This isn’t just for you, it’s for us too…

by | Jun 18, 2020 | Trending News

As we began to plan for a very different looking summer and reaching out to families in new ways, we realized that our plans and the work we were doing weren’t just for the families, they were for us, too. Being stuck at home has been emotionally draining for all of us. Smiles from the children, small talk with the parents, sharing stories and laughter feeds our soul and makes us love our jobs.

Last month we drove around Tidewater to drop off summer buckets to children from Camp JCC and Kids Connection. After many long days, we didn’t feel exhausted, we felt rejuvenated! Seeing children and creating smiles, invigorated us and encouraged us to keep moving during a time when it seemed the whole world stopped. Here are some stories about those bucket drops (some names have been changed for privacy purposes).

I ran up to the door, left the bucket on the porch and rang the doorbell before dashing back to my car. I watched as a man opened the door, looked at the bucket and looked at me. I said “Hi! I’m with the JCC and we left something there for the kids!” As I was getting into my car, I watched him take out the note and saw the smile that flashed across his face. I realized then that I needed to get out there and see the families as much, if not more, than they needed it!
—Sierra Lautman, director of Jewish Innovation, United Jewish Federation of Tidewater

When I arrived at A.J.’s home he was so excited to see me that he darted off his porch to try and hug me. His mother and I reminded him that we had to give space and not hug. He exclaimed, “I haven’t seen you in a year!” I simply smiled and said, “Buddy it only feels like a year, because that’s how much we miss you at the JCC.”
—Ayanna Johnson, Camp JCC & Kids Connection

Upon pulling up in the Horev family’s driveway, I felt a rush of excitement to see Omree and Arbel. I rang their doorbell, and I felt my inner child start to brace for the conversations.

The girls and their dad came to the door, and before I could say hello and introduce myself the children anxiously picked up the bucket. Omree, started to read the note, and Arbel proceeded to show me the rocks she has collected and painted.
I interacted with the girls for about 10 minutes, and within that time, I experienced a vast amount of emotions from their expressions of gratitude and joy for seeing a friendly and familiar face that does not live within their household.
—Latricia Allen, Camp JCC & Kids Connection

Soon we will share our calendar and platform for virtual summer programming. All programs, live and on-demand, are free. Be sure to register children or grandchildren (even those who may live in a different state), at so that we can continue connecting, learning, and laughing together.

For questions about Virtual Camp JCC opportunities which begin on July 6, and other virtual summer offerings taking place now, contact Nofar Trem, manager of youth and teen experiences, at

– Nofar Trem