Jewish Council for Youth Services


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2005 Annual Report

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Table of Contents Message from JCYS Leadership Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 4 7 13 15 17 19 24 Oh, the Children We Serve Oh, the Leaders We Grow Oh, the Communities We Build Oh, the Fun We Had Oh, the Year We Had Oh, the Friends We Have


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Years ago, some fine men joined together to lead A group to raise funds for Jewish children in need. Yet providing dollars, they found, was just not enough So they ventured into lots of other fun stuff! They opened camps, clubs and then, family centers And grew tomorrow's future leaders, by serving as mentors. Communities blossomed, and children grew older Centers grew bigger, and programs grew bolder. We serve the Jewish community and beyond For any child or family, JCYS will respond. Special services we offer, values we teach, And we continue providing vital outreach. Providing a meaningful experience in a safe, special place Gives each child hope for the future, and a smiling face! And… through the years, JCYS has remained independent Nearing a century of service… how very resplendent! 3


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M e s s a g e f r o m J C Y S Le a d e r s h i p Dear Friends, With great pride, we present the 2005 Jewish Council for Youth Services (JCYS) annual report detailing our 97th year of service to Chicago area children and families. We look back at the year with great satisfaction for what we have accomplished. The JCYS Board of Directors began the year with its “Advance,” a forward-thinking overnight retreat at JCYS Camp Henry Horner, where we discussed the Designate, Board and Alumni experiences at JCYS. We have since launched several enhancement initiatives, including Alumni outreach efforts and planning for our upcoming 100th Anniversary Celebration, as well as the development of a new three-year strategic plan. During these efforts, we recognized that our mission statement could more closely and concisely reflect the heart of JCYS and its commitment to the greater community. After much consideration, we created the restated mission statement that you see today in this report. We have not changed our mission - we have just defined it in a better way. We also conducted focus groups this year at each of our program centers to dig deeper and explore ideas to make the JCYS experience as enriching and nurturing as possible. Through these conversations, we discovered new opportunities to exemplify our devotion to quality service, and respond to the changing needs of our children and families through program and facility improvements. As such, several new programs were launched, and existing programs were enhanced. Our youth sports programs included a cutting-edge values program. Family programming thrived at the JCYS Max Davidson Tennis and Swim Center, while our BBYO partnership had great success. And, a partnership has begun with the Center for Enriched Living to create a new theater program which will serve special needs children. Some incredible facility initiatives included the dramatic revitalization of many classrooms at the JCYS George W. Lutz Family Center in Highland Park - the generous result of the Marshall G. Lutz Memorial Matching Gift Campaign, the rally of support from JCYS Board members, as well as many families and friends of the JCYS George W. Lutz Family Center. Also, with the help of our friend, State Representative Sara Feigenholtz, the JCYS Lakeview Family Center renovated its facility with funds obtained from the State of Illinois. We can only accomplish our goals with the help of donors, volunteers, parents, partners and dedicated staff. Thank you for supporting us and the outstanding programs we provide. Gratefully yours, Ezra E. Jaffe President 4


