Regarding JN’s “Teachers stage walkout, religious groups respond,” May 2, 2018: In anticipation of the recent teacher walkouts across the Valley, I assumed I would juggle my job to be home with our daughter until the walkouts ended — but then we received an email from the Valley of the Sun JCC two days before the walkouts happened. The J was planning for the walkouts and would provide coverage for affected kids. This was such a relief! We, like most families, didn’t know until the 11th hour if school would resume each day and The J was there for us and so many other families.

The J created a dedicated, efficient and easy-to-use website to register for “walkout camp.” Even though everything was last minute, Assistant General Manager Kristina Brown always sent emails about what to expect the next day and when registration would open, if needed. She and the staff at The J managed all of this while finding staff to care for the 100-plus kids, organizing field trips with transportation included and much more. The only downside was that our daughter had so much fun at The J that it was hard to get her to return to school.

Our family is proud to support our teachers and schools and is very grateful to The J for providing a reliable resource for our community, especially during this time of uncertainty. Thank you, JCC!

Nichole Arko


My family, like so many others, was deeply impacted by the teacher walkout and I wanted to share the experience I had with the Valley of the Sun JCC during this time. With the days leading up to the walkout, I was unsurprised and extremely proud that this movement was reaching a critical mass. Since moving to Arizona, the state’s education reputation and the big room for improvement across many levels was top of mind as my children entered school here six years ago. Thus, I was thankful that educators and parents alike joined forces to be heard and move the several fair and just initiatives to the table for our elected officials to focus on.

However, just as I was hopeful the momentum would endure, I was also in a logistical headache. My husband works at a local hospital with a pretty demanding schedule and I had a major work conference to attend where I was meeting with key clients. And, unlike many of my lucky friends, we do not have any family in Arizona who could help out with watching my son for the duration of the walkout.

To say I was extremely relieved to learn the Valley of the Sun JCC was accepting children during the days of the walkout is an understatement. This option allowed for minimal disruption to our work schedules, provided a safe and fun environment for the children, all while allowing parents and educators to participate in the events and support activities at our state capitol. I am beyond impressed with how the staff at the JCC pulled together activities and field trips to keep so many children engaged, allowing parents to maintain their responsibilities and also stand by educators to effect change.

I have always been glad to be a member of the JCC, but the events of this past month have proven not only the everyday value to its members, but the outstanding staff and the community support this organization provides across so many levels.

Amiti Bhow


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