Newsletter for the JESPY Community

Late Summer 2022 Edition 
JESPY is thrilled to have the support of the New York Jets. Not only did they provide our clients with tickets to the Green and White practice at MetLife Stadium on August 6th and the pre-season game against the Atlanta Falcons on August 22nd at MetLife Stadium, they also donated gear to help us launch our entrée to our newly-established Flag Football team in Special Olympics.
JESPY clients with staff enjoyed a pre-season game. Let's go JETS!
When planning JESPY’s last fundraiser, Battle of the Chefs: A Benefit for JESPY House, the Event Steering Committee decided that in lieu of attendee favors, JESPY would designate those funds to support MEND (Meeting Essential Needs with Dignity), an interfaith network with 17 food pantries throughout Essex County.
JESPY recently presented MEND with this monetary donation. JESPY enjoys a long-standing relationship with MEND. Several JESPY clients have regular volunteer shifts at MEND, allowing them to give back to our community in a very meaningful way.
JESPY clients, staff, community members and donors worked tirelessly on food drives for MEND during the pandemic. We are fortunate to have a great community partner like MEND.
L-R: JESPY's Community Relations Supervisor and client Jessica M. pose with MEND Executive Director Robin Peacock, MEND Operations Manager Cameron Johnson; and JESPY Board Member Denise Rekem.
The collaboration of the New Jersey Association of Community Providers (NJACP), JESPY House, and SRS Strategic Associates was recently awarded a second round of funding from the NJ Department of Human Services (NJ DHS), Division of Disability Services (DDS) to continue and implement the NJACP-JESPY Model Inclusive Healthy Community (IHC) grant project that began in January 2021. 
The NJACP-JESPY Model partners with NJACP, SRS, JESPY House, JESPY’s clients, and a community coalition to create a more inclusive healthy community for adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD). The outcomes of the grant will benefit people with disabilities and the community at large. Key project components include enhancing accessibility and walkability; including persons with I/DD on committees that will have an impact on policy, practice, and decision-making in South Orange; and adapting the model to be replicated across New Jersey.
Click HERE for an executive summary of our first year’s accomplishments.
Above: As part of the IHC project, JESPY clients participated in a beautification planting at Stop and Shop in South Orange.
JESPY would like to congratulate our 2022 Heroes Award winner, Frank Bresnick. Currently JESPY’s intake coordinator and case manager, Frank has worked at JESPY for more than 30 years. His roles during his tenure have included positions in the community-based supports, recreation, and administrative departments.

Frank is always there to support and encourage his clients and has guided them in various areas of their lives. As an intake coordinator, Frank has used his years of experience to interview and assess incoming clients to determine their compatibility with JESPY. NJACP Heroes will be honored during a virtual awards ceremony on September 16th. Congrats Frank! Thanks for all you do!
JESPY is excited to announce that South Orange Commons recently received ‘site plan approval’ from the South Orange Planning Board. South Orange Commons, a 26-unit affordable housing residence, is a partnership with JESPY and the Township of South Orange Village, Bergen County’s United Way/Madeline Housing Partners, LLC, and Penwal Affordable Housing Corporation. The development will contain 16 units for adults with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities and 10 units will be for families.
The application was noted as complete by the board and approved with conditions. Click HERE for additional information. 
On June 23rd, competing chefs Chef Ivan of Orange Lawn Tennis Club and Chef Tony of Edgewood Country Club turned Orange Lawn Tennis Club in South Orange into a food oasis. The event was the JESPY annual fundraiser Battle of the Chefs: A Benefit for JESPY House.
Three JESPY families – The Cottingham Family; The Oppenheimer Family; and The Plotnick Family – were honored. Each honoree client found their independence at JESPY through employment, advocacy, friendships with others, and active participation in JESPY programs. The benefit raised over $300,000.
The funds raised support JESPY’s programs and mission of helping our clients lead full and independent lives.
The chefs were judged by guest judges Samantha Pinto, Executive Chef and Owner of The Order, David Massoni, owner of The Fox & Falcon, and John Zerega, manager of Miti Miti – eateries which are all located in South Orange. Ultimately, Chef Ivan was named Battle of the Chefs Champion.

