Jewish Council for Youth Services


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2006 Annual Report

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Mission Statement: Jewish Council for Youth Services (“JCYS”) is an independent, not-for-profit agency dedicated to serving both Chicagoland's Jewish and greater communities and developing leaders who continue its tradition of volunteer service. Embracing Jewish values and culture, JCYS provides educational and recreational programs that nurture individual growth and promote responsibility to others. Our New Logo To remain a provider of quality and innovative programs, we look at the JCYS mission. This year, we also looked at how the former logo represented the JCYS brand. This provoked JCYS to reflect on its identity. Who are we? What are we? What do we give, and how do we give it? The answers were simple. For nearly a century, JCYS has provided children with knowledge and fun through nurturing programs like camp, early childhood education, special needs recreation and respite, and outreach to youth-at-risk. We inspire character, in children, and in leaders. We bring joy into the lives of children and families throughout the Chicago area. We celebrate Jewish values and culture. And we do it with independence, creativity and warmth. With JCYS’ 100th anniversary on the horizon, we look toward a continued bright future while shining a light on our past. And so we realized… that after 99 years, the sun still beams proudly above our name, our centers, our programs, and our history. JCYS celebrates this legacy with the debut of its new logo. 2


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How Do You Measure a Year? In Friendship . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 In Leadership . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 In Growth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 In Celebration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 In Laughter and Smiles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 In Lives Touched . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 3


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Dear Friends, With pride, we present the Jewish Council for Youth Services (JCYS) 2006 Annual Report detailing our 98th year. We remain committed to serving Chicagoland children and their families as we have done, independently, since our inception in 1907. Our Board of Directors began the year with the second annual ”Advance,”a forward-thinking strategy session. We continued planning our Centennial, while launching a branding initiative, culminating in the introduction of our new logo (incorporated in this booklet), and soon, a new website to herald in the next century of service. We also focused on increasing the number of directors serving on our board,resulting in the elevation of talented new board members and an increase in the number of energetic designates to the Board of Directors - ensuring great agency leadership in the years to come. In Highland Park,the JCYS George W.Lutz Family Center has remodeled all but three classrooms,thanks to the generosity of our families,friends,and the Marshall G.Lutz Foundation’s matching gifts. JCYS North Shore Day Camp continued to thrive while NSDC Sports grew by leaps and bounds in its second year. The JCYS Northwest Family Center introduced toddler childcare and created Horner Grove Day Camp. The Center also hosted the first-of-its-kind integrated theater program in partnership with THE CENTER for Enriched Living and Lookingglass Theatre Company. Typically developing teens and those with developmental disabilities collaborated to write, produce and perform their own show. We created two new playgrounds at our JCYS Lakeview Family Center while discussing how best to continue serving Chicago families from our site at Grace and Sheffield. And, JCYS Adventure Education continues to serve at-risk teens at three Chicago public high schools, fueling their success in school and beyond. JCYS Camp Henry Horner created the Glickman Waterworks, a lakefront water-park which provides adventure and interaction for Horner and Red Leaf campers. This was made possible by the generosity of Edwin Glickman, who was a camper in the 1930s, a counselor in the 40s, a Board Member (and agency President) in the 60s, and a lifelong contributor to our agency. Financially, we are pleased to report a positive variance to operating budget of $94,000. Our ability to provide quality programs, as well as scholarships and support to families in need, is the result of fiscal conservativeness, increased program enrollment, and increased personal, corporate and foundation support. We are only able to accomplish these goals with the assistance of our greater JCYS family - the donors, volunteers, parents, partners and our tremendously dedicated corps of employees. Thank you all for your continued support and dedication, enabling us to serve our community well into the future. With personal gratitude, Jon A. Levey, President 4


