Newsletter for the JESPY Community
Fall 2021 Edition 
JOIN US FOR JESPY'S VIRTUAL
FALL FUNDRAISER ON NOV. 2nd
In just a little over three weeks, JESPY’s 2021 virtual fundraiser – IT’S A JESPY DAY, will be here! On Tuesday, November 2nd at 7pm, we will honor board member Judy Peskin and feature JESPY clients, highlighting their lives as important members of the South Orange community.

IT'S A JESPY DAY is JESPY’s most important fundraising campaign of the year – and with your help we can make it more successful than ever. Your support allows us to provide our 260 adult clients with programs and services which help them learn new skills and work toward independent lives.
 
We also want to share that JESPY recently received a very special challenge grant of $75,000 – a generous donor will match gifts received from now until November 2nd. We hope we can count on you to be part of this amazing opportunity to double the impact of your gift!
 
Sponsorships at all levels are appreciated and include an invitation to our online event. Access our website HERE to make your gift. To ensure recognition on the event website and during the event, be sure to respond by October 15th. Questions can be answered by emailing events@jespy.org or calling 973-762-6909.
JESPY RECOGNIZES
DISABILITY EMPLOYMENT AWARENESS MONTH
As JESPY recognizes National Disability Employment Awareness Month this October, the value of inclusion in the workforce of clients with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) remains at the forefront of client support.
 
During this month, JESPY’s social media pages (Instagram, Facebook, and Linkedin) will feature images and brief video clips of clients who are employed at a variety of businesses in and around South Orange. Clients will also continue to participate in career exploration walks throughout South Orange, where they learn about job opportunities and become familiar with the types of businesses in their community.
 
In addition, on Wednesday, October 27th at 8am, JESPY and two local employers will participate in ‘Disability Employment Awareness: How SOMA Businesses are Making it Happen’, an event which will be hosted by the SOMA Chamber of Commerce at St. James Gate in Maplewood Village.
 
JESPY clients work in a variety of jobs at companies in Essex, Union, Somerset, Morris, and Hudson counties. Companies including CVS, The College of St. Elizabeth, Impact Consulting, Panera Bread, Turtle Back Zoo, The Christmas Tree Shop, have hired JESPY Clients.
 
For additional information about WREE services or to become an employer partner, please contact 973-762-6909, ext. 208 or email Lisa Fiore at lfiore@jespy.org.
THE INDEPENDENCE HOUSE -
A NEW SHARED HOUSE OPENS AT JESPY
Several JESPY clients are super excited since they recently moved into JESPY’s newest shared house, Independence House. Now updated to be completely accessible with a state-of-the art elevator, Independence House offers clients the opportunity to live in a safe and inviting home.
As an early celebration, former JESPY board member Ron Brandt and JESPY’s Director of Operations Mitch Rottenstreich hosted a special Hanukat Habayit (mezuzah installation) ceremony at the new house.

A Jewish tradition, the mezuzah is hung by the doors and contains special prayers scrolled inside a small case. The mezuzah is a symbol of blessing and protection for all those who enter and dwell in the home. The celebration was topped off by all joining together to sing "Hinei Ma Tov".
THE GRAND OPENING OF
'TICO'S GYM AT THE JESPY CLUBHOUSE'
Recently, JESPY proudly celebrated the Grand Opening of ‘Tico’s Gym at The JESPY Clubhouse’, a new program space at 15 Valley Street in South Orange. The location honors the memory of Albert “Tico” Shikiar, the late husband of JESPY board member, Suki Marsh Shikiar. Close friends and family called him by his nickname “Tico”.
 
The event was attended by JESPY clients, Executive Director Audrey Winkler, JESPY House staff, Suki Marsh Shikiar, and her brother Richard K. Tico’s is a full-service gym where clients receive fitness and Special Olympics sports training. Classrooms are used for Day Program activity and education sessions.
 
The wellness space is important in supporting the physical and mental health of our clients. It’s a place where clients can receive personalized 1:1 training sessions with our staff, learn about nutrition, and exercise in a group.
GET YOUR COPY OF OUR ANNUAL REPORT!
Many of the past year’s accomplishments made by clients and various JESPY departments are captured in the JESPY House 2020-2021 Annual Report.
 
Filled with program and client highlights, the annual report also provides insight to JESPY’s successful pivot to delivering virtual services during the pandemic, community-related projects, client & staff awards, and much more.
 
Look for a copy of your annual report soon! If you are not on our mailing list and would like a copy, please email skimble-ellis@jespy.org.
GAMES, GAMES, GAMES!
JESPY clients recently put their game and strategy skills to the test when they participated in a Nerf ball event sponsored by The Judi House Fund. Clients in attendance enjoyed two full hours of non-stop action and fun.
 
“I really enjoyed it,” said JESPY client Michael P. “It was a great event and a fun activity. I was so excited to come and participate.”
 
