Newsletter for the JESPY Community

Summer 2023 Edition 
On Monday, July 24, 2024, JESPY House announced the largest gift in its history - a $13.25 million matching gift from The Leon and Toby Cooperman Family Foundation. Through their extraordinary philanthropy, Toby and Leon Cooperman have set the bar to encourage the community to meet this challenge through the Go Big for JESPY campaign, dedicated to expanding JESPY's residential facilities; developing affordably priced housing; offering more education and training facilities; providing a new library and technology center, training programs for work readiness and employment engagement; and broadening health and recreational facilities for wellness, clinical, and behavioral support programs. 

“We were deeply moved and inspired by the work being done by JESPY House,” Leon Cooperman said in a statement. “This is an organization that is emphatically making life better for hundreds of clients each year. That alone warrants our support. But beyond that, JESPY House has a thoughtful, achievable vision and a strong entrepreneurial sense.” 

“This is a turning point in our history and will undoubtedly galvanize other funders to support JESPY’s work in providing independence-based services for adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities,” said Ahadi Bugg-Levine, president of the JESPY House board of trustees, who added that working with the Coopermans “was like a master class in smart, focused philanthropy.” 

Audrey Winkler, executive director of JESPY House, also thanked the Coopermans, saying, “This is nothing short of earth-shattering for JESPY. This gift moves us so much closer to turning our clients’ dreams into realities.” 
To learn more about this transformational gift and how you can support the Go Big for JESPY campaign and help to meet the Cooperman Challenge, click Here and Here.
Top large photo: JESPY clients, board, and staff pose with Leon and Toby Cooperman and Marty and Helene Myers (a JESPY founding family) at the announcement of the Cooperman Family gift donation. Photo bottom left: Toby and Leon Cooperman (seated) pose with JESPY Board President Ahadi Bugg-Levine (left) and JESPY Executive Director Audrey Winkler. Bottom right: Toby and Leon Cooperman greet a JESPY client.
Photos courtesy of Elise Campbell Photography.
On July 1st, twenty-three JESPY clients and seven JESPY staff flew to Israel as part of The Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ’s week-long Centennial Celebration. The long-awaited and meticulously planned trip was underway! The group was among 500 participants taking part in this celebratory trip, which also marked the 75th anniversary of Israel. Bus #1 (JESPY and a group from JSDD), which was nicknamed Bus Onederful, visited Tel Aviv and Lake Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), and Jerusalem.
Top Left: Clients and staff with the Federation group enjoying a special Friday night service in Old Jerusalem. Top Right: Clients and staff with tour guide Rotem at the Sea of Galilee. Bottom Left: Making chocolate treats at DeKarina Chocolate Factory. Bottom Right: An early evening visit to Agam Museum in Rishon LeZion where a Federation celebration later took place.
The group visited historic Caesarea (an ancient city and Roman port), joined in on a Federation celebration at an Israeli army base, visited a famous chocolate factory, floated in the Dead Sea, went to the top of Masada, toured Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Remembrance Center, took a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, visited Old Jerusalem, saw an amazing light show at The Tower of David and visited the Western Wall, enjoyed many dinner events with Federation participants – and so much more!
A huge shout out to Rebecca Wanatick, Director of Disability Inclusion & Belonging at Federation, who provided the group with tremendous support and expertise and to the whole Federation team who worked tirelessly in planning this amazing trip. It truly was a once in a lifetime experience. Our clients returned by telling their families and friends, "This was the best week of my life" and "I fell in love with Israel, the country, the people, everything."
Picture perfect weather, bright colors, and competitive sportsmanship were on full display as clients participated in JESPY Color Wars: A Day of Games. Donned in blue, yellow, green, and red t-shirts, clients participated on teams representing their colors. Held at Floods Hill in South Orange, teams enjoyed playing games and sports that included corn hole, kickball, and volleyball.
Clients supported and cheered each other on as some participants learned how to play a new sport and others competed in sports they knew very well. Many clients relayed their excitement about participating in Color Wars.
“This year’s Color Wars was the absolute best,” shared one client. “Everyone was included in every activity. We didn’t worry about which team was winning. We just had tons of fun!”
Softball, a hoola hoop activity, volleyball, and kickball were just some of the games that took place at JESPY Color Wars.
JESPY clients recently participated in self-advocacy at its best! They visited Trenton, alongside members of New Jersey Association of Community Providers (NJACP), to attend an Assembly Budget Committee hearing for the Department of Human Services. The hearing addressed the NJ Governor’s proposed FY24 budget.