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Dear Friends, Fall at JCYS is my favorite time of year. We celebrate the conclusion of one great year and, in turn, begin working towards the exciting goals ahead. We have wonderful opportunities in our upcoming 99th year to which we can look forward. President Jon Levey led this year's accomplishments that we will be challenged to top. But our dedicated and talented board and staff have the following initiatives on the horizon: • Continued development of new programs - what has made JCYS an innovator for nearly a century. Among JCYS' new offerings, the JCYS Northwest Family Center will be developing new sports programs, and the JCYS Lakeview Family Center will be creating a more traditional day camp while incorporating elements of adventure and performing arts. • Ongoing improvement of our sites. We hope to begin construction of a new parking lot and driveway at the JCYS George W. Lutz Family Center. The JCYS Northwest Family Center is putting up a new digital outdoor sign, which will promote the Center's programs. And, our dream of building a new dining hall at JCYS Camp Red Leaf is on its way to becoming a reality. • Ensuring our ability to provide quality programs and scholarship funding. This coming year, JCYS will begin an Annual Sponsorship Campaign, which provides greater recognition for donors at events and our Centers. We will also promote planned giving to our donors to further secure our future. • Celebrating our Centennial. Next spring, we will honor Past President and generous supporter Edwin Glickman. Throughout the summer of 2007 we will host special Centennial events for past board members and past program participants. • Launching a new JCYS logo, identifying the agency with all of our sites and major programs. The new logo is our first step in creating a better brand identity, critical to improving our position in the marketplace. • Introducing a new JCYS Camp Henry Horner marketing campaign that lets the community know what the agency has known all along. We are the premier choice in the Chicago area to experience "the way camp was always meant to be." As President, Allen Rogoway will be leading a Board of Directors that has new energy with the addition of numerous new board members and designates. Next year at this time, I am confident that the exciting happenings detailed above will be noted in the letter on the opposite page as Al proudly recognizes our accomplishments for our 99th year. With great anticipation, Marty Oliff, Executive Director 5


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In Lives Touched JCYS Family Centers Respond to Hurricane Katrina In the days and weeks following Hurricane Katrina, many asked “What can I do to help?” America's communities responded, working together to raise funds for the Gulf Coast. Our own JCYS community coordinated an agency-wide effort to gather supplies for hurricane victims and teach children the Jewish value of tikun olam, or - “repairing the world.” Peter - a three-year-old at the JCYS Lakeview Family Center - accompanied his parents to shop for hurricane victims. “On the day Peter and his mom delivered bags of goods to donate, Peter arrived at school with more than his usual energy. He explained to his teacher that a flood caused many families to lose everything. And, since he and his family have a lot, they brought in things to give to those who no longer have anything,” said Jean Losek, Director of Chicago Operations. Peter is just one of many JCYS children who helped repair the world. More than 400 families from JCYS Camp Henry Horner, the JCYS George W. Lutz Family Center, JCYS Lakeview Family Center and JCYS Northwest Family Center participated in our Katrina relief effort. Truckloads of supplies - including toiletries, first aid kits, toys and games - were delivered to the Illinois Department of Human Services for distribution to those affected by this disaster. 6


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For a New JCYS Program, Three's Company The Integrated Theatre Program - a new collaboration between Jewish Council for Youth Services (JCYS),THE CENTER for Enriched Living (CEL) and the Lookingglass Theatre Company - provides a unique opportunity for a group of inspiring teens to learn what a performance is truly about. This year JCYS and its old friend CEL teamed-up for a pilot theatre program for teens with and without developmental disabilities. The program - in which all students are equal players - teaches basic drama skills, enabling students to gain self confidence while exploring their creativity and imaginations. “This program helps teens from the JCYS community develop an appreciation for performing arts,”Marty Oliff, JCYS Executive Director, said. “However, what makes the workshop unique is its collaborative nature, which teaches the vital importance of teamwork, patience as well as communication.” JCYS and CEL found the perfect partner in the renowned Lookingglass Theatre Company. Lookingglass’ensemble-based theatre style, coupled with its strong education programs, including workshops for individuals with special needs, was a natural fit. Lookingglass instructors Jessie Fisher and Carlin Schwinghamer used improvisational exercises, theatre games and interactive storytelling to teach the workshop's 20 students drama skills. Through these activities, the class developed an original production,“People to People”- a collection of short scenes inspired by the students' own stories of friendship. After weeks of creative collaboration, the class drew in a crowd of more than 100 people at the JCYS Northwest Family Center to witness an inspiring performance. “Our proudest achievement was to see individuals from both CEL and JCYS working together to solve a narrative problem or to stage a scene so that every character had a moment,”Ms. Schwinghamer said. “The (class’) best work was not product-driven, but came about in little moments of improvisation within the context of creating a scene for the class to see.” Friendships also grew beyond theatre. “(Class) integration took shape from week to week as (students) became more comfortable,”Pam Weichselbaum, Director of Program Services for CEL said. “In the last days (of class) conversations changed, and were about high school and regular things (instead of class).” The Integrated Theatre Program will begin its second year this fall. 7


