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
Summer is always a magical time at the JCC, but this year, we are having even more fun. With over two thousand campers enrolled in all our programs, it is also a very busy time of year for us!
This year, we were able to do something special to over a dozen Ukrainian refugee families. For those in need, we were able to offer full scholarships to our day camp—which has allowed children who have been through extreme trauma to embrace the joys of childhood again. We are grateful to the Butler Foundation, A Chance In Life Foundation, and UJA-Federation of New York for allowing us to expand our camp scholarship program and support Ukrainian families in our community.
You may have heard the story of Maria, one of our Ukrainian campers. On her first day of camp she was extremely shy and spoke no English. Thankfully, we had Russian-speaking staff who were able to translate for her. Within a week, Maria was named “Friend of the Week” by her fellow campers—which was truly remarkable, but not out of the ordinary for our camp.
Photos courtesy of the Staten Island Advance
Last year, we saw a similar story play out when we offered scholarships to two foster children from Colombia. They had a blast at camp—making friends even though they did not speak English and were not familiar with American customs. It turns out that summer camp fun is the universal language! This story also has a happy ending, as we recently learned that the children were adopted by their host parent.
Last week, I visited one of our community-based camps at the Gerard Carter Center when we were visited by the Commissioner of the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD). Commissioner Howard and I were so excited to see the kids engaged in STEM activities, dance, and sports—and the commissioner even took part in a game and bowled a spare!
Camp at the Carter Center is one of many summer programs we have throughout the community, including our Cornerstones, Beacons, and Summer Rising sites. In addition to these, we are also running basketball, soccer, and aquatics camps at the Bernikow Building.
Our newest mini-camp is called Summer Strings @ the J, an intensive program for intermediate and advanced young musicians. Our faculty member, Yvette Washington-Wheatley, has a special connection to us, as she was a scholarship recipient at the JCC’s own music school many years ago. We are very happy to welcome her back and to see how much the children are enjoying the program!
As we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of our Dorothy Delson Kuhn Music Institute later this year, it is inspiring to see the tradition of excellence continuing on.
No matter which camp program, our children go home at the end of the day with smiles on their faces—and that’s what’s most important to us. It truly warms my heart and reminds me why we do what we do. We know these kids will always remember the wonderful summers they spent with us and the friends they made along the way. The JCC is proud to be a place where magic happens every day!
-Orit Lender, CEO
The Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC of Staten Island will host an exhibition of paintings by Ann Marie McDonnell. The works will be on display in the Murray Berman Art @ the J Gallery, located on the second floor of the Bernikow JCC at 1466 Manor Road, throughout August and September.
McDonnell is a sculptor, printmaker, and photographer. She has maintained her studio at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center where she has worked for over 25 years. Her artwork is often project-based as a response to an invitational exhibition, competition, or personal project.
The exhibition will include printmaking work such as solar prints and monotypes, along with pigment print photography. Among the works in the exhibition will be pieces from The Jazz Series as well as In the Garden. The still life photography combines her interest in abstract painting and photography. The colorful pigment prints are inspired by her garden and her interest in flowers.
McDonnell said, “I treat the flowers as abstract elements, but I also acknowledge the symbolism of flowers in art history as a symbol of the transience of life.”
Ann Marie’s work has been widely exhibited in NYC as she has been an active member of the Staten Island arts community. Anne Marie is known for her public art bronze sculpture in Clove Lakes Park, The Bird Named Goldilocks, which won the 1994 Public Art Fund.
Her work is currently on view at the Historic Richmond Town Museum in her solo exhibition, Art Inspired by the Collection, which will be on view until November of 2022. She is also a participating artist in the exhibition, Art on the Terrace, in October of 2022.
Orit Lender, CEO of the JCC, said, “It is wonderful to be able to feature different local artists like Ann Marie throughout the year. I encourage everyone in our community to come visit the Murray Berman Art @ the J Gallery over the next few months to see the latest exhibit.”
The exhibition is free and open to the public from August 1st through September 30th. For more information about the Murray Berman Art @ the J Gallery, please contact Ela Seeley at ESeeley@SIJCC.com.
We are excited to announce that we will be opening two new preschool classrooms for children with special needs this fall. The agency will now be able to serve 16 additional children at our South Shore/Avis location (1297 Arthur Kill Road).
The classrooms are part of our First Foot Forward Program, which is dedicated to assisting children 2.5 to 5 years old with developmental needs. The individualized curriculum allows children to reach their full potential in a warm, nurturing environment. New York City and State fund First Foot Forward programming.
First Foot Forward specializes in helping children with speech/language delays, socialization concerns, developmental delays, poor motor skills, sensory needs, and Autism Spectrum Disorder. The JCC has been offering these services to Staten Island families for over 30 years.
“We are so proud to be able to open these new classrooms,” noted Orit Lender, JCC CEO. “We saw the need for additional services and expanded to be able to offer First Foot Forward to even more families on the South Shore. I can’t wait to meet all our new students and their families this September!”
To receive services, children need to be evaluated at an approved evaluation site. Program eligibility is recommended by the Department of Education’s Committee on Preschool Special Education and is based upon the individual needs of the child.
Children of all faiths and nationalities are welcome. All services (evaluations, transportation, tuition) are at no direct cost to parents.
In addition to First Foot Forward, the JCC partners with the NYC Department of Education to offer free 3-K and Pre-K For All. 3-K & Pre-K For All are offered at four JCC locations, with flexible scheduling and small class sizes. Extended day options for working families are available 7am-6pm.
To learn more, click here.
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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