An Open Letter to the Teachers and Staff of The Richard S. Adler Early Childhood Center (ECLC) at The Roth Family JCC

Dear Teachers and Staff of the ECLC…

For those who don’t know me, my name is Jeff Greenwald. I am the Vice President of the Roth Family JCC Board, a parent of a 4 year old in Room 3 (and 2 other boys that have since graduated), and the husband of one of your co-workers (my beautiful Michelle). I was with my 9-year-old today and he said to me that “he will never forget his 3rd grade year.” When I asked him why, he said it was because the “Rona” as he calls it has “made it different than any other year so far.” I sat for a bit and thought about that. I didn’t want to tell him he was right but how could I not. He will remember this pandemic and how changed so much for the rest of his life. I remember my grandfather telling me that he could never forget when he learned that WW2 was over. My father told me how he can still, to this day, remember exactly what he was doing when he heard President Kennedy was shot. I can remember so vividly where and what I was doing on September 11th, 2001 when the towers fell. They are all moments, good or bad, that have defined generations. So I told him he was right. He would remember this forever. More importantly, however, he needs to also remember to be grateful. He should remember something every day to be grateful for during this crisis. That is what he should also remember. The fact that we are blessed with a wonderful home to be quarantined in together, as a family. That he can spend time outside in the sunshine. That he has food in the fridge and internet so he can Facetime his friends. He then added several others to the list and I truly think he understood.

So I wanted to take a moment to tell you something that I am thankful for. All of you. It was not an easy decision to close the JCC. In fact, for those in charge it might have been one of the harder decisions they have had to make. But what happened after that announcement was truly amazing. Despite the circumstances, emails and texts began to go out. The focus was not yourselves. The focus was our children. The focus was on how you could continue to make this a better situation for them. Facetime and Zoom meetings were set up. More and more content has gone up on the YouTube site. My Micah was so excited to show his teacher his new bed on Facetime and she was just as happy to see it. Pictures continued to be sent and notes of encouragement or simply just “checking in” have been arriving daily. To say that the JCC is a community center is really not the truth. The JCC is a family. The JCC is a home. And it is all because of you. Your dedication and love for our children sometimes goes unmentioned. I can assure you that has not been the case lately. I think I speak for all of the parents in saying Thank You. Thank you for being so selfless in uncertain times and making sure that our littles ones are OK.

The JCC will open back up soon. The lobby will be filled again. People will be back in the gym and ordering coffee from Dick & Dottie’s Place. The children will be wandering down the hallways to their classrooms dragging nap mats and lunchboxes. This is but a brief pause in that for now. But what is not paused is your love and care for our children and I personally cannot think anything to be more grateful for.

Please stay safe, be well, and know that you continue to make our lives a little better every day.

With warmest regards,

Jeff Greenwald