The advocacy trip was a huge success, with clients commenting that they enjoyed learning about the process of government. In addition, they found the questions and discussion about allocating dollars to programs for the IDD community enlightening.
To do their part to help alleviate food insecurity, JESPY’s We Care group, the Engagement & Enrichment program’s Social Action group and a fundraiser-oriented group, helped others in need by visiting and filling the community ‘Food Shed’ in Maplewood with grocery items on two occasions.
One client shared, "I did not know so many people were in need, and I feel good that I could help.” 
In the near future, the group plans to contribute non-perishable items and dog and cat food. For those interested in helping with their efforts, the WE CARE group has a box for pet food and a donation basket for grocery items located in the vestibule of the Judi House at 110 Irvington Avenue, South Orange.
JESPY athletes have had a busy summer season! Nearly 60 clients competed in the 2023 Special Olympics NJ Summer Games, which were held in Trenton, NJ. JESPY teams competed in track and field, softball, bocce, and tennis. Their athleticism and successes on the field and court are reflective in their medal wins.

JESPY athletes took home 4 Gold, 8 Silver, 6 Bronze medals in Bocce; 11 Gold in Softball; and
3 Gold, 3 Silver, 2 Bronze in Tennis.

As part of the Inclusive Healthy Communities (IHC) Grant program, JESPY and the New Jersey Association of Community Providers presented a screening in June of the award-winning documentary In a Different Key. The film by Caren Zucker and John Donvan explores the challenges faced by individuals with autism and their families.
The screening was part of the NJACP-JESPY Model IHC project. IHC is an initiative of the New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Disability Services. The NJACP-JESPY Model included various community-based projects involving JESPY clients and was based on the ongoing inclusive healthy community work of JESPY House and NJACP.
The successful screening was attended by NJACP-JESPY Model constituents, JESPY clients and families, and members of the community. The film was followed by an informative question & answer segment with Zucker and autism advocate Anne Wargo.
Shown left to right: Autism advocate Anne Wargo; filmmaker Caren Zucker; and JESPY Community Relations & Outreach Supervisor Tara Roberts.
The Judi House Fund, which was created by Arthur Schechner in memory of his wife and former JESPY Board President Judith, sponsored several fun and engaging trips for JESPY clients. Clients enjoyed a Mad Hatter Tea Party (hosted by JESPY parent and Board Member Sophia Gershman and her husband Michael - shown far right).
A great time was had during a memorable fishing trip in Belmar, NJ on Old Salty II, also supported by the Judi House Fund.
As part of JESPY's Engagement & Enrichment Program, clients took trips to Seaside Heights (row above), Atlantic City and Turtle Back Zoo.
The sound of music was in the air as the talented clients in JESPY's Engagement & Enrichment Program (EEP) recently presented a Client Piano & Chorus Recital. Clients of all performance levels who have been learning to play piano through the EEP program's piano class, performed in an interactive and fun music showcase. Each pianist played several brief songs and the chorus sang a number of popular selections that featured client solos. To hear one of our client pianists, please click the video below.
During the recital, clients performed several brief compositions on the piano and sung songs as part of the JESPY Chorus.
To enhance their knowledge about their community as well as some of the processes of local government, clients at the JESPY House Day Program engaged with and asked questions of South Orange Village President Sheena Collum and Trustee Summer Jones during their visit to JESPY. Clients enjoyed sharing their thoughts and hearing feedback about topics that included housing, pedestrian safety, and new infrastructure developments.
As part of their Mitzvah of the Moment project, staff and a board member from Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ recently visited JESPY's Day program. They worked alongside clients as they drew artwork and wrote notes to be included in gift bags containing school supplies. Clients also helped pack the bags that will be donated to students in need.
On October 1st, JESPY will host its third ‘Family Appreciation Day’ where clients and their families can socialize, share experiences, and participate in fun activities. Families will enjoy a photo booth, food trucks, Zumba, and a caricature artist.
On October 5th, JESPY clients will once again be featured in a South Orange Downtown fashion show at Spiotta Park. Clothing will be provided by Sadie’s boutique in South Orange. In addition to the fashion show, the event will include an interactive DJ and refreshments.
JESPY’s very own Executive Director Audrey Winkler and Day Habilitation Manager Shaleice Jenkins were interviewed by Dustin Dumas on the SOMA Television show ‘What’s Up Around Town’. The feature is in recognition of JESPY’s 45th anniversary. They discussed JESPY’s origin, our many programs & services, and much more. Their interview can be viewed by clicking the video below.

