Friends of The J

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill

Erika Grasse shares her story.

The IMPACT you can make…

* Provides a one-year partial scholarship to a small family
* Restocks one classroom with school supplies for the next year
* Provides one week of healthy snacks for all of our ECE classrooms
* Stocks our common space art supply closet for one year
* Gives a partial scholarship for youth programming
* Allows a teacher to purchase a month’s worth of special supplies for their class
* Supports the Shay Shay Garden, youth community gardening bed


"My husband and I knew our prayers were answered and this was the place we were supposed to be."

“My husband and I knew our prayers were answered and this was the place we were supposed to be.”

Three years ago, our family went through some seriously rocky times. We’ve always counted ourselves as a successful and strong family. My husband and I work hard, have good careers, and our son and daughter are the pride of our lives. And yet, there we were… My husband’s health was compromised and he had to make an unexpected career change. I was supportive, but we definitely had to make some adjustments in our lives.

The hardest change we had to make was leaving The J. We thought we could never afford to keep bringing our son to school here and our daughter, just born, would not be able to participate in the Early Childhood Education (ECE) program. We simply couldn’t afford it anymore. We struggled through a few months, searching for a new childcare provider and preschool, hoping that another community that would be able to replace what we had at The J, and be affordable on our significantly lower income. But after a few months, we had no success. Not only could we not afford anything that was comparable, our kids weren’t happy at any of the locations we tried.

That’s when one of the teachers from The J told us about applying for a scholarship. I soon received an email with our contract attached. I opened it and was brought to tears; we had been given a substantial scholarship. My husband and I knew our prayers were answered and the J was the place we were supposed to be.

Each year has gotten easier and a little better for us financially. We’ve been able to reduce our scholarship significantly over the past three years as we got back on our feet. We couldn’t be more thankful for these five years with The J. We love having our children in such a great, nurturing environment, and we feel embraced by this community. The JCC has been like a second family to us. The kindness and amazing friendships we and our kids have made let us know we made the best decision to return. We all need a helping hand at some point in our lives. By being a Friend of The J, you’re reaching out and helping families just like ours get back on their feet. Please see your way to extend a helping hand to the families in our community by making a donation today.

On behalf of the Grasse family, thank you Tucson J supporters!


Jon & Erika Grasse