The JCC’s Bulletin dates back to the 1930s, when it was a premier source of news for the local Jewish community. We are proud to continue this tradition of keeping our JCC community informed via our virtual Bulletin.
The bulletin circa 1974
Here at the JCC, we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to create great summer camp memories. To us, camp is an essential part of the childhood experience, and one that everyone should feel included in, regardless of ability. Our Marvin’s Camp for Children with Special Needs is committed to providing an educational, creative, social, and safe environment for kids and teens with special needs.
We offer three Marvin’s divisions: Marvin’s Juniors, for kids entering grades K-8, Marvin’s Camp, for grades 9 and up, and Marvin’s On the Road Everyday (M.O.R.E.), for kids ages 15-21. All Marvin’s programs are led by highly experienced staff with degrees in special education, social work, and school psychology. We maintain low staff-to-camper ratios to ensure excellent care and attention for each child.
Children in Marvin’s Juniors and Marvin’s Camp participate in a wide array of fun and enriching activities, including swimming, sports, music, and arts and crafts. They also go on trips, such as going to the movies, bowling, and visiting the zoo!
M.O.R.E Camp provides campers with an opportunity to engage in and explore their community. Each day of camp, they will visit fun destinations like amusement and water parks, sporting events, arcades, and more!
We have so much fun in store for our marvelous Marvin’s campers this summer. Learn more about Marvin’s Camp for Children with Special Needs here.
On Sunday, February 23, we hosted our second annual #RememberMe Brunch, which benefited the JCC’s Family Solutions to Memory Loss—a catalog of programs for seniors suffering from memory loss and their caregivers.
Our Family Solutions to Memory Loss programs include discussion groups, memory stimulation activities, and art therapy classes for adults with recently-diagnosed to mid-stage Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Recognizing the emotional and physical toll that caring for a loved one with memory loss can entail, the JCC also offers programs for caregivers, including support groups, workshops on self-care, and assistance with coordinating care.
Program Ambassador Arnold Roth spoke movingly about what these programs have meant to his family. His beloved wife, Carol, participated in therapy activities with the JCC’s My Place memory center for over 7 years. Arnold credits this program with giving his wife something to look forward to and smile about even as her health declined, stating, “For me, it was one of the happiest periods in our lives. Carol thrived at the JCC.” The Caregiver Support Center also provided Arnold the respite he needed to care for himself while serving as his wife’s primary caregiver.
While it was a somber afternoon, it was also an inspiring one as we honored four individuals who have dedicated themselves to serving those impacted by memory loss with compassion and dignity. This year, we were proud to honor Cherine Hanna, Adele McMahon, LCSW-R, Jackie Reiter, LMSW, and Rabbi Stephen Stern, PhD.
As Rabbi Stern so aptly put it in his speech that afternoon, our loved ones with memory loss are worth remembering. We are grateful to all who help us to remember our seniors with memory loss and their caregivers through their generous support of our programs.
Check out some more photos from the event below.
This year, we’re celebrating the Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC of Staten Island’s 90th birthday. As the JCC turns 90, we reflect back on the milestones the organization has achieved over the years.
February is Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month, a worldwide effort to raise awareness and advocate for people with disabilities. At the JCC, we believe that providing services to people with disabilities is a core component to everything we do, and we have a long history of creating programs to support their needs.
We continued to expand our offerings for people with disabilities to help during at all stages of life. In 1989, under the direction of Early Childhood Education Director Beth Howard, the JCC developed the First Foot Forward Program, an educational program for young children with speech delays, sensory needs, and motor issues. The program started out small and continued to grow under the guidance of Jayne Smith, our Chief Program Director for Early Childhood and Disability Services. The current program, which is offered at three sites, includes individualized instruction with different types of therapy for children’s various needs.
In the summers, children of all abilities are able to create wonderful memories and make new friends at summer camp. Marvin’s Camp for Children with Special Needs, named in memory of Marvin Weissglass, is a unique recreational summer program customized for children with disabilities. Campers are able to enjoy the great outdoors, go on trips, and socialize in a safe and inclusive environment.
We engage our participants in opportunities to be healthy, social, and active members of the community with a maximum degree of independence.
Watch this video from UJA Federation of New York of our Day Hab participants enjoying their music class.
Acceptance and inclusion are key components to all of our programming at the JCC. We offer inclusion opportunities in many of our traditional programs, including sports, camp, and after school programs, so that children and young adults with disabilities are able to take part in a wide array of activities.
