Newsletter for the JESPY Community
Summer 2019 Edition  
Join us on September 16 th !
You still have time to support our biggest fundraiser of the year: the  2019 South Orange Golf Invitational for JESPY to be held on Monday, September 16, 2019 at the East Orange Golf Course in Short Hills.
Here's how you can help:
  • Become a sponsor
  • Purchase a golf foursome
  • Buy tickets to our dinner, which will feature a fabulous Silent Auction.
  • Place your business ad or personal message in our online ad journal.
Proceeds will support JESPY’s Transition services for young adults and our Aging in Place initiative.
  • Registration - 12:00pm
  • Shotgun Start - 1:00pm
  • Dinner/Silent Auction - 6:00pm
Click  Here   for additional information.
Clients from JESPY’s Day and Transitions Programs recently joined representatives from Weichert Realty to help plant and water flowers in front of The Michael Och House – A Center for Aging at JESPY. The project was headed by Joanne Tedesco-Kloud, Sales Manager of Weichert’s Short Hills office and JESPY Board member and realtor Suki Marsh-Shikiar.
  “We found this house for JESPY,” said Marsh-Shikiar, “We wanted to make the house look pretty while it’s in transition and under construction. Getting help from the clients is an added bonus.” The new aging in place residence will soon become home to nine JESPY clients.
A big congratulations to Robert Slater, Supervisor of JESPY’s WREE (Work Readiness and Employment Engagement) department. He was chosen as an honoree at the 2019 Lester Z. Lieberman Humanism in Healthcare Awards. Rob's recognized work includes:
  • Advocating for JESPY clients
  • Supervising their employment status
  • Coordinating and stepping in to assist with transportation
  • Building relationships with employers and more.
  The awards are sponsored by The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey. Well-deserved Rob!!
JESPY'S J-Street Band (left) put on a great performance. (Right) Attendees danced to the music of the band Vasco.
Everyone enjoyed playing games, winning prizes, and watching JESPY staff take part in the dunk tank.
This year’s Rock the Block (D.A.P. Fest) was one to remember! The interactive games and dunk tank kept the attendees and clients engaged and amused. The music was high-energy and sounded great.
  “This was a fabulous fun Rock the Block event!” said JESPY Executive Director Audrey Winkler. “Our own J Street Band and JESPY Glee Club and a number of other performers played and entertained everyone for five hours.”
  In addition to JESPY clients and staff, the event was attended by several Board members and clients from Arc of Essex County and Onward Foundation. Performers also included fire dancer Natasha McGarry, and music entertainers Vasco and Dutch 40.
   Kudos to SWEA Facilitator Michael Preston for taking the lead on the event and to the SWEA program staff for making the day an enjoyable time for all. 
JESPY’s Assistant Business Manager Shewita Meles (left) attended Maplewood Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 Distinguished Service Award Dinner at the Maplewood Country Club on May 23 rd . A true celebration of the Maplewood and South Orange communities, the event honored Claudine Baptiste and BCB Community Bank. Shewita is shown here with Claudine Baptiste, BCB’s Business Development Manager. BCB was also recently honored at JESPY’s Community Appreciation Dinner. 

On June 25 th , JESPY held its first Annual Board Meeting to outline highlights from the past fiscal year and present Board Committee updates. The meeting was attended by Board Members, JESPY staff, clients, and family members. Key among the items reported were the following:

