As we take time this holiday season to reflect and recharge, we look back at the past year as well as look forward to the new year that awaits us. Thanks to the tireless efforts of our staff and board, we have seen tremendous growth this year across programs and departments. Our Friendship Circle program boasted over 40 participants to kick off the new year, more than double the average attendance last year. Early Childhood has started the year with a 10% increase in students as compared to last winter. Our fall Stagemakers production of Newsies will feature a cast of over 50 young actors and actresses.
The holidays are also a time for family and unity. It is a reminder of the importance of the cycle of life, and our inter-connectedness. These values guide us in our dedication to cross-agency collaboration and collective impact. We were proud to again host the Bradbury-Sullivan Center’s Pride festival in August. Through the generosity of the Klein family and with the assistance of the Jewish Federation, we are excited about our new Mark Klein Vacation Camp program in collaboration with the Jewish Day School. We are pleased to serve as a host and partner for Jewish Family Service’s new Schmooze ‘N Schmear program.
Finally, the fall holidays are a time of renewal. We continue to work hard not only to plan engaging programs, but also to upgrade our facility. Upgrades to signage and décor, complimentary coffee and tea, continued investments in security systems, and maintenance of our heating and cooling systems are just a few of the projects we have spearheaded this past year.
We thank our members and the community for their tremendous support of the JCC and its programs. Because of your support, we are able to fulfill our mission and share our Jewish values, culture and traditions with thousands of individuals in the Lehigh Valley. From all of us at the JCC, we wish you and your family a shana tova u’metukah (a happy and sweet New Year).