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Coming together

Year long renovation begins at Sandler Family Campus to promote more agency collaboration jewishnewsva.org | June 8, 2015 | Jewish News | 17

Sandler Family campus evolves

Agencies are “Coming Together” to create new opportunities for cooperation and cost savings on Sandler Family Campus

What is changing at the Sandler Family Campus •

JFS will sell its building on Grayson Road and relocate into available space on the main campus, adjacent to its Personal Affairs Management offices, which relocated there in 2013. To protect the confidentiality of counseling clients, there will be a new private entrance and additional parking spaces added at the far end of the education wing.

The Simon Family JCC will move its before and after school program into the current first floor cafeteria. HAT children will have lunch in the multi-purpose room.

The infant/toddler and Pre-K programs are merging to become the Strelitz Early Childhood Education Center.

• Construction begins this summer and will continue in stages, ending with JFS’ move next spring.

do early childhood very well,” says Lorna Orleans, the Stretliz director. “Now we can manage and promote it better, creatApproximate number ing more parent-teacher of months interaction and a stronger of renovation administrative structure.” and relocation Moving forward, the to take place at JCC, JFS, UJFT, Strelitz Sandler Family Campus, Early Childhood and HAT starting now. will provide services to their members, students, clients and others in space that better fits their needs and budgets. “The leaders came up with a wonderful “It is our Federation’s responsibility to be good stewards plan and have followed due process. They haven’t missed a step.” says Art Sandler. of the community’s resources. Better utilization of our “It has not been an easy process,” says Miles Leon, outgoing president of the UJFT, Campus space enables us to be more efficient with our “and I have to credit the lay and profesfunds. We are fortunate to have agencies willing to work sional leadership who buckled down and together to accomplish this goal.” made difficult choices and in some cases —Miles Leon, UJFT president (2013–15) sacrifices for the betterment of the community. We owe our best efforts to those main Campus, where its Personal Affairs weeks and move from cribs to classrooms generous people who brought the Campus Management or PAM program is already to age five in one program, then stay in the into being in 2004 and to those who will headquartered, and selling its existing same building and advance into kinder- keep it operating smartly, securely and probuilding. “The community expected us to garten and elementary school at HAT. “We ductively into the foreseeable future.” examine closely at what we did in 2004 and now with the benefit of 11 years of experience, to determine what we could do better going forward,” says Jay Klebanoff, UJFT president a former JFS president and HAT parent. “The programming and infrastructure modifications will enable us to make best use of the dollars our donors entrust to us.” Another major transformation coming for the Campus’ second decade involves a streamlining of governance and marketing of the Jewish community’s two well-regarded early childhood initiatives. One, called Beginnings for infants and toddlers, ages six weeks to two years, is managed by the Simon Family JCC. HAT has generally “It was a dream come true,” recalls Bobby Copeland, who chaired the “Simcha” campaign that coordinated the planning and fund raising effort. “We finally had most of our key agencies in the same zip code.” The community constructed the Campus based on current and anticipated needs. A decade later, leadership has taken a second look at what they created and is making adjustments. “We did not want to reduce services,” says Copeland, “and we won’t, but we had to right-size spaces and reduce rent and other costs to some of our organizations.” The biggest change will be moving all of Jewish Family Service onto the

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overseen the two- to fouryear-olds program. “To have a consistent curriculum through those critical growth years and an easier enrollment, pricing and transition structure for parents and children, we had to turn these two high quality programs into one,” says Klebanoff. The result is the Strelitz Early Childhood Education Center. Now children can start at six


photo by Steve Budman


t was 2004, and the Tidewater Jewish Community celebrated. Years of research, planning, fund raising and construction culminated in the opening of the Sandler Family Campus on 20 acres at the end of Corporate Woods Drive in Virginia Beach, just off the I-264 Witchduck Road exit. In two wings of a two-story structure, the community brought the classrooms, offices, meeting spaces and recreational facilities of the Jewish Community Center, Hebrew Academy of Tidewater, United Jewish Federation of Tidewater, Tidewater Jewish Foundation and Strelitz Early Childhood Center into one central place. They even installed the Cardo Café, making the Campus a hot lunch spot as well. Around the corner on Grayson Road, a second structure housed the Jewish Family Service.