During the timed games that had referees and equipment from Lasertag Sports, clients got the opportunity to play individually and on teams that consisted of clients and staff. Clients also played games on an oversized Connect 4 and participated in spike ball. JESPY for the win!
THE HEALTHCARE FOUNDATION OF NJ PROVIDES GRANT FOR AN ACCESSIBLE VAN
Thanks to a generous grant from The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey (HFNJ), JESPY House was able to make accessibility upgrades to our main program site, The Judi House, and purchase a fully accessible Ford van.
Because many JESPY clients have mobility challenges, an accessible van fills an important and critical role in helping JESPY clients access critical services. The full-size vehicle allows for four wheelchairs and has a rear-mounted wheelchair lift which provides safety, comfort, and ease of entrance and exit of the van.
Shown above-right with JESPY clients and staff and JESPY Executive Director Audrey Winkler, Healthcare Foundation of NJ Executive Director/CEO Michael Schmidt and Board President Amy Schechner.
GABBY BREVARD RECEIVES NJACP HERO AWARD
Every year, the NJACP (New Jersey Association of Community Providers) honors Direct Support Professionals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to support clients. This year, JESPY chose Gabrielle Brevard, affectionately nicknamed “Gabby”.
 
During the past year, with COVID greatly affecting JESPY clients, Gabby showed extraordinary compassion and patience. Among other accomplishments, she was a key player in the JESPY Social Wellness & Creative Arts (SWEA) program’s ability to implement virtual programming quickly and efficiently. Congratulations Gabby!
JESPY HOUSE ON 'STATE OF AFFAIRS'
In case you missed it, you can still get a first-hand look at JESPY House Executive Director Audrey Winkler recently discussing important issues regarding adults with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities on "State of Affairs" with Steve Adubato.
 
She delved into the dire need for affordable housing for our clients and some of the challenges faced by individuals with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities. To view the interview, which aired in two parts, click HERE and HERE.
DAY TRIPS ARE BACK!

The September trip calendar was full of fun trips that included Englishtown Flea Market, Apple Picking, Northlandz Train Museum, and Mets and Yankee games. Our clients are so happy to be able to go on day trips and experience a change of scenery while having fun with each other.
SUPPORT JESPY BY PARTICIPATING IN
THE POWER OF PLANTS
Metropolitan Plant & Flower Exchange is donating a portion of their sales to JESPY House. When a customer makes a purchase that is valued at $50 or more, Metropolitan will donate $10 to JESPY House.
 
When making your purchase, be sure to print and complete the bottom of the Metropolitan form, which can be found HERE. Make sure to present the form at the time of your purchase. The offer expires December 31, 2021.
RECOVERY FROM DAMAGE CAUSED BY
TROPICAL STORM IDA BEGINS
The heavy rain that took place during Tropical Storm Ida in September caused major flooding and extensive damage in the lower level of one of JESPY’s residences.
 
Although our Facilities Manager was able to drain the over six feet of water out of the lower level of one of the JESPY-owned properties so that clean up could begin, there is significant damage to all rooms on that level. Furniture, personal belongings, washing machines and dryers, the hot water heater, and all exercise and workout equipment were destroyed. The elevator, an important feature of this accessible home, also sustained extreme damage and is being evaluated.
 
“This will not be a quick fix,” stated Audrey Winkler, JESPY’s executive director. “Gutting the lower level and rebuilding it will take time. Our clients look forward to watching movies, playing board games, and creating art projects once the renovations are done.”
CBS MORNING NEWS FEATURED JESPY HOUSE
It was a great news day on Sunday, October 3, 2021. JESPY House was featured in several segments on CBS Morning News.
 
Prior to the live segments, CBS weather and news reporter John Elliott visited JESPY's Michael Och House – A Center for Aging at JESPY. While there, he interviewed several clients as well as JESPY Board Member Suki Marsh-Shikiar, her brother and JESPY client Richard, JESPY Executive Director Audrey Winkler, and JESPY Shared Housing Supervisor Michelle Rampersant-Faulk.
Elliott conducted the live Sunday morning segments from the beautiful backyard of Marsh-Shikiar. He featured the pre-recorded Och House interviews which highlighted JESPY’s Aging in Place initiative and residence, client experiences, and more.
 
The live airing also put an in-person spotlight on three JESPY clients who excitedly spoke about their employment and volunteer opportunities and participation in JESPY’s on-site programming. Click HERE to view the CBS feature in its entirety.
JESPY AND OUR PARTNERS TO CONDUCT AN INCLUSIVE HEALTHY COMMUNITIES ASSESSMENT
The NJACP-JESPY Model Inclusive Healthy Communities (IHC) project is a partnership among JESPY House, the New Jersey Association of Community Providers (NJACP) and SRS Strategic Associates. It is funded through a grant from the New Jersey Department of Human Services Division of Disability Services to support the health and well-being of individuals with disabilities where they live, work, learn and play.

The purpose of the IHC project is to (1) increase community stakeholder inclusion, awareness and consideration of individuals with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) when planning/offering services and opportunities to community members (2) to improve the experiences and interactions of individuals with (I/DD) when they interact with the local business and community systems (3) to reduce environmental barriers that not only affect individuals with I/DD but other disabilities, seniors and many others.

For information or to get involved, please contact: Tara Roberts, LCSW, QCSW, EAS-C, JESPY House, Marketing and Community Relations by calling 973-762-6909 ext. 221 or send an email to: troberts@jespy.org

Sincerely,



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