Newsletter for the JESPY Community
Winter 2020 Edition  
Dressed to the nines -- clients, families, friends, and staff spent the afternoon socializing, dancing, and celebrating at JESPY’s 2020 JUBILEE – Let Us Entertain You .
    The client winners in various award categories were as follows: Jubilee King – Mike J.; Jubilee Queen – Carly E.; Best Line Dancer – Arielle G.; 1st Place Dancer – tie Regina G. and Louis G.; 2 nd  Place Dancer – Harris E.; Highest Participation in SWEA – Chloe O.; Athlete of the Year – Sean M.; and Most Dedicated Fitness – Sue C. 
Several clients also won a 1:1 session with our talented staff, each of whom will donate their time to enrich our clients. Experiences offered are ­Pet Therapy, Creative Writing, Hebrew Language, Personal Fitness, Basketball, viewing an Oscar-nominated film, and lunch with JESPY Executive Director Audrey Winkler. As a featured music bonus, client Ethan S. sang and performed several musical selections on his guitar. Our 2020 Jubilee was one to remember!
Clockwise: Louis & Regina G. and Herschel S. conducted the blessing over the Challah; Carly E. and Mike J. were the Jubilee Queen & King; awards were presented to Sue C., Chloe O., and Sean M.; Ethan S. performed a musical selection; comments were made by Board Members Kathy Brand and Denise Dimson Rekem; Audrey Winkler welcomed guests; and attendees had a great time dancing at the Jubilee.
Photos by Shawn Brand

Metropolitan Plant & Flower Exchange has extended their promotion to donate a portion of their sales to JESPY House. Extended to June 30 th , you can purchase any of their beautiful floral arrangements which are perfect for Mother’s Day and other special occasions. Or, stop by to purchase all your gardening supplies for spring planting. For a purchase of $50 or more, Metropolitan will donate $10 to JESPY. Click HERE to download the Metropolitan coupon. Phone orders are also accepted. Simply mention JESPY when making an order. There are Metropolitan locations in West Orange, Paramus, and Fort Lee. 
JESPY House Executive Director Audrey Winkler and several other disability advocates recently spoke at a Senate Select Committee Hearing in Trenton on NJ Transit transportation challenges faced by individuals with disabilities. Created and chaired by State Senate President Stephen Sweeney, the committee held a third hearing which gave those with disabilities or their representatives the opportunity to address the challenges and issues they face concerning NJ Transit.
Among several topics, Winkler shared concerns regarding pick-up schedules. “The vans arrive in many cases before the clients’ work shift ends, causing the clients to feel as if they’re being rushed to leave work early. These situations all reflect on the type of employee you can be for a particular employer.”
  Her statements and the issues she shared were part of an ongoing discussion regarding problems that JESPY clients have had with Access Link since 2018.
Her complete NJ Transit testimony acknowledged improvements to the system that have taken place over the past year; and included client incidents; time-window availabilities; accessibility and weather-related concerns.

If fun facts are what you love, join us at the first ever JESPY Trivia Night ! Held at the Fox and Falcon, 18 Valley Street in South Orange on March 8th, you'll get the opportunity to compete for fun prizes and test your knowledge on, well, trivia.
A community fundraiser to benefit JESPY, you'll get the opportunity to play, meet new people, and support JESPY.
The cost of the $25 ticket includes trivia and dessert. There will be Happy Hour Cocktail prices as well as delicious food from one of South Orange's best restaurants. Click HERE to purchase tickets.
JESPY Director of Operations, Mitch Rottenstreich, recently attended the 10 th Annual Jewish Disability Advocacy Day in Washington, DC with eight other professionals, parents, and advocates representing Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ.
While there, the team met and discussed Legislative matters with Tom Steward, the Legislative Director for Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill; Liz Lee, the Senior Policy Adviser for Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman; and Laverne Alexander, the Chief of Staff for Congressman Donald Payne.
The day-long conference, presented by the Jewish Federation and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, also included presentations and panels regarding advocacy, advocacy training, and disability rights (accomplishments and challenges).
L-R: Members of the JESPY Chess Club await their turns to receive their certificates. First place winner, Arthur M., poses with his certificate.
Participants in JESPY’s very popular and highly attended Chess club were recently recognized during a certificate award ceremony. They were acknowledged both for their participation in the club and as winners in a Chess tournament.
"For this game, you have to be able to strategize,” said William Mercer, former Assistant Supervisor for JESPY Day Program. “Chess teaches our clients strategy. They now know that if ‘I do this, this is going to happen’. In chess, that’s what that’s about.”
  Certificates were presented to 11 clients in all. Tournament winners included: Arthur M. – First Place; Evan A. – Second Place; Katerina P. – Third Place; Sadie M. – Fourth Place; and Rodal H. – Fifth Place.
  “I just want to thank William because I was one of those people who didn’t know how to play chess,” said Arthur. “I came in and took to it like a sponge. I would go home and practice. Now I’ve got it.”
  In addition to the certificate presentations, the afternoon also included a decorative cake and party where clients got the opportunity to congratulate one another and celebrate their accomplishments. 