Sandler Family campus evolves

JFS move to main Campus will save money, unite staff and increase inter-agency collaboration


n the 11 years since Jewish Family Service of Tidewater relocated from Newport Avenue in Norfolk to Grayson Road in Virginia Beach, growth has been constant. “We are fortunate to have a great reputation in both the Jewish and broader communities, but we also have recognized where the opportunities are in the social and healthcare areas and aggressively pursued them,” says Betty Ann Levin, JFS executive director. The JFS Personal Affairs Management (or PAM) is a perfect example. In the past decade, that guardianship program, the first of its kind in Virginia, grew from about 160 to more than 600 clients, prompting relocation from College Park into available space on the Sandler Family Campus. “It’s worked out well for us and for the Campus,” says Levin. “Besides creating a more efficient work environment which maximizes communication, the PAM staff often has lunch at the Cardo Café and many have joined the Simon Family JCC.” Now Levin and the rest of her employees are about to join their PAM colleagues. Older adult, clinical, adoption and administrative services, plus home health and two food closets are coming over to Corporate Woods Drive. “JFS will actually be using less square footage than we do in our current building on Grayson Road, but more efficiently, to

JFS on the Move • JFS will sacrifice square footage in the move, but will save on rent and gain in more efficient use of space.

• To protect confidentiality and privacy, there will be a new shaded and exclusive entrance along with parking spaces constructed for counseling, adoption and financial assistance clients.

JFS does not anticipate moving into the new space prior to April 2016. All clients will be notified well in advance.

on a number of programs, create better workspace as including a recent trainwe did with PAM,” says ing program the JCC Lawrence Steingold, JFS conducted for our 11th president. Annual Run, Roll or Both Steingold and Clients in Stroll,” she says. Levin are optimistic the JFS’ Personal Affairs JFS is proud of another change will be positive. Management program, association that is well “Our space utilization can a 400% increase underway. Starting in always be more efficient in a decade. 2012, the agency comso the move gives us an bined forces with Beth opportunity to do just Sholom Village to create that,” says Levin. “The fact the Freda H. Gordon is, even though we have Hospice and Palliative significantly more clients in our very successful home health care Care of Tidewater, a separate organizaprogram than we had in 2005, much of that tion that draws on the strengths of both clinical work takes place out in the commu- agencies and will also be moving onto the nity.” To accommodate the employees who Campus. “It’s been a wonderful alliance,”


“Jewish Family Service is a premier organization, a great part of the Federation family, and it will be an asset to have them on the campus. The entire reconfiguration is being done in an intelligent manner, with the idea pursued in a superb fashion. It shows that people are thinking all of the time how to make the campus better, more vibrant and more fiscally sound.” —Art Sandler will be coming over, the Campus will be turning some recreational and under-utilized areas into 99 new parking spaces. There will also be an elevator installed and two new entrances constructed at that end of the Campus, including a one to protect the privacy of clinical and financial assistance clients. “The maximization of privacy and confidentiality of our clients are first and foremost in our minds and we have taken all necessary steps to ensure that such occurs,” continues Levin. Levin expects more collaboration with other agencies as a result of the relocation. “We already provide in-school counseling services for HAT Konikoff Center for Learning and Strelitz Early Childhood Center and have partnered with the JCC

Lawrence Steingold, JFS president and Betty Ann Levin, JFS executive director.

notes Steingold, “that combined our expertise in home health with theirs in long-term care. The hospice has since developed a solid and quality reputation of its own.” Steingold says JFS has depended on the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater for seed funding for many of its new initiatives, then watched them grow, benefiting both Jewish and non-Jewish families. “Moving while we’re continuing to expand programming to meet community needs is a challenge,” says Levin, “but we are embracing the change and the opportunities it presents. In the end, I think we’ll be a stronger overall community, and JFS is willing to do its part to make that a reality.”

