philadelphia Flower Show
Out for the Summer
CAMP Rehoboth Chorus
Stay tuned for more dates!
Dine-and-Donate at Nicola Pizza
On March 6, from 4:00-8:00 p.m., join CAMP Rehoboth at Nicola Pizza for their “Dine-and-Donate” event. Haven’t yet visited Nicola’s Lewes location? Now’s the chance! During this time, 20 percent of sales will be donated to CAMP Rehoboth. Grab a slice, invite some friends, and dine for a cause! ▼
Ignite the Light: Celebrating the Artists
On Saturday, January 21, the CAMP Rehoboth Gallery hosted a reception for artists exhibiting in its show Ignite the Light. Coinciding with Black History Month, this exhibit kicked off right after Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and features 13 artists of color who work in a variety of mediums, including acrylic and oil paint, digital art, photography, and fabric arts. Special thanks to Lori Crawford, the juror of this show. Crawford is an Associate Professor of Art at Delaware State University; she was awarded a Delaware Division of the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship in 2008 and has exhibited at many museums and galleries.
In a first for the CAMP Rehoboth Gallery, awards were presented for various works, including: Best in Show, First Place, Second Place, and Honorable Mentions. The Best in Show award went to Taylor Gordon for Dear Tay, an oil on canvas. ▼
Winterfly to Benefit CAMP Rehoboth
The annual Winterfly fundraiser is back, this year at The Top of the Pines, on February 24. The event celebrates the community of Firefly Music Festival fans and serves as an off-season meet-up for the festival-goers. The night includes drag entertainment and a raffle that will benefit CAMP Rehoboth. Thank you, Winterfly! ▼
Rehoboth Beach’s MEI Score Stagnant
The end of 2022 saw the Human Rights Campaign once again release its Municipal Equality Index (MEI), which scores cities and municipalities across the United States on how inclusive they are of the LGBTQ+ community. For another year, Rehoboth Beach stayed stagnant at 58, below the national average of 67. Among Delaware’s eight scored cities, only Wilmington (88) and Milford (72) scored above the national average.
The MEI survey, which has now run for 11 years, is based on the following five criteria: non-discrimination laws, municipality as an employer, municipal services, law enforcement, and leadership on LGBTQ+ equality. Last year, in an interview with Letters, RB Commissioner Edward Chrzanowski said “the score is not reflective of our community at all.” Often, the work to address progress is incremental, and CAMP Rehoboth invites further collaboration with the City on raising this score. ▼
Dragging Up Winter…For a Cause!
The cold of the winter season can often be a drag, so the CAMP Rehoboth community has been dragging it up—for a cause! Thanks to The Top of The Pines, several drag performers have given electric performances to sold-out crowds and donated 100 percent of their tips to CAMP Rehoboth. For the most part, these outings marked each performer’s first time in drag.
On December 10, past Board President Chris Beagle and current Board President Wes Combs performed in drag under the monikers Chrissy Mingle and Ivanna Shoppe, respectively. In the holiday spirit, the duo celebrated with “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”
On Friday, January 20, OutLoud Sports chose CAMP Rehoboth as its beneficiary and featured 11 performers from its athletic leagues, giving show-stopping numbers to an enthusiastic audience.
Finally, on Saturday, January 21, Board Secretary Mike DeFlavia transformed into Penny Pasta, performing numbers like a mix between Jennifer Holliday’s “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” and Miley Cyrus’s “Party In the USA.”
In total, the shows raised over $3,300 for CAMP Rehoboth’s essential programming and services to the community. ▼
Pictured: Chrissy Mingle and Ivanna Shoppe