Newsletter for the JESPY Community
Special Summer 2020 Edition  
Everyone loves an awesome parade! That's exactly what the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ  organized to honor the outstanding work JESPY’s staff has done and continues to do to support our clients during the pandemic. During the "gratitude parade", clients and staff excitedly waved to the drivers in the motor parade as they drove past two JESPY locations. We thank all those involved for their show of support and kindness!
During these challenging times, JESPY is committed to opening up and fostering the lines of communication about race and the current events surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement. To that end, in the coming weeks, we will host a virtual discussion for JESPY clients. The forum will give clients an opportunity to discuss their experiences at JESPY and the world around them; become more acquainted and connected with clients of various races; and offer suggestions about useful activities and sessions that will be helpful to them going forward. A scheduled date and time has been forwarded to clients. JESPY is committed to supporting all of our clients on their journey to independence.

It is imperative that JESPY does its part to help put an end to systemic injustice and continue to raise awareness about the importance of creating and maintaining environments that are inclusive of our population and their specific challenges. As a nonprofit, JESPY is dedicated to equipping our clients with the tools needed to navigate through any challenges they may encounter.
In celebration of  Shavuot , a Jewish Festival Holiday, Friendship Circle recently invited JESPY clients and families to join in a Zoom session to bake a cheese cake together. Traditional holiday meals around Shavuot center around dairy foods. Just prior to the virtual event, clients shopped for the recommended ingredients and logged onto the Zoom event to bake cheese cakes. The baked goods were beautiful and delicious!
JESPY client Virginia F. was one of several clients who participated in the virtual cooking event.
We would like to extend a special Thank You to Ron Brandt who completes his three years of service as JESPY's Board President on June 30th. Ron’s dedication to JESPY, our clients, and their families can’t be measured. During his tenure as Board President, he offered valuable support and active leadership through various fundraising efforts; contributed to the ongoing growth of JESPY and our programs; and encouraged Board committees and Board members to explore new ideas and embrace change. We look forward to Ron’s continued service as a board member. Thank you!
JESPY is excited to announce the appointment of our new Board President, Dr. M. Ahadi Bugg-Levine . Known to all as Ahadi, her appointment begins July 1, 2020. Bugg-Levine began as a volunteer at JESPY House to help clients develop their advocacy skills and joined the JESPY Board several years ago.

Since that time, she has served as the co-Chair of the Advocacy Committee, sat on the Nominating and Governance Committee, participated on the SO Golf Invitational Steering Committee honoring JESPY, and contributed to a number of other Board committees. 

Ahadi is the President of Bugg-Levine, Inc., which is a philanthropic consulting company. She has had an exciting career. Highlights include: working directly with the President of a major foundation, The Atlantic Philanthropies; serving as Senior Counsel in the New York City Law Department during the Bloomberg Administration; and drafting disability laws for South Africa when working at the nation's South African Human Rights Commission. 

She has her B.A. from Wellesley College, J.D. from Yale Law School, and Ph.D. from Yale University. She lives in South Orange with her husband and daughter. 

Photo: Elise Campbell of Elise Campbell Photography. 
JESPY Rocks It – Clients Love It
Virtual programming through multiple online platforms has been a lifeline for our clients, and in fact, for their family members. All departments are engaging with clients virtually, providing an outstanding variety of valuable programming seven days a week, morning to night.

We are extremely proud of the incredible programming that is being provided by our Social Wellness & Expressive Arts (SWEA) department, our Athletics & Fitness department and our Day Program . We have learned that not only are we capable of providing virtual programming, we do it exceedingly well.

Our clients and families constantly share how much they appreciate and enjoy the quality and variety and how important it is to be engaged in this way when in-person opportunities are so limited. As one parent shared, “It is incredible what the staff is doing to help clients feel secure and still engaged in the community.”

In addition, we are providing all client services remotely as well including clinical (counseling), vocational, case management, and daily living skills training.

What’s more, we have “blurred the lines” so that all clients, no matter what program they were registered for previously, can participate in all programs. For example, Day Program clients may participate in evening and weekend SWEA programs and SWEA clients may join in on Day Program activities.

We have seen that our virtual programming has opened a new world for many clients and indeed, their family members. Many never tried to use online platforms in any way, and now that we have taught them how to use these tools, they are experiencing social engagement they would not have otherwise, learning new skills, and having fun. As one client wrote us: “You guys are doing an amazing job for the clients. Thank you doesn’t express how much we appreciate all that you do to make it easier for clients to cope through the pandemic.”
Clients recently had a great time taking part in online activities that included a knitting "meet up", group discussions, and a pajama party, where they provided their own snacks, drinks, and made sure to dress for the occasion.
Prior to the pandemic, we never envisioned that we could hold popular gardening or knitting programs, teach French or meditation, or demonstrate science experiments virtually. Now we have created virtual communities and are providing all these valuable programs and much, much more.
Philanthropic support has long been an essential component of JESPY’s financial sustainability , and with the many hurdles posed by the pandemic, donations from caring individuals, foundations, businesses, and community partners have become more critical than ever.

We are so fortunate that so many people responded to our request for support by donating to our Emergency Campaign, allowing us to generate needed revenue quickly. Thank you!

