Jewish Council for Youth Services


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2007 Annual Report

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Table of Contents Planting the Seeds of a Century………………………… 2 Blossoming with Impact……………………………………… 6 Budding Initiatives and Thriving Programs……………… 11 Celebrations by the Bunch…………………………19… 19 How Our Garden Grows……………………………………… 22 The Roots That Make Us Stronger………………… 24 The Stems That Support Us………………………………… 28


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Planting the Seeds of a Century


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In the spring of 1900, Associated Jewish Charities of Chicago (AJCC) began offering emergency relief, social welfare, vocational programs, and medical programs for Jewish immigrants, orphans, and the needy. Even with this effort, poverty remained prevalent, and too many families were underserved – the children of Jewish immigrants desperately needed support. A group of young Chicago men formed a committee in 1906 to address this gap and also cultivate their leadership skills. Specifically, the committee worked to secure financial support for the various Jewish charities and philanthropies unaffiliated with the AJCC. History of JCYS As JCYS begins its Centennial year, we celebrate the agency's profound accomplishments, made possible through the innovation, care, and commitment of our dedicated supporters, volunteers, and professionals. The agency now celebrates nearly a century of tradition, leadership, and growth in the greater Chicago community. JCYS remains independent (not affiliated with the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago) and boasts family centers, day and overnight camps, programming for at-risk youth, and programming for individuals with developmental disabilities, all of which help children and families develop their full potential socially, physically, emotionally, and intellectually. Today, JCYS programs maintain this same focus: serving children from the Jewish community and beyond. The agency continues to respond to shifting needs and demographics in order to best meet the needs of its constituency. There have been name changes, agency reorganizations, and consolidations but ever constant is JCYS' commitment and dedication to those we serve. JCYS is a place where people grow and learn together in a warm, supportive, and fun Jewish environment. JCYS is a place where people grow and learn together in a warm, supportive, and fun Jewish environment. Since its official inception November 7, 1907 as Young Men's Associated Jewish Charities (YMAJC) – an independent organization, known today as Jewish Council for Youth Services – the agency has played an important role in the development of tomorrow's leaders. By 1914, these energetic young leaders had further defined their direction: to serve the unmet needs of Chicago's Jewish children through programs emphasizing learning, recreation, and an appreciation for Jewish values and culture. 3


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It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as JCYS' President in our 99th year, and it is especially meaningful for me to be passing the gavel to my "designate classmate" and close friend, Steven Glick. We are poised to accomplish great things in the years ahead thanks to the devoted leaders who comprise our Board of Directors. Lastly, I would like to thank my wife Alli and two future JCYS leaders, our daughters Maysun and Ruby, for their ongoing support and encouragement. Sharing this experience with my family has truly been one of the highlights of my year. New programs and agency enhancements also took shape this year. We introduced JCYS Big City Day Camp, offering urban summer adventures for children in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood. We secured funding for several new capital projects currently underway – including a new recreation center for our campers with developmental disabilities at JCYS Camp Red Leaf and significant facility improvements – including a new parking lot – at the JCYS George W. Lutz Family Center. And, to better convey these – and the many other initiatives and programs – to our consumers, friends and supporters, we launched a new web site ( Looking back on our year, there are many great accomplishments to note and countless people to recognize. Through our Centennial initiatives, Alumni have “come home” – engaging in leadership roles and sharing their experiences with our Board of Directors. Our Staff has assumed responsibilities above and beyond their already demanding roles. And, our Board of Directors proudly boasts 100% participation in the JCYS Second Century Capital Campaign. This momentum illustrates just how much we have all been touched by JCYS' mission, programs and history. Dear Friends: Warmest Regards, Allen L. Rogoway President, JCYS Board of Directors 4