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Dear Friends, Years ago, a popular television show began each episode with the main character finding a “one of a kind” copy of a Chicago newspaper on his doorstep. It contained news on the brink of happening, rather than stories which had already occurred. While this news would be a tragedy in the works, the show's hero always turned this near devastation into something positive. Today's newspaper stories portray children who are involved with substance abuse, violent crimes, and bullying, as well as children who face new pressures - intense academic competition, peer pressure, and poor diet. Once a narrower term,“children at risk” includes kids who live in our backyards - on the North Shore, in the Northwest suburbs and along Chicago's lakefront. Caring for children and families is why JCYS exists, and in 2007-2008, we will celebrate 100 years of such service in Chicagoland. We are still counted on in our early childhood, camp and youth programs to grow self-esteem, build communication skills, foster development of positive values and develop healthy attitudes toward others. We help kids navigate the risks and thrive. Looking at the year ahead, I boldly predict the following headlines: “JCYS Goes Younger to Help Families in Need” The JCYS Northwest Family Center opens child care rooms for children as young as fifteen months to assist families needing this critical service.The JCYS George W. Lutz Family Center introduces the Lily Pad, our first Parenting Center, with activities for newborns and toddlers. “Saturday Night Out is in for Lakeview” The JCYS Lakeview Family Center becomes the place to be for children, while parents go out on Saturday nights. Familiar staff, fun activities with friends, at an affordable price, make this new service a welcome addition for parents needing time for themselves. “Camp Henry Horner Puts the Mitzvah Back In Bar/Bat” JCYS creates Bar/Bat Mitzvah opportunities that are complemented by a “Mitzvah” project performed by family and friends on the campgrounds. Families appreciate the meaningful, less intense approach to this lifecycle celebration, and use this special day to give something back. “100 Years, 100 Friends, 100 Stories” As part of the centennial celebration, JCYS will seek 100 former program participants who benefited from a Young Men's/JCYS program or center. Our past is rich with stories that inspire us to reach more children… children who may be tomorrow's leaders and success stories. I look forward to seeing these stories unfold during the year. With great anticipation, Marty Oliff Executive Director JCYS 5 M ess a ge fro m JC YS Leadersh i p JCYS 2005 ANNUAL REPORT


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Oh, the Children We Serve 6


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Oh, the Children We Serve JCYS George W. Lutz Family Center One of the largest childcare centers in Lake County, the JCYS George W. Lutz Family Center has served Highland Park and its surrounding communities for more than twenty-five years. In addition to providing part-day preschool services to more than 230 children ages 18 months to five years, the center offers developmentally based childcare and before- and after-school programs to almost 200 children ranging in age from five to 11.Through these programs, JCYS helps each child reach his or her own potential in a safe, stimulating, and creative environment. Dynamic new classrooms have begun changing the face of the center this past year. Now in the midst of a capital campaign, the JCYS George W. Lutz Family Center was able to renovate several classrooms. Thanks to the generosity of the center's community and the Lutz family, these rooms are now equipped with state of the art,age appropriate furniture and equipment. This year, the center's After School Club added Kid's Choice! to its programming. Kids can now choose to participate in Tae Kwon Do, dance, art, and Spanish lessons during their after school time. The center's undernighters also were a great success. More and more families are taking advantage of this fun Saturday night program for pre-kindergarten through fifth graders, where kids enjoy special events, movies, sports and art - while moms and dads enjoy an evening to themselves. Located in the northern suburb of Highland Park, JCYS North Shore Day Camp (NSDC) packs hours of fun into warm, summer days. Camp serves children in kindergarten through eighth grade, with a Counselor in Training program (CIT) for ninth graders. Campers made jewelry during arts and crafts, showcased their acting talents through drama, and enjoyed dancing, sports, swimming, theme days, special events and more.With visits to the JCYS Max Davidson Tennis and Swim Center, kids warmed up with recreational 10 7 JCYS 2005 ANNUAL REPORT JCYS North Shore Day Camp


