<![CDATA[All across the United States, JCCs have been adopting the phrase "there's something about this place". For those who have lived and breathed the JCC community for their entire life, it hit home. Locally, the JCC in Dayton has been around for more than 100 years. And while it's occupied different buildings, the culture and community has always followed. Dan Sweeney, local Jewish community member, grew up in Dayton thriving at the JCC. From swimming to Early Childhood 's preschool program, so many of his introductions to Jewish culture started at the JCC. Dan remarks, "Some of my earliest memories are from being at the JCC, some of my best friends, still, are those that I met in preschool. My parents were always involved and on different committees. I remember a lot of my Jewish cultural connections starting at the JCC, and now with my son being at the Boonshoft CJCE, we're continuing that tradition." As a family, the question to return to the JCC for their kids was a no-brainer. "Our son, Leyton, is 11 months old, and in the Nursery. Once he started, we really wanted to be involved. Now, my wife Janese is almost more involved than I am It was one of the big things my wife wanted to do. She didn't grow up here, but she's seen how impactful the experience has been for me, from hearing my stories. She's even gone so far as to say 'I'm not going to send my son anywhere other than the JCC for preschool!'" Their reasoning is based on all those memories. "It's not exclusive, you get to know everybody. People are involved from every synagogue, it opens you up to more experiences and interactions with all kinds of people within the Jewish community here in Dayton. It's the same welcoming atmosphere I remember. And even at 11 months old, Leyton lights up when we park the car. He very much knows where he is, he's so happy to be here." When it comes to how his involvement with the JCC crosses over to the Federation Sweeney remembers his parent’s involvement. “It starts with my family. We’ve been involved for decades. Those posters in the main lobby at the Boonshoft CJCE? My grandparents are in those photos. Our community feels like it’s shrinking, and when Jews are looking for somewhere to live, and people are being recruited for jobs, they’re looking at the Federation to see what they have to offer. It’s extremely important to help the Federation and its Agencies remain strong and keep up with their outreach of services. I’m on the Innovation Grants committee, and I think we’ve done a good job helping the Jewish organizations within our community to be more collaborative than we’ve ever been before. The Federation is really working to bring the whole community together.” Families like the Sweeneys keep our JCC full of the culture and warmth that spurs the feeling of “there’s something about this place”. In the larger scope, they help the Federation through community leadership to continue keeping a pulse on what Jewish Dayton needs and can build to in the future. The JCC’s Early Childhood Department has a huge impact on the lives of Jewish and non- Jewish families here in the Dayton area. The Federation helps to keep the JCC’s Early Childhood an incredible non-profit learning center with low teacher to child ratios. By fostering learning and personal growth, the JCC is able to continue spreading Tikkun Olam from the tiniest toddler to the most rambunctious preschooler. Help us continue to make a difference in people’s lives by pledging to the Annual Campaign. Contact Alisa Thomas at email@example.com or 610-1796 today.