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
Earlier this week, we learned the heartbreaking news that our dear friend Lucille Chazanoff had passed away. Lucille was a force for good in our community, especially at our JCC. Her commitment to philanthropy and activism was legendary. She personified the JCC’s mission of giving back to our community.
Lucille was a champion of all children, especially those with cancer and disabilities. Her involvement with our events, including our Golf & Tennis Classic—which raises money for camp and nursery school scholarships, helped provide services to many children and families in need. Through her family’s foundation, the Carmine & Robert DeSantis Charitable Foundation, she was able to help fund our programs for children with special needs.
Perhaps her biggest influence on our JCC was as a supporter of Sunrise Day Camp. Lucille was involved with Sunrise from its inception. Her commitment helped us establish the only free day camp for children with cancer and their siblings in New York City.
When Lucille and her husband Jay were honored with the Allan Weissglass Distinguished Leadership Award in 2017, they asked to put the funds raised at the gala into a special fund for Sunrise. Following the incredibly successful gala, the camp was named for Lucille and Jay. The Chazanoffs continued to be huge supporters of Sunrise since then—attending events that benefitted the camp and spearheading efforts to raise the funds to make sure that all children could attend for free. Without their commitment to Sunrise, we would not be able to serve 150 children every summer.
Lucille’s positive impact will continue to be felt in years to come at our JCC and across Staten Island. We see her legacy in the children who attend Lucille & Jay Chazanoff Sunrise Day Camp-Staten Island and many of our other programs. It’s visible in other organizations she supported throughout the borough, including the College of Staten Island, Richmond University Medical Center, Meals on
Wheels, Northfield Bank Foundation, and the Visiting Nurse Association. We are incredibly grateful and proud of all she was able to accomplish.
On behalf of our Board and Staff, we join with the Staten Island community in mourning her loss and send our condolences to Jay and the Chazanoff and DeSantis families.
Over the past few months, you may have noticed stories of people we’ve been able to help in our email blasts and social media. These stories have been just a snapshot of the work we’ve been doing since COVID-19 hit. The JCC was forced to adapt to the new normal incredibly quickly—offering new services remotely to meet the needs we saw in our community. To help those impacted by the virus and its economic effects, we launched COVID-19 Connect to Recovery, a full array of free services to assist those in need.
In the first few months following the crisis, requests for our food pantry more than doubled. We’ve helped hundreds of people find health insurance and other benefits after they lost their jobs. We moved educational classes online to continue to serve children and adults. Seniors, including Holocaust survivors, reached out to us—not just for necessities, but also for the chance to connect to other people and help break their social isolation. We created new programs to address the mental health issues that arose from the pandemic.
While many businesses have begun to reopen, we know that the issues this crisis created will not go away overnight, and there are so many people in our borough who still need our help. At the JCC, we are constantly working on new programs to serve the new and growing needs we see in our community. Our staff has worked incredibly hard to get these programs up and running, and I am so proud of their dedication to our agency’s mission.
Luckily, we are not alone in this effort. The outpouring of generosity we’ve seen over the past few months has been incredible, and we are so grateful to all of our donors and funders who helped us keep our programs running through these turbulent times.
We know this will be a long road, so I hope you will consider donating to our Families in Need campaign, which helps us continue to run these essential programs in our community. With your support, we can continue to provide these life changing services to those hit hardest by the pandemic and help get Staten Islanders on the road to recovery.
This 4th of July feels a little different—like most holidays over the past couple months have felt. But it’s important to remember that, despite changed plans or cancelled parties, we can always hold on to our sense of community.
Here at the JCC, that’s what has kept us going over the past few months. While times have been tough, we’ve been able to survive because of our community. We have relied on the generosity of donors and funders to keep going. Because of this generosity, we’ve been able to continuously serve the people hit hardest by the crisis. Even though the doors to our buildings closed to the public, we never stopped working behind the scenes to help those who needed us most.
Community has always been a huge part of who we are as an agency. By working with other groups, we’ve been able to build stronger partnerships and strengthen our impact in our community. And while our staff members have certainly been tested by this pandemic, they have also grown too, rising to the challenge and showing what an extraordinary group of people they are. Having to adapt to remote work hasn’t always been easy, but I’ve seen so much creativity from our staff as they find innovative ways to connect with people virtually.
We hope to continue to take what we’ve learned and use it to continue to reach even more people after the crisis passes. It has been amazing to see the positive impact we have made in people’s lives, and I’m proud and excited to be taking the lead of an organization doing such important work during this critical time.
And now, as things start to reopen, we finally get to have some fun. After months of preparing, we are incredibly excited to open camp. While our camps may look a little bit different than in previous summers, we are proud to continue the nearly 90-year tradition of camping at the JCC. Even though we’ve had to make changes to ensure safety, including turning camp virtual for our Sunrise Day Campers, camp is always there to bring our children joy, friendship, and happiness.
As we look to the future, I’m looking forward to seeing what we can all do together and what the next chapter brings. Thank you all for your continued support of our work here at the JCC. We couldn’t do it without you.
Wishing you a safe and happy holiday,
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
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
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Staten Island, NY 10314