Newsletter for the JESPY Community
Fall 2020 Edition 
Online programming has been the new normal for staff and clients at JESPY. To continue to engage clients, staff has developed several exciting new additions to the SWEA (Social Wellness & Expressive Arts) department’s weekly activity calendar. ‘Pet Therapy with Rosie’ is a favorite among clients and has gone virtual with more than 40 clients recently logging in to participate.

Additional new sessions include JESPY Art Factory; Virtual Dance Party; Scavenger Hunts; Coffee Klatch and Chat; LGBTQ+ Group; and Jigsaw Puzzle Group. Clients have also logged on to participate in other popular sessions such as the ASL (American Sign Language) class, where they can learn the alphabet and how to sign the names of objects and people. As part of the Happy Trails hiking club, clients have taken virtual outdoor trips to the beach and local park reservations to learn about the environment.
Above: Clients participate in a newly-formed online Sign Language workshop.
JESPY just launched another Food Drive for the month of October. The three-item collection will be done as part of the RBG Food Drive. Created by FEED SOmany/MEND due to the large number of local residents still struggling to feed their families as a result of the pandemic, the drive also honors Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

The three requested items include Rice, Boxed milk, and General Mills cereals (Cheerios, Wheaties, Fiber one). The two drop off locations at JESPY are the Green house at 111 Milligan and the porch at 102 Prospect Street, both in South Orange. Items will be collected every Tuesday. For this project, JESPY is teaming once again with fraternity members of Delta Upsilon fraternity at Seton Hall University.

Thanks in advance to all for your support!
JESPY clients and members of Delta Epsilon fraternity take a breather from gathering and packing items for the MEND food drive.
JESPY’s virtual fundraiser, Keep on Believin’ in JESPY, will take place on Thursday, November 12, 2020 at 7pm. The event will honor past board president, Ron Brandt and will feature JESPY clients with a spotlight on JESPY history.
Registration is required to participate. Please click HERE to visit our web site to register or to become a sponsor. Once you become a sponsor, your name will be included in the Sponsor list on our event website. 
Sponsorship at all levels matter. Please give as generously as you can.

Please be advised that after you submit the online payment, you will receive confirmation that your order has been placed. Make sure to click on the green link that reads, “Confirm email to attend fundraiser”.

Our fundraising event will also include a Virtual Silent Auction and Raffle. To donate special items or gift cards please complete the form HERE.
For any additional information or questions, send an email to
The State Agency that licenses and regulates JESPY services and programs is the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD). DDD has recently issued criteria and guidance for the anticipated re-opening of on-site day programs. For JESPY, this also includes our SWEA (Social Wellness and Expressive Arts) and Fitness/Athletics programs.

The 25 pages of criteria and guidance are currently being reviewed by a team of JESPY professionals. The criteria require a full assessment that include:

Individual Needs and Risk Assessment - Client and family/guardian discussions; Equipment evaluation; Staffing schedule and curriculum development; Facility review, capacity analysis; Cleaning and safety protocol and schedule; and PPE procurement and distribution.
JESPY's evaluation began immediately after these documents were made available. There is a specific in-depth process of analyzing all aspects for on-site re-opening. Our assessment and analysis will always take into account the health and safety of our clients and our staff. JESPY staff and clients will receive further updates in the coming weeks.
JESPY’s Work Readiness & Employment Engagement (WREE) program is an important service for clients who are searching for or maintaining employment. While some clients work full or part-time jobs, the department also helps clients prepare for employment by securing job training opportunities at Community Activity Sites or through volunteering. The importance of their inclusion in all job sectors is highlighted this October, which is National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

Like many people in today’s workforce, JESPY clients have had to deal with downsizing due to the pandemic. As a result, there are a number of challenges they have faced. Included among them are maintaining work skills and learning any skills needed to return to work. Throughout the pandemic, JESPY’s WREE staff has been conducting extensive online research and sharing important training videos with clients to further enhance their job skills.
There are several ways that prospective employers can help get clients back to work. According to WREE Manager Lisa Fiore, an employer’s willingness to learn about JESPY and how to best work with the JESPY population is important. “It’s also important for us to discuss their hiring needs and for them to understand the benefits of hiring one of our clients.”
It would also be helpful, added Fiore, if prospective employers could act as resources for JESPY’s employment program so that clients can learn more about various occupations.
“We’d love for employers to schedule a tour to show JESPY clients the types of jobs available at their companies,” she said. “That way, we can determine if a client has an interest in that type of work. Employers can also work in conjunction with us to set up mock interviews and educational workshops to discuss the job skills and education they require for employment.”
For more information, potential employers can email
JESPY client David S. recently reached an impressive employment milestone, celebrating 30 years of employment at the VA Hospital in Orange.
“David is an excellent employee,” said Noah Rolling, a supervisor at the VA Hospital. “I hope to have him for another 30 years. We are very grateful for his hard work and all the support he receives at the job from JESPY job coaches.”

