Staff Spotlight: Maureen Lawrence
Interview with Maureen Lawrence, Movement & Music Specialist
Maureen Lawrence, or Ms. Maureen as she is known here at the J, has lived in Long Beach for 24 years and has been working at the JCC for almost 17 years. Ms. Maureen began here at the J as a Side by Side (now Yad B’Yad) teacher, and eventually became the Moving On teacher, a position she held for 10 years. About 3 years ago, Maureen was asked if she would be interested in doing the Movement program, and she was delighted. She brought to that her love for theater and music, adding “Music” to become the “Movement & Music” specialist. In 2014, Ms. Maureen also became the AJCC Discover CATCH point person when Executive Director Jeffrey Rips recognized that she would be perfect to lead that program and sent her to the Discover CATCH training in Florida.
Ms. Maureen is a very busy woman! She leads three Chugim: “Discover Fitness Fun!,” “Music with Maureen,” and “Happy Hands (an American Sign Language Chug).” Her “Movement & Music with Ms. Maureen” program is a fun and educational experience for the children, integrating movement and music into the ECE curriculum. She also sings and plays her autoharp with Shlomit Jackson, AJCC Jewish Educator; together the two of them are “ShloMo,” leading Havdalah every Monday, Shabbat every Thursday and Friday, and special events like the upcoming Tu B’Shevat seders for the children and the annual Purim Shpiel. She is also a founding member of the “AJCC Singers.”
Maureen is excited to be going to Song Leader Boot Camp in February, where she will explore more great music and ideas which she will bring back to share with the AJCC ECE program. Finally, Maureen is a Producer/Director/Actor with “Moveable Mystery Dinners,” a murder mystery, musical comedy dinner theater group which will be bringing their next fun show, Murder on Broadway, to the Alpert Jewish Community Center on Saturday, April 2.
Ms. Maureen says, “I love working here because it’s like family. I feel loved, appreciated, and welcome. The members feel the same way about us as we do about them. Everybody is very supportive: our previous ECE Directors were, and Alayna Cosores, Interim ECE Director is, too. I am especially grateful to Jeffrey Rips, who believes so strongly in me and my abilities—that in itself inspires me to do the best job that I possibly can.”