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Ce nt e r U p d at e s and instructional tennis, and cooled off in the pool. Campers also took weekly field trips to water parks and bowling alleys and kept active with fun activities such as laser tag and gymnastics. North Shore Day Campers also took extended day trips and overnighters to JCYS Camp Henry Horner. 250 campers enjoyed a spectacular summer at camp this year. And, during the winter, more than 125 campers and staff came together for a night of camp fun. This reunion evening was full of activity, including music, dancing and a moonwalk. In addition, JCYS North Shore Day Camp has added the week-long sports program, NSDC Sports. Led by Coach Joe Knudsen, NSDC Sports offers campers entering grades four through six a unique and fun-filled opportunity to improve their skills, including good sportsmanship and teamwork, through fun and competitive play, while enjoying the recreational benefits of a traditional camp environment. JCYS Max Davidson Tennis and Swim Center The JCYS Max Davidson Tennis and Swim Center in Highland Park continues to make a splash with children and adults from surrounding North Shore communities. Founded in the summer of 2001, the Center (affectionately known as “The Max”) serves hundreds of families, and offers a variety of programs that focus on children and adults with developmental disabilities. The Max also offers swimming lessons to campers at JCYS North Shore Day Camp and innovative tennis and swim programs to the public. This year's annual Max-Am Tennis Tournament and Auction raised funds for the creation of a state-of-the-art Sport Court. The multipurpose court will allow for expanded pre-school fitness programming, the center's new Start Smart Soccer program and use by NSDC Sports in the coming year. Programming has also been expanded to include Parent and Me tennis classes for moms, dads and their young children, as well as tennis programs for grandparents and grandchildren during the center's Grandparent Day. And, again this year, The Max partnered with the Center for Enriched Living to provide tennis and swimming experiences for people with developmental disabilities. 10 8


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Ce nt e r U p d at e s JCYS Lakeview Family Center Located in the heart of Chicago's Wrigleyville neighborhood, the JCYS Lakeview Family Center has offered quality education and family programming for more than 28 years. The center nurtures children by focusing on their intellectual, social, emotional and physical development, and encourages multi-cultural awareness while celebrating Jewish heritage. Jewish values, including family, acceptance of others, tzedakah (charity), education and environmental concerns, are part of the engaging curriculum. The center underwent an exciting renovation this year, which along with staff training, also helped the center work towards accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), an organization which promotes excellence in early childhood education. This accreditation, expected in the coming year, will signify that the center and its programs reach the highest quality standards. The JCYS Lakeview Family Center serves 135 families through its early childhood education programs. It also provides afterschool and holiday programming for families in three Chicago Public Schools in the community and served 80 families this year. During the summer, the center serves more than 55 families of school-age children through its Sunshine Day Camp. The center also continued to grow its school-age programming, introducing holiday programs for school-age children while living up to its name as a Family Center. There were many family events this year which included Shabbat & Swim, Camp Night, a Susan Salidor Concert, Purim Carnival, and Renovation Celebration, as well as annual events such as Family Passover Seder, Mother's Day Breakfast, Yom Ha'Atzmaut celebration and the yearend Family Fun Day. JCYS Orchard Branch The JCYS Orchard Branch, in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood, has now celebrated its second birthday and another great year. The center's after-school program has continued to grow and is firmly established in the community. The program offers children from area schools a safe place to stay between the end of the school day and the time their parents return from work. In addition to helpful homework time, the center features many fun-filled activities for children to enjoy their afternoons, including sports, games, free-play, outside time, and creative arts. This year, the JCYS Orchard Branch offered programs for school aged children with full day activities during days off from school. The program has also introduced many children to JCYS Lakeview Family Center's Sunshine Day Camp, for full days of summertime fun. JCYS Northwest Family Center Now in its seventh year of service, JCYS Northwest Family Center, located in thriving Buffalo Grove, offers childcare, preschool, sports and leagues, after school programming and many enrichment programs to more than 500 area families. The center provides children with a funfilled learning experience and focuses on all aspects of the children's intellectual, social, emotional, and physical development - and 10 9 JCYS 2005 ANNUAL REPORT