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JCYS Camp Red Leaf Reaches Out... Mikey Smith, a teenage boy with Cerebral Palsy, is confined to a motorized wheelchair, which he relies on for mobility. Mikey has attended JCYS Camp Red Leaf (CRL) for a number of years and benefits from the social interaction and varied programs offered each summer. As summer approached, CRL staff grew concerned when Mikey's registration CRL staff recognized form had not arrived - so the extreme importance they began trying to contact Mikey and his family. and value that camp Staff members left messages at Mikey's mother's office, holds in Mikey's life. with her colleagues and supervisors, and at home with family members, but had no luck. As June approached they faced the unfortunate fact that they might not welcome Mikey at camp this summer. On June 17th, the day before camp started, CRL received a call from Mikey’s mother, who had been in the final stages of a high risk pregnancy, and had not “Mikey comes alive while been at work he is at camp...” or even able to make contact with them. She was frantic that Mikey might not be able to go to camp. Due to the nature of her pregnancy, and the subsequent medical bills associated with it, Mrs. Smith could not afford to send Mikey to camp this year, nor could she organize transportation. CRL staff recognized the extreme importance and value that camp holds in Mikey's life.Therefore, not only did JCYS arrange for a scholarship for Mikey, but also arranged for transportation to and from camp through a certified transportation agency. Without the work of the JCYS Camp Red Leaf staff, Mikey may have missed out on another amazing summer at camp. Mrs. Smith is so grateful to CRL's staff members for the lengths they went to and for enabling her son to spend another summer at camp. She says,“Mikey comes alive while he is at camp and cries for two weeks when he leaves.” JCYS Camp Red Leaf is thrilled to play such a positive role in this young person's life. 8


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Connecting Our Past to Our Future As its Centennial Celebration kicks off in just one year, JCYS has exciting plans to honor the people whose handprints have touched its history… Those who served on the Board of Directors and made significant contributions of their time and devotion to expand the agency… Those who attended JCYS (formerly Young Men's) programs and facilities, who shared memories of laughter, love and everlasting friendship… Those who served as staff throughout the years, providing meaningful experiences and caring for children at JCYS’ camps, centers and programs... This year, JCYS sought support from those who have remained close to the agency, while also striving to reunite with members of our greater family, by locating people with whom we have lost touch. Alumni: Through its Alumni Council and Alumni Circle donor recognition societies that acknowledge critical support of JCYS programs and services, JCYS channeled the continued dedication of many Alumni, while inspiring the renewed commitment of others. The enthusiastic response of nearly 50 former board members more than doubled the results of past Alumni annual campaigns. Its momentum has propelled the agency towards its goal to achieve 100 Alumni Council/Circle members for the 100th anniversary. Also this year, JCYS launched its highest tier of this campaign with the Platinum Alumni Council, and proudly welcomed three inaugural members, Scott Anixter, Steven Anixter and Howard Friend. JCYS Alumni continue to demonstrate their unwavering commitment to the agency by taking a leadership role in the 100th anniversary. JCYS is honored to have Nancy and Daniel Pollack and Phyllis (Tabachnick) and Robert Friedman serving as the agency's Centennial Celebration Chairs - a two-year post in which they will partner with the current Board of Directors and JCYS Alumni, to celebrate the agency's history and further its tradition of service into the next century. 100 Friends: Through research, networking, phone calls and meaningful conversations, JCYS has reconnected with several past program participants, growing its archive of photos and stories from people who benefited from a JCYS experience. JCYS’conversations with past campers, as well as those who attended our former centers on the city’s west, south and north sides, are illuminating. The role these centers played in boys’ lives - keeping them safe in a social and educational atmosphere and off the streetshas proven impactful. Many of these“boys”have become fixtures in Chicago's community, as doctors, lawyers, businessmen and philanthropists. Past campers and counselors, some now in their 80’s, vividly recall days at JCYS Camp Henry Horner and Camp Wooster (Camp’s name prior to 1940) with great fondness. For several, the friendships made at camp have endured for 70 years and beyond. Whether as program participants or as members of the Board of Directors, those who were a part of the JCYS/Young Men's experience all share in the agency’s legacy. And in just one year, together we will share the celebration of a century of service. Scott Anixter Howard Friend 2006 ALUMNI PLATINUM COUNCIL Steven Anixter Jonathan Carson Richard Glabman Michael Lutz Nancy and Daniel Pollack David Solomon Phyllis Tabachnick Robert Weil 2006 ALUMNI COUNCIL Rand Diamond Lee Gordon Steven Podolsky Viki Rivkin Donald Stewart Tracy Thurnell Jordan Allen Harold Chizewer Mark Goodman Dara Lev Hessell Mrs. Hilton Leibow Brian Netzky Lester Rosenberg Eugene Ross Michael Sheinkop Ronald Sonenthal Ted Wagner Howard Wittenberg Melvyn Zahn 2006 ALUMNI CIRCLE Eric Birkenstein Sidney Epstein Corey Harris Gary Kash Eric Maletsky James Rolfe Jason Rosenthal David Schulman Daniel Shure Gregg Steinberg Byron Weis Alan Yaffe 9