In every one of our sites, we emphasize the importance of creating a space where everyone feels welcome. The JCC is proud to be a place where people of all abilities can feel safe and included, and most importantly, where they can learn and have fun.
We are so proud to congratulate our own Frada Steinhaus on receiving two community awards for her work with the JCC’s Kosher Food Pantry. Frada was recently honored at the 9th Annual Anti-Hunger Legislative Breakfast. She will also be honored at the UJA Staten Island Community Breakfast later this year.
Frada has been part of the JCC family for over 25 years, having spent 20 of them as a pre-K teacher in our Early Childhood Education department. Five years ago, after her retirement, Frada decided to use her time to give back to the community by volunteering at the food pantry. As a volunteer, she schedules appointments for individuals in need, stocks the shelves, checks expiration dates, and ensures that the entire operation runs smoothly. Most important of all, she serves each and every client with the utmost respect.
Thank you, Frada, for all you do for our community and for inspiring us all to serve others with love and care!
This firsthand account was written by Nicholas Kapsalis, a Sunrise Day Camp counselor and JCC intern, seen second from the right in this photo.
I became involved with Sunrise Day Camp because both of my grandfathers passed away from cancer, one only a few months prior to me applying. As soon as I saw the opportunity, I knew it was something that I wanted to do and put my full effort in because that is what my grandfather would do. While my grandfather went through terrible treatment to get better, there were two things that he loved, and we bonded over that made him smile: cards and fishing. That smile is something I wanted the kids at Sunrise to experience and is the smile I see those kids experience everyday through the hard work and dedication of our staff. This led me to being further involved with the organization, and eventually led to my birthday fundraiser.
Last year in March, I decided to run a Facebook fundraiser and set the goal of raising $1,000 over a 3-month period and giving more exposure to Sunrise Day Camp Staten Island. But I knew I didn’t want to just leave it there and hope for people to donate. I wanted to take it a step further. I chose to dye my hair and leave it up to the donors to decide the color that I would dye it. The plan was to have everyone that donated get one vote towards four color options: red, blue, purple, and green, but I quickly realized that this would be a little lopsided for the person that donated more money in comparison to the person that donated a smaller amount. This led me to make every dollar worth one vote to make people want to donate more and not just one dollar for an equal vote as someone that donated one-hundred dollars.
On March 14th, my birthday, two weeks after the fundraiser began, we had hit my goal. To me, this was incredible, and I was ecstatic that it happened so quickly. Once I hit the goal, I announced that I would be dying my hair purple right before the camp season.
I encourage everybody to create a fundraiser like this for Sunrise Day Camp, and there are a few reasons as to why the fundraiser was as successful as it was. First, my friends and family are the reason that it was so successful. I give full credit to my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, cousins, and friends for not only donating, but sharing the fundraiser and getting people that I do not know to donate. Secondly, there is incentive for someone to donate as the money is going towards a cause mixed with the intent for me to do something beyond a normal fundraiser.
The people that see these fundraisers saw my passion for Sunrise through my short video and how much I was sharing this video and promoting the fundraiser. Also, the idea of giving people a choice as to what color is a major reason why people donated. People that donate feel incentivized when they spend their money and then get to make a decision on what you get to do. This really helps with people that only have a small amount of money to donate because there is a little more personal incentive for people to donate.
Here's the result everyone was waiting for!
Finally, I made sure to offer colors. While some people believe it is because I was willing to do those four colors, which is true, there is actually a different reason. I chose to do this because I wanted people to physically see the color, to visualize me with that color hair, and, most importantly, to have something to resonate with. If I said pick a color, it would leave people to think about a color they may want. But by having four of the most popular colors, it allows people that love that particular color to donate. I had a donor tell me that they love the cause, but the reason they donated was because they saw purple. One other donor told me that they donated twice as much as they planned because they wanted to see me with green hair.
This year, I have a different plan, that I will be announcing on March 14th, but I’m not the only one that can do this. Everybody can because Facebook allows you to easily create a fundraiser for Sunrise Day Camp Staten Island, and anybody can set a goal and raise money for our camp.
To start your own team or donate to Nick's team (Sunrise Staff) click here.
We’re always looking to add enriching new experiences to camp and this year, we’re excited to introduce our wonderful woodworking program! Campers in divisions Shalom and up will have the opportunity unleash their creativity and learn to build things by hand!
Why woodworking? We believe that this activity aligns with our camp mission to encourage kids to reach their full potential. As they work on their projects, campers will develop problem solving skills, patience, and a sense of responsibility. They will also hone their language processing, math, and social skills as they work in a positive collaborative environment.