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Ce nt e r U p d at e s gives parents confidence that their children are learning while having great fun. The JCYS Northwest Family Center proudly earned accreditation this year from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) - the nation's leading organization of early childhood professionals. Through this accreditation, the center has been established as a leader in the national effort to raise the quality of early childhood education and give all children a better educational foundation. Our many family programs - including trips to baseball games and Ravinia, as well as the center's Purim Carnival - have been highlights throughout the year. The center also provides adult/child sports programs, extended day lunch programs for pre-schoolers, Saturday evening babysitting, monthly drop-in nights attended by more than 200 fifth and sixth graders, and fun-filled overnights for school-aged children. The JCYS Northwest Family Center takes pride in offering a quality after-school program for children in first through fifth grades. With the addition of a dedicated space for homework help, many enrichment offerings, and a high quality staff, the center's after school program is growing by leaps and bounds. JCYS Adventure Education Program The JCYS Adventure Education program strives to keep students in school by helping at-risk freshman build self-esteem and confidence in their abilities. Adventure Education impacts these teens through dynamic experiential and outdoor educational concepts which are taught both inside - and outside - the classroom. In its eighth year, the JCYS Adventure Education program continued enabling students to navigate the often difficult transition from middle school to high school. Twice a week for ten weeks, JCYS program facilitators join students and their teachers for an intense set of exercises designed to foster teamwork, leadership and personal responsibility. The activities during each session challenge participants to raise their own expectations for success, as well as work together to help the team succeed. Students who participate in the program show increased attendance rates and improved grade point averages, and begin to believe in - as well as demonstrate - their ability to succeed in school. This past year, JCYS Adventure Education served nearly 500 students at three Chicago Public High Schools: Mather High School, Sullivan High School and Hyde ParkAcademy. The JCYS Adventure Education program continued to see success in many areas, including more than doubled attendance at the program's culminating overnight at JCYS Camp Henry Horner. This remarkable increase can be attributed to the continued use of Spanish language materials that allow for better communication with nonEnglish speaking parents, as well as improved attendance at Parent/Teacher events to introduce the program. Also this past school year, the program partnered with ten new teachers. These relationships serve as an example of teachers’ appreciation for the program due to its positive effect in their classrooms. Working with these additional teachers, the program made a broader impact on each freshman class. 10


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Ce nt e r U p d at e s Camp Henry Horner Located on 180 lush acres at Wooster Lake in Ingleside, Illinois, JCYS Camp Henry Horner is the ultimate day and overnight camp experience. Camp's dedicated professionals provide exciting activities filled with adventure, friendship, discovery and challenge. 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. Overnight camp serves children in fourth through ninth grade. Nearly 500 children are served through JCYS Camp Henry Horner's day and overnight camp programs. Day campers experienced amazing summer highlights, including weekly special events, thrilling field trips, camper's choice and focus programs. From the addition of leather craft and silk screening, a dynamic drama program, and trips to Navy Pier, JCYS Camp Henry Horner was fun-filled each and everyday. Overnight camp features two-week sessions that include four camper-selected activities, spectacular evening adventures, and exciting trips around the Chicago area, as well as the constant surrounding of food, fun and friends. From “MTV” Night to Counselor Races, and sailing to biking, the overnight experience at JCYS Camp Henry Horner helps build lifelong friendships, encourages independence, and is simply a great summer vacation. New additions this summer included an Aquapark with an Aqua-Jump, Aqua-Log and Aqua-Launch, a nine hole Disc Golf course and three new sailboats, including a four-person catamaran. JCYS Camp Red Leaf Situated on the beautiful grounds of JCYS Camp Henry Horner, JCYS Camp Red Leaf offers year-round recreational, educational and therapeutic programs to youth and adults with developmental disabilities. Among the few such camps in Northern Illinois accredited by the American Camp Association, JCYS Camp Red Leaf offers individuals with disabilities the chance to improve social skills, increase self-esteem and develop independence in a natural environment. Monthly respite weekends are offered, as well as school vacation programs, summer camp, family camp and travel camp. JCYS Camp Red Leaf enjoyed another successful summer. This year, for the first time, all campers had the opportunity to experience the climbing wall of the Glickman High Sierra Adventure Center, with a record 81 campers partaking in this activity. Campers also enjoyed the new theater arts program,which enabled them to freely and creatively express themselves. Campers also continue to enjoy visits from the Fox Lake Fire Department - members of the Department visit campers each summer to play and help them explore the many exciting features of the fire engines. And, due to a new partnership with a facility in Chicago Heights, many new campers were able to experience summer fun at JCYS Camp Red Leaf. This year was also a success for the JCYS Camp Red Leaf Residential Respite program. Nearly 100 people participated in ten respite weekends, and JCYS is proud to have given many families much needed rest and revitalization while providing their children with an incredible camp experience. 11 JCYS 2005 ANNUAL REPORT