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In Laughter and Smiles JCYS Adventure Education A 2006 study by the University of Chicago's Consortium on Chicago School Research found that a mere 54 percent of Chicago high school freshman will earn a high school diploma. Another recent study, by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, indicated that high school students will work harder to stay in school if schools provide stronger support systems. JCYS continues to respond to this growing need. Now in its ninth year,the JCYS Adventure Education program remains a champion of student support. This year, the 10-week program challenged and motivated more than 500 students at three Chicago public high schools: Mather High School, Sullivan High School and Hyde Park Academy. JCYS Adventure Education helps students achieve, succeed and believe in themselves. Experiential activities equip students with critical tools - such as working as a team and accountability - leading to success inside and outside the classroom. One new Adventure Education supporter, the Benjamin B. Green-Field Foundation, funded the program's overnight, 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 culminating experience's unique setting provides an opportunity to reinforce and strengthen program lessons. 10


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JCYS Camp Henry Horner A stroll through JCYS Camp Henry Horner (CHH) - watching campers smile, laugh and discover - brings back nostalgic memories of summer camp. CHH day and overnight camps, located on 180 acres in Ingleside, Illinois, provide a traditional camp experience with new and exciting choices for today's camper. Perhaps this is why more than 70 percent of kids are returning campers and many staff members were once CHH campers. JCYS Camp Henry Horner Day Camp serves children from kindergarten through eighth grade, as well as ninth- and tenth-graders through a Counselor in Training (CIT) program. CHH Overnight Camp serves children in fourth through ninth grade. This summer, more than 400 children spent their summer with CHH. From performing in“Horner Idol”(a camp favorite!), to playing disc golf, to water activities on Wooster Lake, day campers' days were filled with fun and new adventures. CHH Overnight campers also experienced the best of camp, as well as exciting trips to sporting events, amusement parks and other cool destinations for treats and attractions. The summer of 2006 made a huge splash, thanks to the new Glickman Waterworks - a floating adventure and recreation area on camp's Wooster Lake. With inflatables for climbing, jumping and just hanging out, campers can dive into another great summer thanks to the generosity of JCYS Past President Ed Glickman. The lakefront also added several new boats and new beachside dressing rooms, while a seven-foot waterslide (also thanks to Ed Glickman) has dressed up the Clonick Pool. The excitement continues on land with a new dance studio where campers get their groove on, and a new amphitheatre for drama productions, thanks to the Bond Family in honor of Zoey Bond's Bat Mitzvah. JCYS Camp Red Leaf Camp gives all children - and their parents - a break from the“everyday.” JCYS Camp Red Leaf (CRL), a summer camp and year-round respite program for children and adults with developmental disabilities, is one of the few American Camp Association (ACA) accredited camps serving people with special needs in metropolitan Chicago - and a place where days are jam-packed with new, exciting adventures and fun with friends. JCYS Camp Red Leaf's natural setting offers many unique learning opportunities. CRL campers spend days boating on Wooster Lake, performing in talent shows, roasting marshmallows, and playing team and individual sports - activities that improve social skills, increase self-esteem and develop independence. JCYS Camp Red Leaf continues to grow, serving record numbers (361 spaces filled!) of campers this year. CRL is also serving more facilities, hospitals and individuals than ever before - reestablishing and growing several relationships. Thresholds - an organization for individuals with mental illnesses - and CRL will partner next year for a special week at Camp for individuals with a multiple diagnosis (one being hearing impaired). CRL is also working toward planning a joint program for autistic children with La Rabida Children's Hospital - a Chicago hospital dedicated to serving children who have lifelong medical conditions, developmental disabilities, or have been abused. These partnerships allow CRL to give even more individuals in need a wonderful camp experience. 11