JFS Run, Roll or Stroll.

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Sandler Family campus evolves

New Strelitz Early Childhood Education Center is a seamless option for children six weeks to five years


f there were ever two programs destined to unite, they are Beginnings for babies and toddlers, which began in 2013 as a Mother’s Day Out initiative, and the Strelitz Preschool for children ages two to five. They share the same floor at the Sandler Family Campus and the same families in many cases, with the older child in Strelitz and the younger in Beginnings. And the two directors are very experienced former teachers who are devoted to the care and teaching of little boys and girls in a Jewish-oriented setting, employing modern techniques that focus on socialization, collaboration, emotional and academic growth.

The New Strelitz Early Childhood Education Center • Beginnings (infants and toddlers) and Preschool (ages 2-5) will be combined into the Strelitz Early Childhood Education Center. • Half day and full day options are available for toddlers through Pre-K.

• There will now be a single re-enrollment application.

All children will be taught using a developmentally appropriate curriculum that focuses on social, emotional and academic success.

• Strelitz

families will enjoy a discount on Simon Family JCC membership, and there are special savings, as well for full care families who have their children in JCC summer camp.

Rates for both half and full day programs have come down and are competitive with other preschools in the area. Call 757-424-4327 for details.

“Leadership decided that it made sense to have a seamless transition, not just for the children, but also for the parents,” says Lorna Orleans, who directs the Strelitz Early Childhood Education Center, the new umbrella name for what is now one of the region’s only programs that accepts children as early as six weeks of age and then guides and nurtures them right up until kindergarten, when they can graduate upstairs to the Hebrew Academy of Tidewater or any other kindergarten in the area. “Starting this fall, there will be one application to complete, one set of teachers and one coordinated curriculum,” says Becky Feld, who formally ran Beginnings, but is now Strelitz assistant director.

to start” because that’s what a quality early childhood education center should be. “This is where children start to separate from their parents, start to play together and acquire readiness skills in all areas of learning,” says Orleans. “Beyond opportunities for social growth, Strelitz offers a developmentally appropriate curriculum that includes language arts, math, science and social studies.” Youngest learners in the infant and toddler program are introduced to a curriculum designed to build emergent literacy through carefully planned literature experiences that are expanded upon through ages two and three. The Pre-K curriculum focuses on phonemic awareness and writing experiences that lay

Half day and full day options are available at Strelitz. “We know many moms and dads have to work long days,” says Becky Feld, who stays in constant contact with parents, easing their stress when the youngster cries and celebrating each stage of maturation. “We’re here to help.” the foundation for readIt has always been an ing and writing success in easy transition for those kindergarten. children who began in There are half day and Beginnings. “They move Application parents full day options at Strelitz. right into the two-year-old need to complete “We know many moms preschool program being to enroll and and dads have to work already familiar with the keep their child long days,” says Feld, who space and knowing the in the Strelitz stays in constant contact faces and voices of the Early Childhood with parents, easing their staff and even the friendly Education from stress when the youngster guard,” says Feld, “but we age six weeks cries and celebrating each were confusing the moms to five years. stage of maturation. “We’re and dads by making them here to help.” Shabbat singreapply when their child a-longs and other activities turned two. Now they expose children to Jewish will understand better culture and traditions, that we are a single school and because Strelitz is housed alongside under one umbrella.” And it’s a single school that as the new the Simon Family Jewish Community Strelitz tagline proclaims, is a “great place Center (which Strelitz families can join at

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Lorna Orleans, director of SECEC and Becky Field, assistant director.

a discount), there are many opportunities for adults to form their own relationships. “Moms can work out while their children are in a crib or a classroom and have lunch in the Cardo,” says Feld. “Relationships form in the building that are positive and often long-lasting for the entire family.” So what were once two programs is now one, the Strelitz Early Childhood Education Center. “Enroll them at six weeks or later and just for a morning or the whole day,” says Feld. “We have the experienced staff, modern facility, consistent security and now single governance and educational philosophy to give children an excellent start on life.”

