AJCC Member Spotlight: Marisa Kantor, ECE mom
Marisa Kantor is one of the enthusiastic and involved AJCC members who help make the J a wonderful community. Marisa and her husband, Madhava (Madhi), came here from Tucson in March of 2012 when he was accepted into the Kaiser Permanente School of Anesthesia. The first thing they wanted to do was find a great preschool for children, Ari and Rona. They had come from a strong Jewish preschool in Tucson and were looking for something equivalent. What they found was even better! They knew when they toured the ECE here that is was above and beyond the best preschool in the area.” In addition to an excellent preschool, Marisa explains, “we also saw that the sense of community here seemed really strong. And because we’re Jewish, we wanted a Jewish preschool. Although we moved here in March, the first available opening was in the summer session of 2012. Our kids were really young. Ari was just two, so he started in Side by Side, and moved up through all the levels. He’s six now and is in kindergarten. Rona, who will be five in January, is in the Pre-K now with Mr. Scott and Ms. Mott.
“I felt like my parent participation here was somewhat normal until Madhi was hit by a 16-year-old uninsured driver and was in the hospital for 4 days and out of work for several months so he could heal from the internal bleeding. That’s when the JCC community really sprang into full gear for us. [Previous Director] Linda Keiles, [current Director] Alayna Cosores, and [Executive Director] Jeffrey Rips all made it possible for us to stay in the preschool. Scott Sterling, a lawyer, also stepped in and made sure that our legal needs were taken care of. I had heard that this was a good community, but that literally saved us. We could not have survived without the support of this community. We didn’t ask for any of this help—it just landed at our feet. And we are so grateful.
“After this I became more active in the preschool. I realized that everyone around us was chipping in however they could. I worked very hard with Linda, Alayna, and Jeffrey to help get voted best preschool in Long Beach by the Long Beach Post. That was something I’m really proud of. And I volunteer in all the basic things like cookie baking, book fair, etc. After thinking about other ways I could get involved, I realized that the unique way I could contribute was through social media. I saw that there was a real need for an ECE Facebook page. Flyers get ignored, lost in backpacks, misplaced, etc., and I thought to myself, ‘Why don’t I start a Facebook page so that people could always know what is going on?’ That way, all the information is in one place. I also wanted something that I could create so that when I leave next year, I can pass the torch and other parents can keep it going.
I recommend the ECE to everyone. It has gone so far above and beyond my expectations. We’re going to be so sad to leave here next year when Rona goes to Kindergarten. But we’ll continue on through camps and any way we can to stay actively involved. I’m guessing that the connections we’ve made here will last a lifetime.”