Clients who reside in JESPY's Independence House were featured in the June 2023 issue of SOMA Living magazine. In the article, they discuss their hobbies, experiences as residents in a JESPY shared house, their participation in JESPY programs and services, and their goals and aspirations. Their feature article, which appears on page 7, can be read HERE.

JESPY was featured in the August 11, 2023 issues of the Jewish Standard and NJ Jewish News. The groundbreaking story highlights JESPY's plan to enhance residential and program opportunities for adults with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities. JESPY is grateful for the amazing leadership support from the Leon and Toby Cooperman Family Foundation. The informative article can be viewed HERE.
To heighten awareness about pedestrian safety, JESPY participated in the first Walk Bike Ride community event in conjunction with Walk Bike Ride South Orange and the South Orange Police Department. Held in front of the South Orange train station, representatives from each organization shared information and handed out safety reflector clips and wrist bands. The items were provided as part of the NJACP-JESPY Model Inclusive Healthy Communities (IHC) grant program. To learn more about the program, visit: the IHC website.
The Walk Bike Ride Committee was created by the South Orange Board of Trustees. The group will advocate for public safety and projects include surveying needed sidewalk improvements, adding new bike lanes, and implementing mobility suggestions.
JESPY client Michael J., who also attended the recent event, was formally appointed to Walk Bike Ride’s Pedestrian Safety subcommittee in February. Learn more about Michael’s appointment here:
In attendance were several JESPY clients, Walk Bike Ride Committee Chair Julia Flath, Committee member Alisa Aronson, Sgt. Nick Lonero, Officer Jason Rambally, JESPY Executive Director Audrey Winkler, and JESPY Community Relations and Outreach Supervisor Tara Roberts.
Talented JESPY artists continue their creative journeys. They will be featured in an exhibit titled We Are JESPY: Friends and Faces at The Gallery at Green Door Studio located in Downtown Millburn. The showcase will take place between September 8-10, 2023.
An Opening Reception will be held Friday, September 8, 2023 at 6:30pm and an Artist Meet and Greet will take place Saturday, September 9th at 5pm. The Closing Reception will be held Sunday, September 10, 2023 between 6-8pm.
Under the instruction of artist and teacher Sandra Charlap, JESPY artists have honed their photographic skills and approaches by capturing portraits of their friends and fellow neighbors. Inspired by Humans of New York (a photoblog of portraits and interviews), the JESPY photographers have managed to create portraits that look deeply into the lives of others.
The show is the first group show for JESPY photographers. The Gallery is located at 306 Millburn Avenue, Millburn, NJ.
The portrait shown above right, which was taken by client Debra D., will be included in the exhibit at Green Door Studio.

Congratulations go out to JESPY Job Coach Renee Dubuisson on the birth of her son Liam Robinson who was born on May 11, 2023 at 9Lb and 2 ounces.

Congrats to JESPY Accounting Clerk Ting Ting Fu on the birth of her son Wyatt JingHan Johnson. He was born at 7 pounds and 11 ounces.

Congratulations as well to JESPY Nurse Pat Taylor on the arrival of her sixth grandchild Brycen Quinton Liam Hill. Born June 1, 2023, he weighed in at 6Lb and 12 ounces. Congrats also to Brycen's mom Brittany!
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Audrey Winkler
Executive Director
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