Volunteers are the core of the Alper JCC’s success

Football has the Super Bowl, baseball the World Series and hockey the Stanley Cup. In film it’s the Oscars, television the Emmys and theater the Tonys. For the Dave and Mary Alper JCC, it is the 2012 national JCCA Benchmarking Survey rating the Alper JCC as one of the top agencies in the country.

Kudos to the dedicated staff whose work keeps existing programs running and constantly introduces new and exciting classes, workshops, challenging sports programs and unique special events to our community.

But it is the hardcore group of volunteers who need to be thanked. These big-hearted people — who already have their PDA’s full — devote countless hours to the Center. Here are just a few of those volunteers who work hand in hand with the program directors:

Linda Landy, the JCC’s Pinecrest Tribune columnist whose gift of writing brings humorous, touching and informative bi-monthly columns to the community. Her intelligence, wit and personal anecdotes combined with her rich history at the Alper JCC, make Landy’s columns a much-anticipated read, and a priceless resource for spreading the word about the Center.

For countless years, Suzy and Paul Fisher have been instrumental in the growth and success of the JCC Grand Tournament. Pulling together a high-end multi-sports event involving sponsorships, food and prizes is a task that they do not take lightly. When recruiting players for golf, tennis and Mah Jongg or tournament sponsors, neither accepts no for an answer. The Fishers are determined and feel that if people can’t participate, surely they can contribute to this worthy cause. Working with them are Paul Neumann and Sandy Teeter, who as tennis chairs keep the roster full. Together their unstinting efforts have resulted in successful tournaments whose profits benefit seniors, frail elderly and children’s programs at the Center.

Lisa Leventhal and Judy Mezey have headed up the annual Special Needs event since its inception. Surrounded by their indefatigable committee of Susie Fisher, Joanne Gentile, Renee Gershen, Teri Hirschberg, Lynn Katzen, Tobe Marmorstein, Sharon Samole and Carol Stiefel, they produce an evening of nationally recognized entertainment, a lavish silent auction and a legendary gourmet dessert reception. Their prodigious fundraising over the past 16 years has benefited the Shirley and Chester Paul Special Needs Program for children and adults with cognitive and / or physical disabilities.

The JCC Jewish Book Festival, one of the Center’s premier events, brings internationally acclaimed authors to our community. For years the Book Festival steering committee of Nadine Barocas, Renee Greenstein, Elaine Katz, Anne Sheldon and Susan Spatzer have dedicated their energy and time attending the Book Conference, helping to select authors and serving as the hospitality committee when these authors are in Miami. Cheryl Rosen the consummate event chair heads up the JCC Women’s Day Luncheon, a highlight of the Book Festival, with more than 400 women attending each year. With grace and a great deal of patience, Rosen and her committee organize the seating arrangements, create the décor, find amazing auction items and plan the much-anticipated boutiques.

Jennifer Mullin, past president of the ECD preschool’s PTA, stayed active chairing the very successful Scholastic Book Fair. Her determination and leadership is a great example for our preschool parents.

The sincere efforts of all of these men and women are at the core of the success of the Dave and Mary Alper JCC. Their indispensible participation truly embodies the essence of our community center.

For information on the Alper JCC or how you can become a volunteer, call 305- 271-9000, ext. 239.

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