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JCYS George W. Lutz Family Center As one of Lake County’s largest childcare centers, the JCYS George W. Lutz Family Center uses creativity and play to teach significant lessons, create lasting memories, and produce hundreds of smiles everyday. For more than 25 years“Lutz”has provided preschool and childcare services to families in Highland Park and its surrounding communities. The Center's warm staff helps the more than 250 children in early childhood programs and nearly 200 children who participate in the before-school, after-school and "school's out" programs learn and grow in a loving, safe and creative environment. Due to the generosity of the JCYS community, the Center's Capital Campaign continues its success! All but three Lutz classrooms are now renovated and outfitted with new, state-of-the-art furniture and equipment. Classroom renovations included the creation of The Lily Pad - a magical environment designed with toddlers and their parents in mind - named in honor of benefactor Lillian Lutz. New parent-child classes, such as Little Crawlers for children age one and under, and a developmental playgroup for toddlers with special needs and their parents - which is being run by the North Suburban Special Education District (NSSED) - utilize this special space. Another 2006 highlight was the introduction of KinderMagic!, a program that enhances the kindergarten year by maximizing exposure to multiple subjects and activities, including Hebrew language and Jewish holidays. JCYS Lakeview Family Center / JCYS Orchard Branch The JCYS Lakeview Family Center, located in the shadows of Wrigley Field, provides a culturally Jewish environment for its diverse population. The Center's warm setting is filled with color, books and games, toys, and giggles - the perfect backdrop for the JCYS“learning though play”philosophy. Thanks to its dedicated staff, the Center received accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), an organization that promotes excellence in early childhood education, this year. With this achievement, all JCYS Family Centers have earned this meaningful distinction. While last year marked improvements inside the facility, just take a look outside! Children are climbing, swinging and playing to their hearts' content with the addition of a new outdoor playground, now modernized with new equipment and a rubberized surface. Thanks to State Representative Sara Feigenholtz, who“paved”the way to state funding, a second outdoor recreational space was created upon the demolition of unusable indoor space, making room for more play - and the valuable lessons play time teaches. A few blocks south,the JCYS Orchard Branch is the first ”after-school” stop for children in the Lincoln Park area. Once the bell rings,students from Newberry Math & Science Academy load their backpacks and head to the Center for an afternoon of fun with friends and help with homework. The Orchard Branch also hosts“School's Out” events. This year, the Orchard Branch’s classrooms were renovated with new carpet and a fresh coat of paint, creating bright space for activities and homework. 12


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JCYS Max Davidson Tennis and Swim Center The all-new, state-of-the-art sport court helped serve up a grand-slam summer at the JCYS Max Davidson Tennis & Swim Center in Highland Park. The Center - also known as“The Max”- has offered swimming lessons and tennis programs to JCYS campers and the public since the summer of 2001. The Max’s new multipurpose sport court, built with proceeds from the 2004 Max-Am event, played host to a number of JCYS programs this year, including the inaugural season of NSDC Sports, a specialty sports camp that teaches athletic technique and the values of sportsmanship. Hits at The Max include Grandparent/Grandchild Days - a chance for families to spend time playing tennis and swimming together; summer outings for children and adults with developmental disabilities; Start Smart (for children and a parent) and Stay Smart (no adults allowed!) tennis and soccer programs - which introduce children to sports at an early age; and Nenes y Madres Juntos (Moms and Tots Together) - a program for high-risk Latina mothers and their children, from infants to four year olds. JCYS North Shore Day Camp & NSDC Sports When summer arrives, kids don't stop learning -- they just have even more fun doing it. For more than 31 years, JCYS North Shore Day Camp (NSDC) has encouraged kids on the North Shore to learn new skills while mastering old ones. NSDC, located in Highland Park, has an intimate setting with the quality of programming expected from a larger camp. This year more than 225 campers spent their summer days swimming, playing team and individual sports, creating arts and crafts projects, experiencing new adventures on field trips throughout the Chicago area, and showing their NSDC spirit during weekly allcamp activities. New to the NSDC line-up! NSDC Sports, a specialty sports camp led by Coach Joe Knudsen, debuted this summer. The Camp, for kids entering second through seventh grades, offers the balance of a true sports camp curriculum with the nurturing spirit of JCYS North Shore Day Camp. Campers improve skills and fitness, challenge themselves as people and athletes, and learn how to handle competition with regard for sportsmanship - never losing sight of the fun of the game! 13


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JCYS Northwest Family Center The JCYS Northwest Family Center’s state-of-the-art facility is its foundation for success; however, what happens inside is what really showcases the best of the Center. Quality early childhood and afterschool programming, Saturday evening and “School's Out” events for tweens and teens, and a full lineup of enrichment classes, such as karate, dance and Judaic studies, keeps more than 500 families from the Buffalo Grove area connected to JCYS. This year, the Center responded to the community's need for expanded childcare by introducing its Full-Day Toddler Preschool program. The program serves children ages 15-23 months, and was a huge hit in its first year. Also new to the Center is its expanded kindergarten program. The Center now offers a Kindergarten Enrichment program, which keeps kids excited about school. Center staff works with nearby schools to tailor activities to daily school lessons. The Center also debuted JCYS Horner Grove Day Camp this year, for its opening season in summer 2006. The camp - created for pre-kindergartners, kindergartners and first graders gives lucky campers a taste of JCYS Camp Henry Horner, but in their “own” backyard. 14


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In Celebration 15



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