This Month’s Inspiring Story
Connecting with Other Young Families at the Bender JCC
Meet New Members Amy Pickard and Steven Wellner and their Daughters
Amy Pickard and her older daughter Juliette (2) first became aware of the Bender JCC last fall while participating in local J Play* playdates, such as Challah Tots, where preschoolers and their families meet at local Whole Foods markets on Fridays to make challah, do an activity, and hear a story. Amy and Juliette have also attended bowling playdates for preschoolers and Shabbat Shalom playgroup.
Late last year Amy and her husband, Steven Wellner, began looking for local gyms that offer childcare, “which is pretty much the only way we’d be able to use a gym,” states Steven.
“We had never been members at a JCC before, and one random day in late December, we decided to come by the Bender JCC to check it out. After getting a very helpful tour, we made the decision on the spot to join, and we’ve been thrilled with our experience so far. The staff has been so friendly and welcoming, and the babysitting has helped Juliette get acclimated to being around other adults and kids without either parent around,” Steven says. “We’ve particularly enjoyed the Sunday morning open gym for kids, which Juliette loves.”
Amy is from Syracuse, New York. She has a degree in studio arts from SUNY-Oswego. Steven grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia. He is an attorney at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which regulates wholesale electric and natural gas markets. He got his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center and his undergraduate degree from Rice University.
The family moved from DC to Kensington last summer “for all the usual reasons, such as more space, a yard and good schools,” Steven says.
The couple’s second daughter, Katherine, born in January, will soon join Juliette in J-Club babysitting when their parents come to exercise.
“As our kids grow, we’re excited to take advantage of other opportunities that the Bender JCC offers, and to get to know other families.”
*J Play is a Bender JCC family engagement program in partnership with PJ Library (an initiative that sends free award-winning books that celebrate Jewish values and culture to families with children 6 months through 8 years old). J Play welcomes Montgomery County families for fun Jewish experiences both inside and outside the walls of the Bender JCC. Through playdates, community events and holiday celebrations, families connect and build friendships in the geographic area where they live.