Member Spotlight: Melissa Newman
Melissa Newman is one of the ubiquitous parents who gives so much of her time and energy to making the Alpert JCC such a special place. She currently chairs the ECE Committee, is on the AJCC Board of Directors, and recently Co-Chaired the successful AJCC fundraiser, “Adults at Play.”
When asked how she learned about the Alpert JCC, Melissa explained, “We learned about the JCC from Vicki Scherwin. Vicki and her husband have known my husband, Scott, for years, and our oldest kids are two days apart and have been the best of friends since birth. Vicki told me about From the Beginning, the free class for babies and their parents, and we attended several times together. It was the first time I had ever been to any JCC. I remember being so overwhelmed as a new mom and didn’t realize that nestled in the back of this wonderful building was the best preschool in Long Beach with the best teachers around! Our kids are now getting ready for Pre-K Celebration and will be off to kindergarten in the fall as we prepare for our little ones to start the program all over again. We are so thankful to be here at the J – joining the ECE was one of the best decisions we have made as parents.”
She continued, “I fell in love with the teachers who take such great care of all our children. That is what keeps me here, year after year. It is so important to know that my children are so well looked after and keeping their minds learning throughout the day. I never worry when I leave here.”
Close friend, neighbor and PSA Chair, Karen Ben-Shmuel, quickly introduced Melissa to the various volunteer opportunities. “I am grateful to be so involved in the different activities. I have met so many inspiring parents through PSA events.” Melissa is quite active at the AJCC while also being a full-time working mom. She said, “It keeps me very busy, but it’s completely worth it—it’s been a really great way to meet other members and make life-long friends. Our preschool is unique as you really feel the sense of community when you walk through the doors, whether it’s joining in the singing for Shabbat or watching the Havdalah program or just saying hi after drop off.”
Melissa really enjoys being part of the ECE committee and working so closely with Alayna Cosores, ECE Director and her fantastic team. Her involvement with the fundraisers, the ECE Committee, and working with board members and Jeffrey Rips has been a very rewarding experience.
Melissa works for a luxury fitness retreat in Malibu where she’s Director of Guest Relations and Reservations and works from her home office. “I realize how fortunate I am that I am able to drop my kids off in the morning and be able to pop into Shabbat music or Havdalah once in a while due to my flexible schedule.” Evan is excited to start Gan Hamaish (the Pre-K camp program) this summer, and her youngest, Mila, will be starting Moving On. “I am excited that she will get to have the same wonderful experiences that Evan did at the J. We are excited about our future here and the life-long memories we continue to make!”