Click HERE to view a video of the event.
Photo top right: Competing chefs Chef Ivan and Chef Tony both cooked memorable and tasty meals. Bottom left: JESPY clients Dawn O., Passion C., and Andrew P. were excited about their recognitions and their experiences at JESPY.
Photos by Joy Yagid Photography.

Keeping client safety at the forefront, JESPY recently purchased five AED (Automated External Defibrillator) machines for use in the event of an on-site cardiac arrest occurrence. The machines are located in several of JESPY program and residential locations.
As part of a continued partnership with Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center, there have been several onsite health-related presentations at JESPY. The most recent (shown top right) took place September 7th and was titled “Strokes: Getting to the Heart of the Matter”. During the presentation facilitated by Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Karen Kiefer, clients learned about risk factors, signs and symptoms, and how to prevent strokes.
Other presentations have addressed “Stress & Emotional Eating” and “Falling Asleep, Staying Asleep”.

Pastor Sviatoslav Hot of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Maplewood was recently presented with a $500 check which represented the funds raised from the sale of Ukrainian flag pins (created by JESPY clients) sold at a Ukrainian Fair on June 5 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Maplewood.
Both Pastor Hot, Father Jim Worth of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Maplewood, and their congregations have been strong supporters and participants in Ukrainian aid. JESPY clients previously donated $1,000 in April from the sale of Ukrainian flag pins. This month, JESPY also made a sizeable clothing donation to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church to provide clothes and shoes for children in orphanages in Ukraine.
Top left: Pastor Hot and members of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church along with Father Jim Worth stopped by JESPY to receive the donation. Bottom right: They were presented with clothing and shoes for orphans in Ukraine.
Lovers of the theatre themselves, participants in JESPY’s Theatre Group recently had the opportunity to share their music and performance talents during a JESPY/Paper Mill Playhouse collaboration. The June showcase included an array of popular Broadway songs.
During the show, which was performed at JESPY in front of an engaged and supportive audience, clients sang show tunes that included “Brand New Day” from The Wiz, “Corner of the Sky” from Pippin, “Friends” from Anything Goes, and songs from the plays Kinky Boots and Spamalot.
“My experience working with Paper Mill Playhouse was amazing,” said JESPY client Chloe O. “I love doing theater because I’m with my friends and I can learn new things when it comes to acting and singing.”
Leading the clients in rehearsals and for the performance were Mary Elizabeth Gismonde and Adam Ziering, Teaching Artists at Paper Mill Playhouse and JESPY’s former Theatre Director Jason Gillis.

Busy schedules have been the order of the day for JESPY clients. Courtesy of The Judi House Fund, they recently went to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway, on a fishing trip off the shore of Belmar, and to the Festival of Ballooning. They also attended a Yankees game.
In addition, clients played mini-golf at Turtle Back Park, attended The Late Show with Stephen Colbert; enjoyed Monmouth County and Asbury Park Beaches, Liberty State Park; and went on a Wilmington & Western Delaware train ride. Upcoming trips include educational excursions to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
On Saturday night, September 24th, JESPY will once again take part in a Smooth Jazz New Jersey music event at The Woodland in Maplewood, hosting a wine bar where 75% of those proceeds benefit JESPY.
Come join us to hear Grammy-nominated recording artist Oleta Adams and purchase wine bar tickets to benefit JESPY! The multi-talented Adams has been wooing fans since the 1990 release of her platinum debut album Circle of One.
The producer has offered a ticket discount to the JESPY community of $10 off each online ticket purchase. Performance and wine bar tickets can be purchased at For the JESPY ticket discount, click on the link, “Do you have a promo code?” and type in JESPY in checkout.

Tickets are going fast, so don’t miss out! The Woodland is located at 60 Woodland Road in Maplewood, NJ.
Sponsored by SOMA Downtown and in conjunction with Sadie’s, a South Orange-based clothing and accessories shop owned by Cat Fisher, JESPY clients will participate in a fun, seasonal Fashion Show on Thursday, October 20th. Scheduled to take place at 7pm, the event will be held in the new Vose & Taylor building on South Orange Avenue in South Orange.


Audrey Winkler
Executive Director
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