(Published Aug 11, 2020)
The J is more than a building, it’s a community.
We are individuals like Linda Evans and Denis Kurmanov. And we are couples like Andy and Laura Gzibovskis and families like Jill and Gaby Casey. The J is an inclusive and diverse community of people who have a place in common. And that place is the J, a building with indoor and outdoor pools, a fitness center, classrooms for early childhood education and after school care programming. An auditorium and art gallery.
I Am The J
The J is more than 7,000 individuals.
The J is made up of individuals like Linda Evans, a member for more than 15 years who takes ballet and attends, and photographs, almost all arts events. Linda says that the JCC has done a lot to affect her life personally. “I’ve loved being a part of the Center because, really because of the people.” To see a testimonial from Linda and from other JCC members, visit JCCindy on YouTube.
Elliott Mills and Steve Calderon are examples of lifelong members. Steve, now in his 70s, came to the J as an infant. Elliott lived across the street and now teaches in our preschool. His sons are ECE grads and now in after school care and his wife Erin serves as the J’s Chief Program Officer.
Another individual who makes the J, the J is Javan Odinga, a staff member for more than 4 years whose three children now are enrolled in JCC childcare and sports programs.
And Denis Kurmanov has been a member on and off since he moved to the U.S. in 1995 from the former Soviet Union. He loves his “me time,” working out 4-6 days a week.
We Are the J
The J is almost 1,300 couples and families.
We are families like Jill and Gaby Casey, members for five years. Their children Georgia and Jude attend the JCC’s early childhood education program. “We feel lucky to have found the J,” they said. “The teachers have been inclusive and affirming, providing an environment where kids can learn by playing and exploring the world.” And Georgia says she loves all the activities; she’s tried just about everything, including dance, swimming, gymnastics and tennis.
Carol Isaacson and Tom and Isaac Evaniew are 10-year members who are avid participants in JCC challenges like Trainer vs Trainer. Carol was on Team Javan competing against Tom and Isaac on Team Cara. “We would never push this hard by ourselves,” Tom said. “But having a trainer/coach and then we’re competing, it gives you more incentive. We’ve never worked so hard!”
Families also include Claudia Velasquez, a teacher in the J’s early childhood education program. She teaches infants and enjoys the diversity at the J as well as the support from the parents. She loves it so much that her two daughters are also part of the J’s staff family.
Andrew and Laura Gzibovskis are a couple who together lost more than 200 pounds. They and their teenage son and daughter are here regularly (pre-COVID). They were featured in a cover story in the Jan 2019 JCC member magazine.
The J includes families like Irina Brodskiy who works for the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis. A member for 10 years, Irina posts her workouts on Instagram (@strongwithchildren), featuring her sons Neal (an ECE graduate) and Alan (now in ECE). Irina was featured in a cover story in the Jan 2020 JCC member magazine.
This is the J
The J is not only people, it’s a place, THE place where people come together as a community. Membership dues and program fees aren’t enough to cover the cost to keep the J up and running. Regular maintenance requires items like chlorine and other chemicals for the tow indoor pools, electricity to power equipment in the Mordoh Fitness Center, heating and air conditioning for the fitness center, two gyms and indoor tennis courts, water for our 70,000-square-foot outdoor Eskenazi Water Park.
Thank you to all our members, staff and donors who make the J what it is. And, thanks, too, to board members like Chelsea Cantu and Eric Ratner who chair fundraising efforts each year to ensure the J continues to be a viable gathering space for future generations.