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A 100th anniversary is special – especially so for an organization that remains independent and devoted to its mission. We hope you share our excitement for the events and projects before us. We look forward, with much anticipation, to a spectacular year. Sincerely, On May 3, 2008, the agency will formally celebrate our Centennial at our Annual Gala, which will honor the Lutz family for their wonderful contributions to the agency over the years. Already in production is a “JCYS/Young Men's Memory Book,” chronicling the many stories that are a testament to our century of service. This book will debut at our Gala celebration. This coming year, we will focus on securing the remaining funds needed for the JCYS Second Century Capital Campaign's two marquis projects: the new JCYS Lillian Lutz Lakeview Family Center, and the renovation of the JCYS Max Davidson Tennis & Swim Center, which is home to our North Shore Day Camps. We will also be breaking ground on the new JCYS Sacks Recreation Center at JCYS Camp Red Leaf. This long-awaited – and much needed – facility will provide year-round indoor recreational space for individuals with special needs, as well as a climate-controlled dining area. Soon – as part of the JCYS Second Century Capital Campaign – the much anticipated Pollack Parkway, a new safe, secure, and beautiful entrance to the JCYS George W. Lutz Family Center in Highland Park, will be dedicated. On this special day, we will remember beloved teacher Lisa Baladad, as a garden is created in her memory. The 100th year of JCYS/Young Men's operations represents decades of dreams come true, as well as new dreams to soon be realized. With the agency's actual 100th birthday taking place on November 7, 2007, there will be celebrations of accomplishments throughout this year, as well as the exciting launch of new endeavors to solidify our future. Dear Friends: Martin Oliff, Ph.D. Executive Director 5


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Blossoming with Impact


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JCYS Camp Red Leaf: One Family’s Story JCYS Camp Red Leaf (CRL) is one of only two American Camp Association (ACA) accredited camps serving children with special needs in metropolitan Chicago. Experienced staff members care for respite campers in CRL's beautiful camp setting, alleviating the stigma of institutionalized respite care. The program provides campers with an enriching, vacation-like experience, while giving their parents/primary caregivers a vitally needed rest to regain the energy that caring for a child with special needs demands. It was more than 13 years ago when Marsha Raanan, along with sons Ben and Adam, first approached the wooded driveway leading up to JCYS Camp Red Leaf. Adam, who was recently diagnosed with autism, was just three years old. Overwhelmed and exhausted, Marsha equates that first visit to JCYS Camp Red Leaf as being thrown a lifeline. Living with profound autism, Adam's biggest challenges are communication and focus, which makes crowds, noise, and language comprehension difficult. His inability to understand what people want from him often causes a great deal of anxiety. “I had a son who was so developmentally disabled, so compromised in terms of what he could do… We weren't able to access normal day care,” Marsha shares. “My son was just all over the place and relatives were frightened of it. My marriage had fallen apart. Our world had become very small… and that terrified me.” Marsha has witnessed the special efforts made to ensure camp's surroundings are comfortable and soothing for campers. “Staff finds incredible ways to make Adam calm and connected and to help him communicate,” Marsha recalls. “One time, they Ever since their first CRL experience, the Raanans have planned their year around Adam's visits to JCYS Camp Red Leaf. During his weeklong visits, Adam has his own devoted counselor – through camp's “One-on-One Week” – who helps him adapt and navigate the logistics of camp. “JCYS is always looking for new ways to help us.They never stop. I know that they want to find a way to have Adam bridge to the adult world. And I know that they'll help me.” “Adam was screaming when we first arrived and I thought the staff would tell us this isn't going to work out. But instead, we were surrounded by people who reached out to us. My son's horrible tics, the way he zoomed all over the place… it didn't matter. They just brought us into the Shabbat dinner – something we hadn't been able to do at home because Adam could be dangerous around candles. Suddenly, there was a sense that we could exist as a family.” 7


