The J-Borhood

The Arthur M. Glick JCC is more than a gym, an early childhood education program or a camp program; we’re a community, a J-borhood.

Everyone is welcome. Meet some of the people who make us who we are.

Meet Abigail, Elizabeth and Sterling

Mental, emotional and social health (MESH) needs exist on a spectrum and within every person’s reality. According to American Camp Association, camp programs, policies and practices that complement and/or address camper and staff MESH needs can improve the camp experience for everyone and help build resiliency, self-esteem and self-confidence for participants while minimizing challenges for camp professionals.

With funding from Glick Philanthropies and the Adams, Bell, Cotlar and Koppel families, the JCC was able to pilot a support program intentionally designed to complement MESH attributes at CampJCC.

With 15 years in special education, Abigail Burcham (left) and two support specialists (Lizzie Rager middle and Sterling Zweigel right) worked with CampJCC counselors to ensure they had the tools to best meet the social-emotional, behavioral and overall mental health needs of all campers.

This support team recommended and modelled effective behavior management techniques, and played an integral role in creating and fostering a positive and encouraging atmosphere so every child had an opportunity to see excellence in themselves.

In addition to a more successful experience for all campers, the support helped with retention of camp counselors as they, too, experienced greater success in elevating the experience for campers.

Meet Leo


An incoming junior at Pike High School, Leo plays on the Men’s Varsity Soccer team. A lifelong member of the JCC, he is a graduate of the J’s early childhood education program and attended JCC afterschool care and Camp JCC.

He said he honestly didn’t think about becoming a lifeguard until his mom showed him an article about the lifeguard shortage. She suggested he could work at the JCC.  “My favorite part of lifeguarding at the J is hanging out with my friends and watching the kids at camp do stuff I used to do,” he says. “I’ve gained a lot of lifesaving skills and some social skills from interacting with members and fellow lifeguards.”

Leo has two younger siblings, a cat named Dumbledore and a leopard gecko named Turd Ferguson. His favorite TV show? The Office. “I like the actors and think it’s funny.”

Meet Tenxian Xu and Changyou Ye


Daughter Ye Lin says her parents, Tenxian Xu (huh nay see en shoo) and Changyou Ye (chun yow yee) love the JCC. “Our family is so proud of them and feels so blessed that they are doing so well and believe in staying active,” she said.

The couple is originally from China where they were biology teachers there for 30 years. They were college sweethearts and he promised before they got married that he would do the cooking. He has. And still does!

Both are now US citizens and immigrated to the US around 2002, arriving in Indianapolis where their daughters were in school. Although their daughters have since moved away, they have stayed.

They play mah jongg and are connected to the local Chinese community. Changyou played ping pong and his daughter says is actually quite good. He also plays a traditional Chinese stringed instrument.

Meet Jacob and Ellis Sweeney


Jacob’s wife Abby is the director of the J’s ECE program where Ellis and her baby sister Evanne are enrolled. In the photo above, Abby is holding Evanne and Jake is holding Ellis. See more about Abby in the March issue of the J’s eZine.

Jake is a pilot for Delta Air Lines and he and Abby have been married for almost five years. Their favorite family activities are going to the Broad Ripple Farmers Market and coming to the Eskenazi Water Park.

Jake and Ellis love to watch Moana, Coco and Sing 2. One of Ellis’ favorite things to do is trick daddy into reading the longest book available before bedtime. The family has a dog, Lincoln. And Jake plans to take Ellis on a solo trip in an airplane soon!

Meet Steve


Steve, now in his 70s, came to the J as an infant! He started with attending nursery school at Kirshbaum (the former name of the JCC) when it was at 22nd and Meridian.

He works out every day except Saturday. His advice “Do what you love so you stick with it.” His go-to exercise here is swimming, inside and out and said there’s no better exercise. He ends every exercise with 10 minutes in the steam room and his body never feels better than after exercising. If the pool is unavailable, he’s tried walking, but he gets sore.

His three children all were in ECE and his granddaughter Lucy is also an ECE graduate and attends to Camp JCC. She had her 12th birthday party this year at the Eskenazi Water Park. Looks like swimming is a family tradition!

Meet Jonathan

Jonathan has been a member since May 2015 and since mid-May of this year, has lost almost 25 pounds. The key to his success is consistently getting 8-10,000 steps in a day. He’s been the top scanner the past few months and comes to the J about 4-6 times a week to walk the track or workout on the treadmill or elliptical. Occasionally he’ll work with the ropes.

He doesn’t have a TV at home, but sometimes watches YouTube on his phone. One of his favorites is Forensic Files.

Born on Long Island, he has lived in Allentown, PA; Detroit suburbs (about 10 years) and Houston for a couple of years. He’s been in Indy since the summer of 2000.

When he travels, Jonathan likes to visit family. His sister and her family live in Baltimore and his brother and his family live in St. Louis.

Meet Abbe and Jared Spaans (and Eames and Archer)


Abbe and Jared Spaans joined the JCC as a family about 5 years ago when their oldest son, Eames, started at the J’s early childhood education. “We loved that as a baby he could explore the entire grounds, go swimming, and interact with members,” Abbe says. “Before that, my husband, Jared, has memories playing racquetball at the JCC with his father while in middle school.”

Jared is a native Hoosier and Abbe is an East Coast transplant. They live on the Monon and love biking places with the kids – to new restaurants in Broad Ripple, the farmer’s market, ice cream at BRICS. “Getting around Indy and taking advantage of everything the area has to offer is stress free,” Abbe says.

For family time, “We love to go swimming at the J! And get dinner at the J Cafe.” When they’re at home, the movie Wall-E is a favorite. Jared is also the family cook but Eames and Abbe love to bake cookies together. “The whole family has a sweet tooth. Nothing gets us mobilized in the morning like a trip to Rene’s for croissants!”

Meet Suzanne and Keith Haben


Suzanne (left) and Keith (right) Haben both work at the JCC – her at the Fitness Desk and him at the Welcome Desk. They have two black cats (Salem and Sabrina) and a Lhasa Apso named Toby. Keith says that in spite of being an introvert, he loves being in contact with people and is “thrilled to be a part of the J and meeting everyone here.”

Suzanne loves working in Fitness and taking and sharing photos for social media.