We can’t wait to see what our campers will build this summer and, even more importantly, we can’t wait to see how much they’ll grow by learning a fun new hobby together!
Learn more about camp here!
When we think of summer camp, we tend to think about our experiences as younger children. However, at the JCC, we know that positive, safe summer camp experiences are just as important to older kids as they are to little ones. This is why we offer Camp Nesiyah, better known as Teen Travel, for kids entering 8th and 9th grade.
Recognizing that teens’ interests differ from our younger campers’, we tailor our Teen Travel program to include trips teens will enjoy most, while remaining true to the core principles of JCC Camp—friendship, discovery, and fun. Teen Travelers have the opportunity to adventure and try new things every day, while also building strong friendships with their fellow campers.
Each day of camp, Teen Travelers will visit favorite summer locations and discover new ones. Trips in the past have included water parks, amusement parks, Broadway shows, sporting events, museums, boardwalks, hands-on activities, rock climbing, laser tag, and much more! Campers will also enjoy overnight trips, including a 3 day trip to Busch Gardens and Water Country USA in Williamsburg, Virginia! As we gear up for Summer 2020, our camp staff is hard at work to plan even more awesome excursions for this year!
Does your teen want to spend their summer going on fun adventures with their friends? Be sure to sign up for Teen Travel camp at camp.sijcc.org!
Art @ the J: Victor Zucconi
Each month, our Murray Berman Art @ the J Gallery is proud to showcase the work of a local artist. The newest exhibition, which will open in March, features oil paintings of Staten Island scenes done by Victor Zucconi.
Zucconi’s love for art and color began when he received a set of colored pencils from his parents as a child. This gift sparked a lifelong study of art and a passion for another medium—oil paint. A Lifetime Member of the Art Students League, Zucconi began studying part-time at the league in 1968. After retiring from his position as a NYC Board of Education teacher in 1999, he transitioned to full-time study. Over the years, he received several merit scholarships to both the Art Students League and the National Academy School of Fine Arts in NYC.
Zucconi’s talent for capturing scenes both past and present in impressionistic oil paintings has been recognized and lauded at several local art shows. He has participated in juried shows, in which a panel of judges evaluates applicants’ work and chooses to display the best—at the Broome Street Gallery, the Salmagundi Club, the Staten Island Museum, and the Snug Harbor Art Lab. He also received an Honorable Mention for a portrait that appeared in a “Best of NY Artists” feature in 2006. The Staten Island Museum has commissioned and archived 35 prints of his oils of Staten Island scenes as well as an oil painting of the building which houses the museum.
Join us at an Artist’s Reception unveiling our new display of Victor Zucconi’s work on Thursday, March 19 from 6:30-8:30pm at the Murray Berman Art @ the J Gallery. The reception is free and open to the public. The exhibition will be on display through April, so if you’re in the Bernikow Building, stop by and take a look!
In September, we launched our reimagined after school program, Explorers: Kids Building Our World, which was designed to promote holistic development for children in our community. Every day after school gets out, kids come here to the J to participate in activities that stimulate their minds, bodies, and spirits.
When the kids arrive, they have a healthy snack before settling in to do their homework. DOE-certified teachers are on hand to ensure that everyone gets the academic support they may need. Next, the kids participate in scheduled activities based on their age group. With a wide variety of activities, there’s sure to be something enriching and enjoyable for every child!
Our program is centered on three core ideas: Expand Your Mind, Nourish the Body, and Mindfulness. To expand their minds, our Explorers take music lessons at the Dorothy Delson Kuhn Music Institute, play chess and other games, and take part in STEAM activities and arts and crafts. To nourish their bodies, they play sports and Gaga, do fitness activities like Kidzercise, Yoga, Zumba, and Jiu Jitsu, and participate in cooking projects that teach them to make healthy nutrition choices. The kids also practice mindfulness, a key part of mental and spiritual development, by participating in meditation circles and social-emotional learning activities, and by learning about Jewish values.
The Explorers program is a great opportunity for kids to spend a few hours working on homework, learning new things, and socializing with their friends. It’s also a great option for parents who work late. They can feel confident that their children are in an environment that is safe, nurturing, enriching, and, of course, fun!
To learn more or sign up for Explorers, contact Lisa Quinn at LQuinn@sijcc.com.
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1466 Manor Road
Staten Island, NY 10314
485 Victory Blvd
Staten Island, NY 10301
1297 Arthur Kill Road
Staten Island, NY 10312
BERMAN EARLY CHILDHOOD CENTER
2221 Richmond Ave.
Staten Island, NY 10314