Our need, however, is ongoing. We will start our new fiscal year (July 1 st ) with a deficit and will continue to monitor our finances closely.
Our virtual programming has been wildly successful with clients, providing them with a sense of normalcy, excitement, healthfulness and entertainment. Looking ahead, we are planning to offer our clients both virtual and onsite programming in order to adhere to safety protocols for reduced capacity, which in effect, will increase our costs. We continue to face increased costs, as well, with special staff coverage in our residential properties, as well as for personal protective equipment for staff and clients.
There are many ways to support JESPY :
·       Consider doing your own fundraiser on JESPY’s behalf.
·       Set up monthly giving with a specific donation each month.
·       Make a gift of appreciated stock. 
·       If you are age 70 ½ or older, you can make a Qualified Charitable Distribution from your IRA to JESPY directly.
·       Matching gifts are great too! Many employers offer them, but if not, ask your employer whether they would consider matching yours.

Please do all you can to factor JESPY into your future financial plans. Gifts of all sizes matter and are very much appreciated.

For more information on ways to support JESPY, please click Here or contact Amy Engel, Director of Development at .          
  “I thought that with all of the challenging news these days,” said Maplewood State Farm Agent, Christine Coster , “that it would be nice to bring a little sunshine to JESPY clients. I know that the change in routines, confusion, and anxiety that we are all experiencing must be especially difficult for them.”

 JESPY clients who recently returned to JESPY’s onsite residences were welcomed back with delicious treats courtesy of Maplewood State Farm and The Able Baker. The surprise took place after Coster received funding to support a local food business for the benefit of JESPY House.

  The sunshine came in the form of colorful, tasty cookies, scones, and other treats from The Able Baker. The Maplewood-based bakery is owned by Julie and Thomas Pauly. It was the local food establishment chosen by Coster to participate in the project.

  Coster, who has been a State Farm Agent in the SOMA community for well over 20 years, is no stranger to JESPY. “I have had the pleasure of helping JESPY House clients with insurance in the past and have been aware of the wonderful work that JESPY does to aid clients live full, meaningful, and productive lives,” she said.
Thank you to our network of great nonprofit and business professionals and the many volunteers who have given their time and their talents so selflessly.
·      BCB Community Bank of South Orange -
Claudine Baptiste, Business Development Officer
·      Lakeland Bank -Beth Johns, V.P. Commercial
·   Nonprofit Finance Fund - Antony Bugg Levine, CEO
·   Semple Bixel Associates - Vicki Bixel, President
A huge thanks to the dozens of groups and individuals who took to their sewing machines to make masks for our staff and clients including: Nancy Fleming, the SOMA Sewing Volunteers- Elyse Carter, Tina Kelley, Jeanne Ng-gillio, Taryn Berelowitz/Mission Masks, volunteers from the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ and others.
Many organizations also donated PPE for our staff including: Friendship Circle, OEM of Essex County, Bergen County United Way, New Jersey Association of Community Providers, SOMA NJ 3D Printers Alliance- Michael Dy, Devyani Guha, the Commers family, Mandi Perlmutter, Dr. Lisa Ellman-Grunther, DDD and a host of South Orange neighbors and others.

 We are so grateful to have these partners' support. Thank you!
JESPY House and our clients have been helping to feed the hungry by participating with Our Lady of Sorrows church in South Orange and the MEND Hunger Relief initiative .

“After two weeks of participating with our clients, our friends from the Delta Epsilon fraternity at Seton Hall called and began working on our food collection efforts,” explained Tara Roberts, JESPY’s Community Relations & New Business Initiatives Supervisor.

  Twenty-one-year-old Michael Pacheco and 19-year-old Colin Popper are fraternity brothers in the school’s fraternity. Their goal, they share, is to be of service to others and dispel some of the stereotypes associated with fraternities.   “We want to show as a fraternity that we’re willing to help other people rather than just being a fraternity that likes to party,” said Pacheco.

  To date, JESPY, its clients, the fraternity and others who have contributed have gathered more than 36 boxes and dozens of bags of food that included pasta, cereals, peanut butter, tuna, rice, canned fruit, and beans. For more information, email or call 862-250-5216.
A variety of beauty items were a great surprise for a number of JESPY clients. The products, which included shampoo and conditioner, came courtesy of the Anthony Garubo Salon in Maplewood. Janine Garubo Austin, who is a managing partner of the salon and Anthony’s daughter, graciously contacted JESPY to ask how clients were faring during the pandemic and wanted to offer some levity to their day to day routines. The result was the delivery of dozens of large bottles of product that were received by JESPY residents and Day clients. Thank you!
In addition to a wide range of articles featured on Tapinto about JESPY's virtual programming and special projects, there were recently two outstanding features that spotlighted JESPY staff and our organization. Our Executive Director, Audrey Winkler , was featured as part of the Village Green website's SOMA Spotlight , where she discussed JESPY's current efforts and answered light-hearted questions posed by Village Green staff. JESPY's Tara Roberts ( Community Relations & New Business Initiatives Supervisor) discussed the various ways that JESPY has been connecting with clients during the pandemic in an article and web interview on NJTV, titled People with Developmental Disabilities Fear Being Overlooked during the Pandemic .
During these challenging times, clients received various food items to stock their kitchen shelves. The donation was courtesy of JESPY’s Catherine Culbert and her work as the Food Pantry Coordinator at Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) .
“Because of the pandemic,” she said, “there were not as many students who were contacting the pantry and the campus was closed. Our shelves were bursting at the seams with these items and I donated the food so that it could be given away.”
  The donation included Gefilte Fish and more than 25 boxes of Matzo, Matzo Meal, Manischewitz cake mixes, canned cranberry sauce, crackers, and other products. The items had been donated to the RVCC food pantry by Wegmans.
One client expressed how much he loved Gefilte Fish while a JESPY couple shared that they were grateful to receive supplies for their cupboard.
Another client echoed the importance of donations, saying, "Wow, this will really help because I am laid off from my job.”

Audrey Winkler
Executive Director
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for more information about JESPY House services.