Sandler Family campus evolves

Thanks to HAT, my children are today ahead of their peers


andi Gordon grew up with a “light” Jewish background. It wasn’t until her children Ellie, Evan and Marah enrolled in the Strelitz Pre-School and then continued through Hebrew Academy of Tidewater (K-5) that she fully understood the value of a community day school education. Now as president of HAT, she wants to make sure the next generation of parents and children has the same experience.

general studies disciplines in appropriate curriculum gave them the solid foundation necessary for a high level of academic achievement. Marah graduates from HAT this year and I am confident, as is she, that she will be well prepared to compete with any child when she enters middle school in the fall.


Q — How did HAT enhance your children’s Jewish identity? Percentile of A — It made them so HAT students much more aware of Q — Ellie (16) and Evan qualifying for their faith and customs (15) are now at Norfolk Johns Hopkins and proud to be Jews. But Academy and Cape Center for frankly it’s what it did Henry respectively. How Talented Youth for Steven and me that are they doing? program has been really remarkA — They are truly ahead able. I remember when of their peers, and I attriEllie came home and told bute it to both the general us about the Sukkah hop, and Judaic program at HAT. Dissecting Jewish texts, laws and how several families were going from house history and the merging of Judaic and to house to see each other’s Sukkot. She begged us to build one, so we went to Home Depot and got the PVC pipe and tarp About HAT so we could be on the tour. Now we build a The Hebrew Academy of Tidewater • sukkah every year. I have a greater love and is a fully accredited K-5 school through understanding of my place in the Jewish the Virginia Association of Independent community because of HAT, and we have Schools. three mensches as a result too.

HAT is housed within the state-ofthe-art Reba and Sam Sandler Family Campus that includes a modern science lab, technology center, full size gym and pool.

The HAT curriculum is imbued with values and ethics creating an enriching Jewish environment for students and families.

In grades three through five, 61% of HAT students qualify for the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth program, with 43% scoring above the 95th percentile in all categories.

Q — How do you think being on the campus has helped HAT? A — It has immensely broadened the children’s experiences. It’s great for the kids to go through the Cardo and observe senior citizens chatting, moms walking with strollers, going to work out or attending committee meetings and even cultural events like the JCC Book Fair. They are more connected to the Jewish community as a result. Also being in a new building, with excellent play spaces and modern technology like smart boards and high speed internet, has enhanced instruction.

The Gordon family.

“I have a greater love and understanding of my place in the Jewish community because of HAT, and we have three mensches as a result too.” —Randi Gordon, HAT president Q — Moving forward, what’s the future for HAT? A — Education at any level is always changing and challenging. But HAT is committed to providing children with a Jewish education that is appropriate, egalitarian and meaningful regardless of synagogue affiliation, as well as a general studies curriculum that prepares them for their next

school experience. We fully understand how critical grades kindergarten through five are, and anyone who has taken advantage of the Hebrew Academy experience can tell you that it equips children with what they need to be committed Jews and high achievers at every level of Jewish or secular education they pursue in life.

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Sandler Family campus evolves