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Marsha called camp, fearful that Adam would no longer have his beloved summer experience at JCYS Camp Red Leaf. “Adam had just turned 17 and I thought, 'My God, how am I going to keep his world from shrinking? He is going to turn 18, 19, 20, 21 and everything is going to disappear. He needs one-on-one help to do almost anything.'” This year, Marsha panicked when she went to enroll Adam for summer camp. The registration form noted that children's summer camp One-on-One Week serves only those up to age 17. “There isn't a part of this camp that Adam isn't able to access. They know how to help him do it; they know how to help kids with physical challenges do it. It's made accessible to everybody here and it's really a wonderful thing.” Now 17 years old, Adam has never missed a summer at JCYS Camp Red Leaf. Like all CRL campers, Adam enjoys the serenity – and fun! – of a traditional camp. Camp's grounds boast a lake, swimming pool, an arts and crafts center, sports fields, tennis courts, nature trails, and the JCYS Glickman High Sierra Adventure Center, which features a high and low ropes course. Campers stay in a residential lodge, specifically designed for individuals with special needs. “Those challenges are difficult – and there are a lot of places that just say they can't handle it – but, not at JCYS Camp Red Leaf.” took him outside and he flew a kite. Holding that kite in his little fist – watching that kite up in the sky… it grounded him. He was connected. And gradually, his screaming stopped, and they could bring him back into the group of children.” “The first thing they said to me was 'Oh, we're flexible. We are not going to let that happen.'” “JCYS is always looking for new ways to help us. They never stop. I know that they want to find a way to have Adam bridge to the adult world. And I know that they'll help me.” Pictures of Adam Raanan enjoying summer at JCYS Camp Red Leaf. 8


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As an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher at Sullivan High School in Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood, Jane* faced a daunting task – engaging her students. JCYS Adventure Education: A Story of Impact Always striving to captivate her classroom, she grew intrigued by JCYS Adventure Education (AE). At first, she did not pay much attention to hallway chatter about the program. But soon, she was drawn to the enthusiastic descriptions of the AE program – and also by the smiles that accompanied each story. Jane's students' first AE session did not go exactly as she imagined. The AE facilitator asked the students to take part in games designed to develop team building skills. Immediately, several students resisted. “Games! This is silly!” exclaimed one girl who had moved to the U.S. from a small village in Africa. “These games don't make sense – they're a waste of time!” Jane decided then and there – it was time to enroll her class in the program. Each semester, the AE program culminates with a two-day, one-night experience at the JCYS Glickman High Sierra Adventure Center – a-state-of-the-art “team challenge course”– on the grounds of JCYS Camp Henry Horner. The overnight is elective for students, and due to cultural differences and academic factors, typically only half of AE students are able to participate. A remarkable 88% of Jane's *The teacher's name was changed to respect her privacy and that of her students. The next several sessions gained momentum. Through a variety of games and activities, the students strengthened their leadership and communication skills. As the students became more involved in the AE program, several individuals who were once quiet and reserved became outspoken, and took on leadership roles within the classroom. “The teaching environment changed as a result of the JCYS Adventure Education program.The students now realize they have the power to complete assignments by coming up with their own ideas, rather than waiting for the teacher to give them directions.” Still, Jane had faith that her students would respond with the zeal she had heard from former participants. In their next session, the facilitator encouraged the reluctant students to take part in more team building exercises. During these activities, the students found themselves in conflict. When the AE facilitator explained how conflict can be managed in a positive and constructive manner, Jane's students persevered, resolving their conflicts and, more importantly, learning a better way to communicate with one another. 9


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Shortly after the program ended, Lys Ashe, Director of the JCYS Adventure Education program, received an email from Jane with exciting news: the students had come together and decided to honor the program by wearing their AE t-shirts to school. She went on to say, “The teaching environment changed as a result of the JCYS Adventure Education program because the students now realize they have the power to complete assignments by coming up with their own ideas, rather than waiting for the teacher to give them directions.” In a nutshell – that is what the program is all about. At the overnight, students and staff members joined together to reflect upon their AE experience. Jane's students described the friendships they made through the program and how these friendships created a support system that helped them succeed both academically and socially. One student, who initially resisted the program, noted the leadership skills he developed: “One day I want to become a doctor, and this program taught me how to communicate with people. I know that will be important when I have patients. Not only will I want to teach them how to maintain a healthy lifestyle, I will want to learn from them as well.” students attended the overnight – a powerful indicator of the program's positive impact on this group of students. Each year, the JCYS Adventure Education program works with more than 500 freshmen students at three Chicago public high schools: Mather High School, Sullivan High School, and Hyde Park Academy. The 10-week program is designed to help high school freshmen engage in their education – to stay in school and succeed both inside and outside the classroom. The program's structure incorporates the key concepts of experiential learning and outdoor education. 10


