Our Team

Meet Our Team

karen abrams

Karen Abrams
Director, Sunrise Day Camp-Chicago

Camp is Karen’s passion! She has more than 30 years of camping experience working at Camp Agawak, Camp Kawaga, Camp Horseshoe and Sunrise Day Camp-Chicago. She also was an early childhood educator in the camp off-season. Karen loves watching campers and staff learn and grow in a safe and supportive environment. With all the pressures in life, Karen believes camp is the place where children can let go, be themselves and take healthy risks.

Karen’s favorite thing about summer is watching friendships form and seeing campers and counselors learning, growing, and trying new things. Karen met her husband as counselors at camp, and they now have three children, Tyler, Elly and Kylie, a dog named Miles and live in Buffalo Grove. 

leslee cohen-lavin

Leslee Cohen-Lavin
Manager of Operations, Sunrise Day Camp-Chicago

Camp has always held a special place in Leslee’s heart. She grew up going to camp at JCC Chicago and later became staff, working as a counselor and then Assistant Unit Head in the late 90’s.

Before joining Sunrise Day Camp-Chicago, Leslee served as a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) and worked at Nationwide Children’s Hospital for 6 years. She holds a B.S. in Human Development & Family Science, specializing in Child and Family Studies from Ohio State University and a master’s degree in Family & Consumer Sciences, specializing in Child Life Studies from Illinois State University. Leslee is beyond thrilled to continue pursuing her passion for camp and can’t wait to get to know all the Sunrise Day Camp-Chicago families and campers.

jennifer zislis

Jen Zislis
Director of Operations, JCC Chicago

Jennifer has over twenty-five years of experience in JCC Chicago’s early childhood and day camp programs. She was a counselor and unit head and later became an Assistant Director. During her tenure she was the Director of Camping and Children/Family Services at Bernard Horwich JCC, Assistant Director of “Z” Frank Apachi Day Camp and established Elaine Frank Apachi Day Camp at Lake County JCC in Lake Zurich, where she served as its’ Director for ten years. Jennifer returned to JCC Chicago to focus on Sunrise Day Camp-Chicago’s hospital affiliations, Sunrise on Wheels and SunriseWALKS Chicago, among other responsibilities, after a hiatus as Vice President of Berkson and Sons Ltd., where she focused on residential property management and commercial brokerage.