Jessica M. is approaching her 10-year employment mark as a sales associate at Bed Bath & Beyond. Because of her hard work, motivation, and dedication, the company recently increased her schedule to 32 hours per week. Jessica hopes to continue growing within the company and maintain her current work schedule and hours. 

A huge shout out to Michael J., who just marked his 10th anniversary at Walmart. Mike proudly shared the certificate he received in recognition of this note-worthy accomplishment.

Congratulations David, Jessica and Mike!
JESPY recently hosted an on-site flu shot clinic. Conducted by Saint Barnabas Medical Center, 25 clients and five staff members received the vaccination. Thank you to the team at Saint Barnabas for the continued partnership with JESPY and for helping to keep our clients and staff healthy!
Top left to right: A client receives a flu vaccination; JESPY Nurse Pat Taylor (white top, center) poses with the medical staff from Saint Barnabas. Below: Client completes a Covid saliva test.
As part of a recent on-site testing at JESPY's Judi House, 70 individuals, including clients, staff and board members received saliva testing for Covid-19.

Coordinated by JESPY Nurse Pat Taylor, RN, testing was performed by health professionals from the Saint Barnabas Community Health and Outreach Partnership with Accurate Diagnostic Labs. We are grateful to these community partners for this special opportunity and to our staff volunteers who made the process move seamlessly.

With all of the participants testing negative for Covid-19, the event was undoubtedly a success.
October marks the 1-year anniversary of the opening of The Michael Och House, a Center for Aging at JESPY. The former private residence was renovated and made fully-accessible to accommodate the needs of 10 JESPY clients as they age. Funding for the beautiful home was generously provided by the Och family, honoring their father’s more than 20-year Board leadership and service to JESPY.

Generous grants from The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey and The Leon and Toby Cooperman Family Foundation, as well as numerous generous gifts from caring donors, helped fund the installation of an elevator and allowed us to make modifications throughout the house for complete accessibility. 
“The Och House has provided a sense of community among the clients who live there,” said JESPY Executive Director Audrey Winkler. “Their ongoing independence is enhanced and supported by the improved services and programming that was especially designed for them as they age in place.”
JESPY DSP Rabia El-Hamyani (left) and Kinga Lewinski, LAC, Lead Clinician.
JESPY employee Rabia El-Hamyani was recently honored with a 2020 NJACP DSP Heroes Recognition Award. NJACP (New Jersey Association of Community Providers) prides itself on advancing Quality Services for people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, from their younger years into adulthood.

She was nominated by Shared Housing Supervisor Michelle Rampersant-Faulk for consistently exceeding the expectations of what was asked of her within the Shared Housing department. El-Hamyani frequently reinforced JESPY rules of safety and hygiene, which included social distancing, mask wearing, hand washing, and temperature taking.

Kinga Lewinski, LAC, Lead Clinician in JESPY’s Clinical Services department was recently awarded the 2020 Behavioral Healthcare Hero award, presented by The Mental Health Association in New Jersey (MHANJ).

Lewinski was nominated by Sherry Scucci-Hamilton who is the Clinical Supervisor at JESPY. She cited how, during the pandemic, Lewinski along with other staff greatly expanded counseling services to JESPY clients in response to their urgent needs. Within days of having to cease in-person counseling, they selected a platform to use to provide telehealth services; increased services to more clients that needed clinical services; and utilized a range of social media for messaging to clients.

Congratulations Rabia and Kinga!
In spite of not being able to gather together onsite, JESPY’s Athletics & Fitness department has begun providing virtual personal training sessions to clients. The department just reduced the rate to encourage greater participation.

Many clients had been taking part in our group fitness classes but this individualized program is perfect for those wanting 1:1 instruction.
Staff takes each client’s physical needs and goals into consideration when developing a personal training and fitness program. Physical activity has huge benefits for the I/DD population including improved motor skills; better balance, coordination, flexibility, and body awareness; decreased risk of heart disease, hypertension, cancer, diabetes, and obesity; improved mood, energy, and alertness; and increased physical strength and cardiovascular endurance. Interested clients can email for additional information.

Audrey Winkler
Executive Director
 Please visit us at
for more information about JESPY House services.