Amber Rankine is a sexual assault client advocate with Aroostook Mental Health Services. She and Dawn Casella, sexual assault community educator, organize the mental health organization's virtual book club. Credit: Courtesy of Aroostook Mental Health Services

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — A victim rights expert, herself a survivor of addiction and abuse, wants to connect with Maine adults through a virtual book club.

Jennifer Storm of Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, is an international public speaker with more than 20 years of experience in nonprofit management and governmental relations. She has more than 23 years of active recovery.

After participating in the previous literary session offered by Aroostook Mental Health Services of Presque Isle, Storm reached out to the club organizers. When she offered to share her book “Blackout Girl: Tracing My Scars from Addiction and Assault,” they jumped at the chance. The third virtual book club will start Jan. 20.

Amber Rankine, sexual assault client advocate for AMHC’s Sexual Assault Services in Fort Kent, and sexual assault community educator Dawn Casella, based at the mental health organization’s Caribou office, are the club organizers.

“For her to be so willing to grace our team and grace those that we serve within our book clubs was nothing but an honor and we could not have even thought of saying no once the opportunity arose,” Rankine said.

Storm has been an advocate for victims in high-profile cases, where she has aided survivors of abuse by Jerry Sandusky, Bill Cosby and Catholic clergy. She served as the victims advocate for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania from 2013 to 2021.

“Jennifer is a very passionate and authentic individual. Her struggles and triumphs through survivorship and addiction are inspiring and eye opening,” Rankine said.

The virtual book club will be available to anyone over the age of 18 in Maine. There is no limit to the number of people who can join, but the book club can only provide 15 copies of the books. After those have been distributed, new members will have to purchase their own.

AMHC does require screening for the book club, which will be a short Zoom session where Rankine and Casella will meet participants.

Interested participants should email sas-info@ amhc.org for information.

David DiMinno

David grew up in New York, and moved to Maine to study political science at the University of Maine. In his spare time, he loves hiking, playing tennis and skiing.