Three Moms and Your Babies

January 03, 2017

Three Moms and Your Babies

The J’s Triumvirate Has Raised J-Kids Together for over 26 years 

The J’s Parent Infant Toddler team, comprised of Sharon Seigel, Linda Lapidus, and Cindy Neuman, has been together for 26 years. If any group of the JCC team can boast that they have seen the J “grow” over the years, they most certainly can, from the millennial babies they taught in Baby & Me classes to the millennial mommies and daddies whose children they are now teaching.

Sharon, Linda, and Cindy, also known as “The Triumvirate” by Cindy, started teaching Baby & Me classes on the second floor in what is now the executive team suite of the Rosenbloom JCC, in 1990. The J, at that time, was one of the first ever parenting drop in centers in the area.

As a young mom, Linda found the J to be a beautiful place. “When mothers have new babies, it’s a wonderful thing; and in our roles, we constantly meet new moms and dads, and are all so happy to be here.”

Linda began her career at the J working in the babysitting room. “I loved the classes.” she says, While she was enrolled in a class with her own child, she said to herself, “I can do this, I can help these mothers and teach these children.”

The original parenting center moved to where Me Latte café is now. When that space was repurposed for Comprehensive Survival Arts (CSA), the parenting center moved again and was brought back to life by the Triumvirate.

Ultimately, when the executive team decided they wanted a director in place, Sharon stepped up to the plate.

Sharon, Linda, and Cindy all share similar caregiving skills and talents, and most importantly, they all share a passion for working with babies and toddlers.

When Cindy first started teaching “Mommy & Me”, she thought to herself, “This is a great job. I can do this while my kids are little – it’s part-time, and it’s great to have programming for my kids.” Cindy had taught at the J’s early childhood education center before.

“I have always taught Mommy & Me, that’s my love, and I’ve morphed into a newborn specialist over the years,” Cindy says. “I’ve loved teaching the babies.” (Cindy is also widely known around the J as “The Baby Whisperer.”)

“Now,” says Sharon, “the children who were once in our classes are becoming mommies and daddies. This is happening right now, and our own children’s peers – [mommies their age] – are coming to take these classes.”

“People really like our department!” says, Linda, “We have great teachers – Cindy, Marilyn Harris, Melissa Berman, Miss Bettina (with Music Together) – they’re phenomenal! When you have these all-stars you are really set.”

“Everyday is different,” Linda says. “I meet new people and I get to introduce them to the JCC and everything wonderful it has to offer.  We are really the entranceway to the JCC.”

According to Cindy, “The level of commitment we have is incredible. Our quality of programs is very high – people get an amazing bang for their buck.”

“Sharon, Linda, and I are all caring individuals, and when we see someone that needs extra help, we spend extra time with parents and help them in stressful situations.”

Not only do they work together closely, Linda and Sharon used to live three houses away from one another. Their children grew up together and the J has always represented a central place for their families, jobs, and community.

When the Triumvirate first met their meetings were very informal – Sharon, Linda, and Cindy put together Baby & Me classes on an ad hoc basis. Cindy and Linda taught the classes and Sharon evolved into a full time role, and is now the Senior Program Director supporting multiple departments at the J, including Parenting.

When Sharon stepped up to become the director, Cindy and Linda remained popular teachers.

Rabbi Phil Miller, formerly a JCC Vice President, encouraged the team to “take the show on the road” and begin outreach initiatives into the community. The team took Baby & Me classes into Baltimore City – to libraries, schools, and churches.

Sharon coordinated the classes and Cindy and Linda taught, keeping everyone coming.

“Families wanted more and more opportunities to connect,” says Sharon. “A strong sense of community developed around the classes, and our level of engagement deepened.”

The J decided to get a permanent space for parenting programs downtown in 2013, and the Downtown Baltimore JCC became the J’s home base in the city. 

“I love my job; it’s flown by,” says Linda. “We work so well together, we respect each other, and we make it fun.”

Cindy and Sharon agree.

“We don’t see what we do as a job,“ says Cindy.  “What we do is who we are; This is who I am. This is what I love to do.”

“With Cindy in the classroom, and Linda teaching and managing the parenting department, our programs have remained very steady over the years – it’s no wonder they are still so highly sought after,” Sharon says.

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