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Ce nt e r U p d at e s JCYS Camp Red Leaf Scholarship Testimonials Vincent and Marcus, brothers both diagnosed with autism, have gone to JCYS Camp Red Leaf since 1983. Their mother, Judy, can think of only three or four summers that they have missed being at camp.With both of them towering over 6 feet tall, they have come to be known as the “gentle giants” of Camp Red Leaf. “Growing up together, they were two sides of the same coin,” says Judy. While Vincent chose to display his frustrations physically, Marcus was gentle but inattentive. “At that time, I was the only mother I knew who had two autistic sons.”And while both Vincent and Marcus proved to be bright individuals who excelled in their school programs, it became clear that they needed the sociability of dealing with people in a group situation. So, the family turned to JCYS Camp Red Leaf. Vincent and Marcus have grown up with JCYS Camp Red Leaf over the years. In addition to their annual week at summer camp, the brothers participated in the very first session of Travel Camp and the family has participated in numerous Family Camp sessions.“Camp Red Leaf has grown so much - it has really been great seeing it happen,” says Judy.“The boys love all the activities, especially swimming. In fact, they have been competing for years in the Special Olympics and winning all kinds of medals.” She continues,“Each time they get back from camp I ask them what they did new and they say, 'Lots of things!' Camp Red Leaf makes all the activities that mainstream campers get to do available for my boys. They really look forward to them.” In addition to being a vacation for Vincent and Marcus, it is also the only week of the year that the brothers live together. Currently,Vincent and Marcus live in different facilities and are involved in different work programs, so their time at JCYS Camp Red Leaf takes on even deeper significance. But this year, their reunion almost did not occur. The family was faced with the devastating realization of only being able to send one brother to camp. “No matter what we did, we came up short on funds.We just didn't have enough to send them both to camp,” said Judy. Saddened by their situation, Judy called JCYS Camp Red Leaf and explained that only Vincent would be attending this summer. However, knowing the boys' history with camp and how important this summer week was to both brothers, JCYS presented Marcus with a scholarship for the session. “He wouldn't have been able to go otherwise, and then they wouldn't have had their week together,” explained Judy. “We were so thankful.” A thank you note received by JCYS Camp Red Leaf: “Thank you for the scholarship. Thank you for letting our daughter experience her wonder years. Thank you for letting our daughter be herself. But most important, thank you for reaching out to her.” 12


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Oh, the Leaders We Grow Board of Directors As always, the JCYS Board of Directors continued to drive the agency's mission and further provide funding for scholarships, program support and facility development. Boarddriven efforts include special events, such as the Golf Outing and Gala, fundraisers such as the annual Adbook Campaign, and various capital efforts. The Executive Committee infused new ideas and leadership. Significant milestones this year included the beginning of a new strategic plan, improvements to the wording of the agency's mission statement, and the launch of an agency branding initiative encompassing all JCYS programs and sites. Alumni Many dedicated JCYS alumni have served on committees this year alongside board members. We appreciate their continued hard work for the agency and wish to recognize and thank them for their devotion. Investment Committee Doug Banzuly Mel Blum Mark Goodman Lee Gordon Eric Maletsky Jeff Marwil Ron Sonenthal Gala Host Committee Rand and Rhonda Diamond Lee and Dana Gordon Michael and Karyn Lutz Eric and Rinna Maletsky Steven and Iris Podolsky Daniel and Nancy Pollack Frederick and Ellie Schwimmer Donald and Linda Stewart Phyllis Tabachnick and Robert Friedman 13 10 JCYS 2005 ANNUAL REPORT



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