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Budding Initiatives and Thriving Programs


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JCYS Camp Henry Horner (CHH) is an oasis of fun for 460 children and youth each summer. A drive through Camp's wooded entry transports visitors to a technicolor world of grassy fields, flowering nature trails, and a sparkling sapphire lakefront. Nestled on Wooster Lake in Northern Illinois, JCYS Camp Henry Horner offers both a dynamic day camp and the ultimate overnight camp experience. Each day at CHH begins and ends at the Bond Amphitheatre, where day campers officially kick-off the fun with all-camp cheers and songs. JCYS Camp Henry Horner with adventure. A variety of in-camp activities – including the JCYS Glickman High Sierra Adventure Center's high and low ropes course, mountain bike expeditions through Camp's 180 acres, and cooking lessons – allowed each camper to explore personal interests and try new CHH Day Camp provides kindergarteners through eighth graders a day camp experience in an overnight camp setting. This summer, CHH Day Camp had its largest enrollment in nearly 15 years! Day campers spent their days cooling off on the new Glickman Waterworks, a floating adventure and recreation area on Wooster Lake, and learning valuable lessons in teamwork playing soccer, baseball, and beach volleyball. CHH Overnight Camp, which serves youth ranging from nine to fourteen years old, also packed the summer When CHH is not in session, Camp facilities and staff also welcome several groups, including Camp Dogwood – an overnight camp experience for people and their dogs, and Camp Kesem – a weeklong summer camp for children coping with a parent's illness or death from cancer. things. Off-site trips to Cedar Point Amusement Park and The Mall of America created thrilling adventures for everyone to remember. JCYS George W. Lutz Family Center For nearly three decades, the JCYS George W. Lutz Family Center in Highland Park has been a fixture on Chicago's North Shore. Generations of families choose “Lutz” for its wonderful balance of warmth, community, and innovation. Staff members – selected for their specialized skill in early childhood and elementary education, as well as their caring nature and passion for teaching – encourage active family participation, believing 12


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that parent-staff communication, whether formal or informal, is vital to a child's development. Thanks to funding from the Alvin H. Baum Family Foundation, the Center now has its own Child and Family Development Specialist who works with parents and staff members on developmental concerns. This year, nearly 500 children participated in the Center's early childhood, before-school, after-school, and “School's Out” programs. As the JCYS George W. Lutz Family Center programs continue to thrive, so does its capital campaign! This year brought about the funds to help Additionally, three new classrooms were fully renovated thanks to the generosity of the Don family (classroom 3), the Port and Washlow family (classroom 2), and Anne and Dan Shapiro and Leslie and Steve Shapiro (classroom 10). the Center realize a long-awaited dream – the renovation and expansion of its parking lot and driveway – made possible by Nancy and Daniel Pollack, the Marshall G. Lutz Foundation, and several community friends. As part of the project, the Center is also creating a memorial garden in memory of beloved teacher Lisa Baladad, who passed away in October 2006. This summer, The Max also hosted several community groups including: Right From the Start – which serves high-risk parents, primarily Latina mothers and their children ages 0-6 from the Highwood community, the Special Olympics, and JCYS Camp Red Leaf. In addition to welcoming JCYS North Shore Day Camp, NSDC Sports Camp, and Sunflower Camp activities during the summer months, The Max's programming includes swimming lessons, small and large group swim instruction, tennis and sports programs, Club Max – a post-camp supervised free swim, and Fit 4 Kids™ – an original fitness program that encourages children to be active and sets them up for a lifetime of enjoying physical activity. The JCYS Max Davidson Tennis & Swim Center (The Max) is the place for swimming, tennis, and outdoor recreational activities for kids and adults in Highland Park and its neighboring communities. This year, The Max served up another summer of fun! JCYS Max Davidson Tennis & Swim Center 13



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