Model of Innovation Awards Given to JCA; Center Was Also Honored for Its Programs, Events

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Byline: DAN SCANLAN

The Jewish Community Alliance has been honored with four Model of Innovation awards from the Jewish Community Center Association.

But it didn't stop there.

The New York-based umbrella organization for hundreds of Jewish community centers also presented the JCA with three other awards recognizing an ongoing program and two special events it had on its campus at 8505 San Jose Blvd.

All of the Jewish community centers were asked to submit entries showing how each maintains standards of excellence in promotion of their facilities when it comes to religion, heritage, health and social programming, and how well they market them to the community. Jacksonville's JCA submitted nine entries about six months ago, and will receive its seven awards at the JCCs of North America Biennial 2006 event, Thursday May 4, to Wednesday, May 10, in Philadelphia.

"We are showing what we believe is our excellence in programming, development and the marketing of those programs," said JCA membership and communications director Hollie Arnold. "We are very proud to have received these awards and proud of the work that we do."

The JCC association is the umbrella organization for more than 350 community centers and Young Men's and Young Woman's Hebrew Associations in the United States and Canada. The association also offers services and resources to help the affiliates provide educational, cultural, social, Jewish identity-building and recreational programs and a network of Jewish early childhood centers and Jewish summer camps.

The JCA has about 2,000 families involved in a myriad of programs from fitness and sports activities to cultural arts, education, theater and Jewish culture in its 70,000-square-foot facility, which includes regular art shows in its Vandroff Art Gallery, as well as its annual Jewish Book Festival. The first of four Model of Innovation awards was for the JCA's membership enhancement campaign -- four postcards with member testimonials, Arnold said.

"We discussed how we could retain members and make them feel proud about being a member, and they came up with this testimonial idea," she said. "We interviewed three senior citizens; we did three teens; we did a family and we did empty-nesters."

A brochure promoting the JCA's 2005 summer camp was also an innovation award winner, as was a report on the agency's own insight into the perceptions and strengths of its operation. …