JCC’s focus will always be on families first


offer,” says Scott Katz, last weight lifters long after the sun goes hroughout its long executive director, who down,” notes Einhorn. “What we hope history, the Jewish has worked in five JCC’s everyone sees, when they’re in the building, Community over the past 25 years. “We is everything we have, from the full sized Center has been among have a strong brand and gym, to the two pools, the tennis/pickle ball the most consequenNumber of hours are centrally located. That courts and the playgrounds to the meeting tial agencies in the area, JCC is open doesn’t mean we don’t rooms and class spaces. There is something mainly because its sereach weekday have challenges, espe- for everyone, whatever your age.” vices touch every aspect to accommodate For seniors for instance, the JCC has cially in Virginia Beach.” of Jewish lives, from recbefore school program, Competing with taxpayer become a haven over the past decade. reation to education, from fitness center clients, subsidized rec centers and “There are monthly lunches, a Yiddish youth to seniors, from culclasses and stand-alone fitness facili- club, book club, current events club, mah ture to camp. It’s still that community activities ties forces Katz and Marty jong games and our Silver Sneaker exercise way today. Einhorn, JCC president, classes,” says Katz. “We are making use of And it’s not just Jews along with their staff and every available space.” who look to what is now To accommodate JFS’s move and the called the Marilyn and Marvin Simon Family board members, to conceive of new ways to JCC as a place to swim a lap or an exercise bike to ride. Non-Jews in and around “No one can compete with what we offer. We have a strong Kempsville or ones traveling along I-264 brand and are centrally located.” to work or school choose the JCC, finding —Scott Katz, JCC executive director inside and outside its walls an unmatched set of activities that enhance their physical, engage their target audiences, like adding merging of the early childhood education mental and spiritual states. And whether it’s youth basketball or Body Pump and Body Combat to a widening program, which the JCC mothered, Kids Connection is taking over the cafeteria off Israel Fest, swimming lessons or yoga list of group exercise programs. Open from 5:30 am to 9:30 pm most the downstairs lobby while sharing more classes, birthday parties or film festivals, before school programs or Melton Jewish weekdays, the JCC is the agency that room elsewhere. “We feel like we link with study, it is the family that is foremost in the rarely sleeps. “Children arrive early for our all the other agencies in the building, from before school enrichment program, Kids the Federation to the Hebrew Academy,” minds of its leaders. “No one can compete with what we Connection, and we say good night to our says Einhorn. “Until now you had to be a


Israel Fest.

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JCC pool.

The Simon Family JCC • Membership rates, hours and services are not changing as a result of the infrastructure modifications. • The outdoor pool will feature Sunday Fundays throughout the summer along with Wednesday night family barbecues on June 24, July 22 and August 19. • Les Mills Body Combat classes begin this month. • Go to www.simonfamilyjcc.org for all details.

JCC member to attend the Strelitz program. That is ending, but we are providing a discount to Strelitz families because it is so important that they have the full Campus experience.” Katz hopes the next 10 years will see more Jewish families take advantage of the JCC because it has so much to offer at such an affordable price and is constantly adapting to the needs and demands of its many audiences. “The JCC,” he says, ”will always be the tie that binds the entire Jewish community.”

Sandler Family campus evolves

Glenn Saucier is well prepared to implement the Campus renovations


e wasn’t in the picture in 2004 when the Sandler Family Campus opened, but it’s fallen to Glenn Saucier, the facility’s director since 2007, to not just oversee the elaborate reconfiguring of the space, but the construction itself. “I’m acting as the general contractor too, which will add to the significant savings that the community is seeking,” says Saucier. As facilities manager of the Sandler Family Campus, Saucier will repeat the role he played just three years ago when he managed the reconstruction of existing space for the relocation of the JFS PAM program. He will hire and monitor the subcontractors throughout the nearly year-long building process that is soon to be underway. “It all started with the community decision to bring Jewish Family Service onto the main campus,” says Saucier, whose office desk and floor are covered with multiple site plans, provided by architects Tymoff+Moss in Norfolk. “Even though JFS has about 13,000 feet of office space in their current building, we determined along with Betty Ann Levin and her staff, that 9,000 would be adequate to meet their needs and even have room for some expansion.” Saucier’s goal is to make the most efficient use of all areas on the Campus, while still meeting the missions of the agencies. “Everyone’s been involved because

Glenn Saucier examines plans in his office.

