Newsletter for the JESPY Community
Special Spring 2020 Edition  
“During this crisis, our clinical department has been reaching out to many clients,” says JESPY Clinical Behavior Supports Supervisor Sherry Scucci-Hamilton (MSW, LCSW). “We have been pleased with how well our tele-health sessions have been going so far.”
  According to Sherry, many clients have acclimated to participating in hour-long video conferencing sessions and are benefitting from the connection to JESPY and its staff. The department has expanded its group schedules and now offers groups five evenings per week using Facebook private messaging and their video-call platform.
  Clients who don’t have access to web technology receive counseling through telephone sessions. The department has also recently created its own JESPY Clinical Department Facebook page to further its connection with clients.
  “The entire clinical department is available and accessible for all clients on the JESPY Thunder Facebook page,” she adds. “Our mission during this time is to make sure our clients are healthy both physically and mentally.”
JESPY clients got the opportunity to help make mats for the homeless earlier this year. They created plarn, which is plastic yarn made from used grocery bags, that will later will be woven together to assemble the mats. The session was a Jewish Federation of Greater Metrowest NJ 101 class as part of the Arthur Borinsky Young Leadership Development Program.
Elana Wilf Tanzman, co-chair of the Borinsky class, works with Virginia F. and other clients on creating plarns.
Thanks to those who donated in our time of need
At the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, JESPY launched an Emergency Campaign to raise $250,000. We are pleased to report that as of this writing we have nearly reached our goal, having raised $243,000.

Thank you to all of you who donated – our board members, JESPY families and friends, staff members, caring foundations, loyal donors, and community members. We couldn’t have been as successful without you. A special thank you to our Board Fundraising Co-Chairs Susan Weinstock and Judy Peskin for their tireless efforts on our behalf.

We launched our Emergency Campaign because once we transitioned to virtual programming rather than onsite services for the safety and wellbeing of our clients and staff, we experienced a shortfall in revenue.

Our clients are grateful to be engaged in a wide range of virtual programs through Facebook Live, Skype and WebEx, and to be in constant contact with their case managers, therapists, program facilitators, and other staff during this time of uncertainty. Like all of us, they are anxious to resume onsite programming.

For those who have not had an opportunity to make a donation to JESPY and would like to do so, please click HERE .

Thank you to our JESPY “family” for your caring generosity. Your support is integral to our important work to support JESPY clients.
David Kraiker of the Academy Heights Neighborhood Association recently visited JESPY to talk with clients about the 2020 census and the importance of completing the form and returning it in the mail. As a follow up, many clients did send in their census by the April 1st deadline. It is vital that our community of clients with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities are counted! 
The local South Orange Stop & Shop has graciously set aside shopping hours for JESPY clients during the Coronavirus pandemic. In addition to etching out time for early-morning shopping for seniors, the store started to also make provisions for clients (beginning March 26 th ) to shop Thursdays between the hours of 7:30am – 8:30am. The early time is ideal for JESPY clients, allowing them to avoid crowds and long lines.
  “I like shopping here,” said longtime JESPY client and shopper Andrea W. “I can usually always find what I need and the staff is nice.” Clients can continue to shop on Thursdays during that hour until Coronavirus restrictions are lifted. 
Using modern technology in creative ways, JESPY is currently making sessions available to our 260 clients via web sites and messaging apps. The ‘Live’ sessions provide important links with and for clients during a period when JESPY feels it is more important than ever to provide connection.
   JESPY’s Day Habilitation, SWEA (Social Wellness & Expressive Arts), and Athletics & Fitness programs are providing educational, arts-oriented, wellness, and fitness programming. Online sessions include meditation, indoor gardening, book club, drawing, cooking demos, trivia, relationships, yoga, cardio, and strength training.
  “Our clients are eager to branch out into this online JESPY community,” explains JESPY SWEA Supervisor Nicole Rambone. “They are more social because many are overcoming the barrier of face to face socialization. They are opening up and speaking more freely.”
  Program sessions are available on apps and web platforms such as Facebook, WebEx, Skype, and Snapchat. Not all platforms require downloading an app onto a client’s phone. For some sessions, clients receive an email or message with a link inviting them to join the activity in programs like Zoom and Skype.
JESPY clients are enjoying the interactive aspect of JESPY's online programming. Photos L-R: Cooking, Gardening, and Meditation sessions.
Words of Encouragement
“I just want to thank Jerica and Tabatha for everything you are doing. Your class is therapeutic in itself on many levels (body, mind, having a connection to JESPY, productive engagement, etc). My son is VERY anxious during this time and your class helps. It's great how you both call out to the clients during the class to keep them going. I can see how hard you are working.”
Sharon A., JESPY Parent, regarding Athletics & Fitness sessions.

“I want to say thank you to Nicole, Lillian, Lynn, Dejon, Mike P., Mike D., Gabby, Jerica, Tabatha, Christina, Kinga, Sandra, Nicole K. 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.”
Andrea W., JESPY Client, regarding SWEA, Day Habilitation, Athletics & Fitness programs.

“Let’s connect like this more often (phone and virtually) when things get back to normal." 
JESPY client, regarding Case Management services.

“I live in NY and it's comforting to know you are checking on my brother.” 
Client relative, regarding Case Management services.

“I want to thank all the staff at JESPY for the wonderful work you do for my son. Much appreciated.”
Dr. Barry G., JESPY Parent.

Keeping health and wellness first, JESPY client Steven M. is exercising with weights to keep fit at his brother John's home during this period of isolation.
Organizations around the globe have been tasked with keeping their businesses afloat during the recent pandemic. With that in mind, Giving Tuesday has recently announced #GivingTuesdayNow . The international day of giving will take place May 5, 2020 . Done in addition to the usual Giving Tuesday donation that usually takes place near the end of each year, #GivingTuesdayNow has been created in response to the overwhelming financial need of non-profits around the world. Stay tuned for additional information on how you can help JESPY during this difficult time.
Nearly fifty years ago, the Autism Society began its national effort to bring autism awareness to the general public. Several years later, it launched National Autistic Children’s Week, which then became National Autism Awareness Month. The theme of this year’s campaign is ‘Celebrate Differences’. With one out of every 59 children born with some form of autism in the United States, there’s no time like the present to continue awareness about the symptoms, challenges, and accomplishments of individuals with autism.
Please stay healthy and safe during this difficult period. We look forward to sharing more news and information with you in the coming weeks.


Audrey Winkler
Executive Director
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