JESPY's 2nd Annual Job Fair, available to adults with I/DD, is coming soon! Make sure to bring a resume and your best interview skills!

DATE: Thursday, February 27, 2020
TIME: 11:00am – 2:00pm
LOCATION: Renaissance Newark Airport Hotel,  1000 Spring St., Elizabeth, NJ

 Employers from retail, hospitality, food service, transportation and logistics, healthcare, and childcare industries have been invited to attend. For more information, please email .
A South Orange Village Center Alliance promotion, #SoHealthySelfie is sponsored by Village Family Medicine and Atlantic Health System. The event lets participants take selfies and share their favorite ways to get healthy in downtown South Orange. To participate, follow @SOVillageCenter on Facebook and/or Instagram. Then, take a selfie doing something health related (food or exercise) at a downtown South Orange business. Tag your post #sohealthyselfie. Prizes include gift cards and a FitBit to a Grand Prize winner at the end of March.
For those searching for the perfect baby shower or baby gift, you can now purchase unique diaper cakes made by clients who are part of the JESPY Entrepreneur Group. The colorful gifts are available as 1-, 2-, and 3-tiered cakes. Customers can choose their cake’s color as well as available themes including animal, sports, and baby boy or girl. Diaper cakes are made to order but several pre-made cakes are also available in a variety of designs.
  Being part of the entrepreneur group gives clients the full experience of setting up and running a small business. The process includes creating products, developing merchandise, pricing, and shipping.
  For more information or to order a diaper cake, email .
The past few months have been full of fun and exciting activities for JESPY clients. Clockwise: Clients learned valuable protection techniques by participating in a self defense class with Sensei McNeil; shared creative ideas in a fiber arts session with artist Judith Symonds; learned about several animals in an interactive activity with Lizard Guy; brought in the New Year with food, music, and dancing; and practiced relaxation methods in a session with Michelle Clifton of Sonic Bowls. For more photos of client activities, please see our gallery on the JESPY website.
Did you know that JESPY also provides a burgeoning service that supports young adults as they prepare for independence?
JESPY on-the-Go offers in-home and community-based supports in the areas of Daily Living, Community Participation, Increased Independence, and Learning/Cognitive Skills. The service is available to adults who reside in Essex, Union, and areas of Passaic and Hudson counties.
  Rebecca Tracer, who lives on her own, has been participating in JESPY on-the-Go for six months. For 15 hours per week, she is partnered 1:1 with a staff member who works with her in areas that include shopping, cooking, and more.
“I’ve learned new recipes,” she says, “like salsa chicken and sweet & tangy meatloaf. I’ve also made cheesecake brownies. I like JESPY on-the-Go because I’m always learning new ways to get things done.” Rebecca also receives support with tasks such as cleaning and laundry.
The Tracer family learned about JESPY on-the-Go through a discussion with JESPY Intake Coordinator Frank Bresnick. They were already familiar with JESPY but new to the program and became one of its first participants.
“It’s made a big difference in her life,” says Barbara Tracer, who is Rebecca’s mom. “She can be independent in her life and has satisfaction in accomplishing her daily activities.
JESPY on-the-Go is also a viable service for those who may be in need of support during various periods in their lives.
  The program offers weekly support from two (2) hours minimum to 15 hours maximum. To learn more, call Frank Bresnick at (973) 762-6909 ext. 302.
We look forward to sharing with you more exciting happenings at JESPY House as we strive to enable our clients toward success in independent living within the community.


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