Families with Young Children Get Involved with the Generations Campaign
By Kimberly Luskey
As the mother of two preschool-aged children, I've seen the latest Disney insta-classic, Moana, 3,762 times - give or take. The movie depicts the tale of a young girl, setting off on a journey to save her village, and the world, from the wrath of a wronged goddess (spoiler alert!). Around the four hundredth viewing of Moana, I wondered to myself, “What moves us to go outside of our comfort zone to evoke change? What inspires us most to build, create, and lead?” For me, the answer is easy and simple – my family.
When my husband and I decided to move back to Texas, I knew I wanted to be part of the Austin Jewish community, and not in a peripheral way. Having grown up in Houston in a large, active Jewish family, it felt natural to seek an active role in making our campus better, encouraging volunteerism and strengthening our community. When I first learned of the Generations Campaign and its mission to add much needed amenities like tennis courts, a theater and cafe, a water park, and poolside snack bar, I wanted to help. After attending several stewardship meetings, brainstorming sessions, and focus groups, I realized one generation was missing from the Austin giving community: my own.
During one fateful focus group, Karee Jones, my friend and now co-chair, and I daydreamed about spending the day at the post Generations Campaign JCC – dropping off our kids at religious school, working out in a state-of-the-art gym, meeting for coffee to schmooze and work on our laptops in the gorgeous lobby, swimming as a family after pickup, and even staying for dinner in the café. Karee and I were already convinced that we wanted to contribute, and we were eager to get more of our generation involved. Who better than parents and grandparents to give input on the future campus for their children and grandchildren?
And then we had what we like to call our Moana Moment. I said to Karee, "It's like the snack bar chose us.” She knew exactly what I meant. It was the beginning of what is now called the Families with Young Children Generations Campaign, an initiative within the larger Generations Campaign, meaning all dollars raised will be generously matched by the Michael & Susan Foundation.
Through various paths, payment plans and giving tiers, we hope to inspire multi-generational family gifts and raise $250,000 to build and name the poolside snack bar. It takes a village – in all aspects of parenting – including building a future for the next generation. So often we hear that call to better ourselves, to improve our communities, to take a leap of faith, but we ignore it because we are busy, we have other responsibilities, we are scared. This is exactly what our mission is about.
Families with young children are all too busy, we have over-committed ourselves, we are navigating life in a city where we are often the first of our family to reside, and yet we still see the value of building our future because what is more important than that? The poolside snack bar is an attainable, tangible and highly desirable component of the Generations Campaign building plan.
My children are enrolled in the Early Childhood Program, they enjoy extra curricular activities like swimming lessons, gymnastics, sports and dance – all on the Dell Jewish Community campus.
They won't always go to the JCC for their primary education, but they will always be Jewish. And I will always look for a place for them to be proudly, unapologetically and safely Jewish. The changes on our campus, and in our country, prove the importance of sharing your voice and building your future the way you hope it to be.
"And the call isn't out there at all, it's inside me!" Moana sings at the pinnacle of the movie – right before she restores harmony to the world, saving her village and returning home safely to her family. The call for us came with the realization that we could easily envision precious memories at the poolside snack bar with our children in the summer, and beyond (let's face it, we live in Austin and it's hot six-plus months out of the year) and we wanted to be a part of that process. And when our children thank us, we will all sing, “You're welcome!” ■