RAIN Oklahoma is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to compassionately serve individuals and communities impacted by HIV/AIDS and other chronic diseases through education, volunteerism and coordinated access to healthcare and support services.
RAIN Oklahoma is a 501 (c)(3) non profit organization providing HIV education, testing, housing assistance for individuals with HIV/AIDS, ADvantage Medicaid case management and Ryan White case management services throughout Central and Western Oklahoma.
In the late 1980’s in New Orleans, Louisiana, a woman named Margaret Austin was completing Clinical pastoral Education in a local hospital. She became aware of some rooms where no one visited and doors stayed closed. Discovering that the patients behind those closed doors had AIDS, Margaret asked who was attending to their pastoral needs and found, in many cases, no one.
She became that someone while continuing to struggle in her heart with the lack of caring and response, which so often characterized faith communities in regard to AIDS. From her struggle came a dream, the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network (RAIN). Through a seed grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation the dream came true.
Meanwhile, in Oklahoma, a woman by the name of Mary Catherine Smothermon was coming to grips with the AIDS-related illness of her son. Following his death, she felt an urgent call to be involved in care for those with HIV/AIDS, which would not go away. She soon stepped out in faith, quit her job, and began preparation for whatever her next “assignment” would be.
Several months passed in which she studied, grieved, prayed, gained certification as an AIDS Educator/Counselor and did volunteer work for the AIDS Support Program. Early in 1990, when the RAIN program was ready to be activated in Oklahoma, the two women met. The dream of one became the answer to the call of the other and RAIN Oklahoma became a reality.
The program was simple. Through training and education, we helped to dispel the fear surrounding HIV/AIDS and provide trained, caring people to help with practical support functions that are vital to the life of a person living with HIV/AIDS. Those functions may include preparing meals, running errands, cleaning the house, mowing the lawn, giving rides to doctor’s appointments, taking the dog to the vet and providing a shoulder to lean on.
A RAIN Team often became extended family for a person living with HIV/AIDS, offering the emotional support so important to those who suffer with the disease.
In 2005, RAIN merged with CarePoint, Inc., an organization which provided free HIV testing, Ryan White Services, housing, and education. Changing the name to Regional AIDS Intercommunity Network, the combined organizations could better serve HIV/AIDS clients. With new medications on the market, client’s needs can be better served through professional case management which RAIN provides through Ryan White funding and the Medicaid program ADvantage.
Today, RAIN serves over 1,000 clients through our Ryan White, ADvantage, and HOPWA (Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS) services. Our Outreach and Education programs reach approximately 7,200 people throughout the 405 and 580 area codes. Our message is that HIV is 100% preventable.