  •  JESPY has made a great deal of headway with advocating for service improvement with Access Link through the NJ Transit Board of Directors.
  • Advocating for affordable housing took a front seat this year. Our strong standing with the Village of South Orange led to a commitment to develop a 40-unit affordable housing project which JESPY will own and operate with 20 units specifically for our JESPY clients.
  • The Michael Och House, A Center for Aging at JESPY will become home to nine clients by late summer, placing JESPY on the path toward being the first of its type in NJ.
  • JESPY held a two-day Symposium in October, Aging in Place for Adults with I/DD, providing professionals and families with the most cutting edge information.
  • Our Day Program achieved tremendous growth this year with a 35% increase in clients. Transitions (young adult) clients gained more hands-on experience in the workplace with our growth from one to ten job training/job sampling sites.
  • JESPY launched a new service, JESPY-on-the-Go, to provide community-based supports to individuals living at home in the surrounding area.
  • Our WREE (Work Readiness & Employment Engagement) department found over 30 new job placements this year including Newark Airport and AMC. 
  • JESPY established PACE (Preparation, Assessments, Competencies for Employment) to provide clients currently not working with a skills training curriculum that includes job sampling. 
  • Client activities were greatly enhanced by The Judi House Fund who co-sponsored many client events including Rock the Block, Color Wars, Rhonda Badonda and a Theater group.
  • Sports engaged 130 clients in everything from golf, volleyball, bowling, softball, and basketball to track & field, and tennis with clients winning 175 medals in competition sporting events. JESPY client Jane Clark attended the Special Olympics World Games and medaled in bowling, garnering wonderful press coverage.
  • Extensive participation in fairs, conferences, and school special education programs led to greater visibility across county and state lines and increased interest in JESPY.
  • Audrey Winkler, Executive Director of JESPY, was appointed to Governor Phil Murphy’s DDD Fee for Service Oversight Board, providing access and opportunity to help evaluate FFS processes and recommend improvements.
  • Development activities resulted in several grants, and special and annual gifts to support JESPY initiatives, with client families increasing their commitment to philanthropic support. The JESPY Gala, our board-led fundraiser raised over $228,000 for client financial aid and important program development.
(Left) The JESPY Entrepreneurs club. (Right) Clockwise: JESPY's nurse Pat Taylor; SWEA Supervisor Shay Remillard; Director of Development Amy Engel; Executive Director Audrey Winkler; and Cecilia Greene, Director of Griswold Home Care.
JESPY recently received a financial donation from the Jean Griswold Foundation that will go directly toward the JESPY Entrepreneur’s diaper cakes business. JESPY clients roll, assemble, and decorate each three tier diaper cake. Sales of diaper cakes help our clients by providing them with a paycheck.
Griswold provides home care services for the elderly, those with disabilities, and anyone else who may need assistance. “We chose JESPY because they do great work,” said Cecilia Greene, Director of Griswold Home Care in South Orange. “We have worked with JESPY clients in the past and love what the organization means to them.”
After discovering that several girls couldn’t attend a weekend Boy Scout outing because of financial constraints, thirteen-year-old Kate Kepuladze started a fundraiser.
A member of Boy Scout Troop 168 in Union, Kate and several other girls in the Troop began writing letters to women in leadership roles.
To date, she has raised funds from a staff member at the United Nations, received a donation from JESPY, and is continuing to raise funds.
Kate has visited JESPY on several occasions and uses the JESPY House cookbook on camping trips. Thanks Kate for highlighting our client developed cookbook to the whole troop. Go Kate!
Do you have a car that is in good shape that you no longer use or want? Then consider donating it to JESPY! Your car will allow us to bring clients to doctor appointments and activities when alternative means of transportation are unavailable. Plus, you will receive a tax deduction for your donation. To find out more, contact Amy Engel at 
COMING SOON! The JESPY Job Fair will take place October 30, 2019 . Open to all people with disabilities, the fair is a wonderful employment opportunity and will be held at the Renaissance Newark Hotel in Elizabeth from 11am – 2pm. Join us for on-site interviews, resume assistance, and more. Potential employers in the areas of retail, food service, hospitality, transportation, healthcare, and more will be on site. A keynote speaker will be announced soon. As the date approaches, log on to the for additional information. 

Congratulations to JESPY client Lily Moritz on her recent nuptials. Lily got married to Jason Burnstein in June! We wish them a wonderful future together!
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.