executive vice-president. “It is a tribute to his abilities that many of these services, which were once contracted with New parking spaces outside vendors, are now to be added all performed in-house to far end at great savings to the of education wing community.” to enhance privacy Crews are already access for JFS clients. preparing to move doors and walls to accommodate HAT Konikoff Center for Learning and the Strelitz Early Childhood Education Center, which “Our agencies are working together better than ever today, must have their spaces ready by the time and that frankly has allowed us to go through this process school reopens in late summer. All this will occur while the Simon Family JCC Camp in the most expeditious manner possible.” will go on as normal with only minor alter—Bobby Copeland, chairman of Campaign ations. The entire redevelopment should to build the Sandler Campus in 2005 be done by next April, when JFS and the Freda H. Gordon Hospice and Palliative privacy for JFS clients. Workmen will install when the Sandler Family Campus position Care staffs relocate from Grayson Road. “We believe the proceeds from the sale a new elevator for JFS, as well as two food came along. “This is a great job because of pantries and dozens of new walls, electric a wonderful staff and the lay and profes- of that still very new building, coupled outlets, cabinets, doors and other furnish- sional people with whom I work who care with other savings we realize, will more ings. “Everyone has had to be very open so deeply for the organizations they serve,” than pay for the construction,” says Bobby Copeland, who was instrumental in the minded and willing to give a little to help says Saucier. “Glenn is a consummate professional design and construction of the Campus a the entire community,” says Miles Leon, outgoing president of the United Jewish who is extremely talented in a wide range of decade ago and is fully supportive of the areas and whose primary responsibilities at work today’s leadership is doing to make Federation of Tidewater, “and they have.” Glenn Saucier’s ability to supervise the the Sandler Family Campus include ongo- more efficient use of all space. “Our agenprocess personally ing maintenance, security, landscaping, cies are working together better than ever comes from years food service and housekeeping,” says Harry today,” says Copeland, “and that frankly of experience in Graber, UJFT and Sandler Family Campus, has allowed us to go through this process in the most expeditious manner possible. The synergies that co-location has produced are numerous and will only grow over time. Ten years from now, we may adjust again, but for now, I think the plan we have is solid.” Putting that plan into action is Saucier’s mission, and for the next 10 months or so, he will be here, there and everywhere on Corporate Woods Drive, ensuring that the next generation for the Sandler Family Campus will be even better than its first. everyone’s being impacted in some way,” says Saucier, who has had to become the ultimate diplomat among a host of Campus clients, listening to the concerns of everyone from teachers to caseworkers to executives, and then consulting with the architects and lay leadership to refine the space allocations accordingly. Noticeable refinements will be the addition of an attractive new entrance at the far end of the north wing, shaded fencing and the renovation of two of six tennis courts on the property and some other under-utilized parcels into 99 parking places, all to protect

facility management, starting at Water Country USA outside Williamsburg, where at age 26, he was in charge of operations. Saucier was on the ground floor of the creation of a Disney theme park in Indonesia, held positions in Chile and Orlando and was managing a health and fitness center for Sentara in his native Hampton


Renovation plans for the Campus.

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2015 BIENNIAL MEETING of the United Jewish Federation of Tidewater

Tuesday, June 16 • 6:00pm Sandler Family Campus | 5000 Corporate Woods Drive, Virginia Beach

Nomination & Election of New UJFT President

Jay Klebanoff

Recognition of Outgoing UJFT President

Miles Leon

Also Recognizing Anne Diamonstein Fleder

Outgoing Chair, Holocaust Commission of the UJFT, 2013–2015

Amy Levy

Outgoing Chair, General Campaign, 2012–2014

Linda Spindel

Outgoing Chair, Israel & Overseas Committee, 2013–2015

Honoring Community Award Recipients Rachel Shames

Dolores and Alan Bartel

Dorothy Salomonsky

Leonard R. Strelitz Young Leadership Award Joseph H. Strelitz Community Service Award Jewish Communal Professional Award

Kosher Hors d’Oeuvres | Cocktail Reception | Free & Open to the Community RSVP Today! Email sgolden@ujft.org or call 757-965-6124.

Special Presentation

Coming Together: An update about forthcoming changes at the Sandler Family Campus

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