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Published: June 6, 2024

Jesse in front of volcano

Kendal at Oberlin is home to more than 300 people in their 60s and well beyond. They come from near (Oberlin and Cleveland) and far (Hawaii, Canada and elsewhere). The residents share many common values, such as sustainability and lifelong learning, and many have ties to Oberlin College. But each resident has his or her own unique story.

Meet Jesse Carlock

June is Pride Month, which means as co-chair of Kendal’s LGBTQ+ & Allies Interest Group Jesse is on the go. But this month’s full calendar and rainbow Pride flags are also indicative of year-round activities at Kendal that advocate and support gay rights, which is why Jesse and her wife Kerry Glaus decided to move to Kendal three years ago.

  “This is the kind of place where we want to live,” says Jesse, pointing to such things as its marketing outreach, support from a couple hundred straight residents and staff, called Allies, and a well-established and engaged Interest Group.

Kendal’s latest achievement for LGBTQ+ residents is its designation as a “LGBTQ+ Long-Term Care Equality High Performer” in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and SAGE’s Long-Term Care Equality Index (LEI).

The LEI is the nation’s foremost benchmarking survey of residential long-term care and senior housing communities on policies and practices dedicated to the equitable treatment and inclusion of their LGBTQ+ residents, visitors and employees. Kendal is one of 200 senior housing communities in the U.S. with this certification.

“This certification is very important for Kendal and we need to ensure that it is ongoing,” Jesse says.

Coming up for LGBTQ+ & Allies Interest Group

In addition to its advocacy at Kendal, the group often partners with Oberlin College and LGBTQ+ Lorain County on local and state issues.

“It’s depressing to see what is happening in Columbus and across the country regarding trans people. Depending on how the presidential election goes, we (lesbian, gay, bisexual) could be next,” she says.

 For Pride Month, two community events are:

  1. Safe Zone Training, to be held at Kendal June 28 (9 a.m. to 12 p.m.) and hosted by LGBTQ+ Lorain County;
  2. Pride Festival, to be held at Tappan Square June 29 (12 p.m. to 4 p.m.), also hosted by LGBTQ+ Lorain County.

  And on June 30 Kendal’s Interest Group is saying “thank you” to its more than 200 residents and staff who are Allies.

 “When we ask for help, they are there,” Jesse says.

Another upcoming activity at Kendal includes a “book read,” its second community wide read featuring a relevant book. Last year’s book was “Becoming Nicole” by Amy Ellis Nutt and was facilitated by Jesse’s wife, Kerry; this year’s title has not been selected.

 In the fall, as elections gear up, the group plans to be a loud voice in support of federal, state, and local candidates who support gay rights. The group has also been mobilizing support to combat the current spate of anti-trans legislation that is cropping up across the our nation. Ohio is a high-risk zone for the passage of such bills for adult trans people and is one of the states where the worst laws have been passed regarding trans youth.

 On the lighter side

Jesse and Kerry are avid travelers, often to destinations that include adventure and scuba diving.

In recent months the couple has been to the Solomon Islands, a favorite spot for scuba diving, Borneo, where they got up-close with orangutans and proboscis monkeys, and Java, home to many volcanoes and waterfalls (photographed below). Two weeks on the Grecian Island of Crete was an R&R getaway.

This fall they plan to head to Asia, to visit either Cambodia or India.

orangutan mother and baby



Learn More About Kendal at Oberlin – A Vibrant Community for Older Adults

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Author Molly Kavanaugh 2020In the past, Molly Kavanaugh frequently wrote about Kendal at Oberlin for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, where she was a reporter for 16 years. Now we are happy to have her writing for the Kendal at Oberlin Community.

About Kendal at Oberlin: Kendal is a nonprofit life plan community serving older adults in northeast Ohio. Located about one mile from Oberlin College and Conservatory, and about a 40 minute drive from downtown Cleveland, Kendal offers a vibrant resident-led lifestyle with access to music, art and lifelong learning.