Newsletter for the JESPY Community

Winter 2024 Edition 



JESPY is excited to announce our Spring Gala: Invest in Success, which will be held on Tuesday, May 21, 2024, at 6:30pm at Crystal Plaza in Livingston, NJ.

The event will honor our dedicated Board Member Stacey Davis and celebrate JESPY clients. For sponsorship opportunities and ticket information, please click HERE.


JESPY recently hosted an interactive Centennial Shabbat celebration as part of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ’s celebrating 100 years of Jewish Community in Greater Metrowest. The gathering was attended by more than 65 JESPY clients, board, and staff. JESPY was among the more than 40 organizations and synagogues who partnered with the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ to host events. JESPY board member Denise Rekem shared remarks in recognition of the Centennial. In addition, clients and guests lit the Shabbat candles and said the prayers over the challah and the “wine”. After that, the group enjoyed a delicious dinner, and a fun-filled time with guitarist Bobby who engaged everyone in Hebrew song and dance. 


The Eisenberg family recently donated a remarkable $1 million dollar gift to the Go Big for JESPY Campaign. Long-time supporters of JESPY House, their gift is earmarked to help expand health and wellness space and programs, increase access to physical and occupational therapies, and foster greater individual and group socialization, which are all essential to clients living healthy lives.


“We are delighted to support Go Big for JESPY’s health and wellness and socialization initiatives,” said the Eisenberg family. “Our granddaughter has loved participating in JESPY’s athletic programs and is thriving. We have seen firsthand how much JESPY does for its clients, helping them to grow as individuals and as part of the community. Go Big for JESPY will provide an even stronger foundation for clients far into the future. We are excited for others to join us in supporting this campaign, because we can’t wait to see this wonderful project come to fruition.”

Clients who participate in JESPY's Fitness program (left) enhance their health and wellness through weekly exercise. Clients also receive valuable health information through workshops like the one presented by staff from the Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center on the importance of hydration (shown at right).


JESPY recently conducted our first in a series of 2024 informational workshops for families. The series launched with a virtual event presented by JESPY’s Work Readiness and Employment Engagement (WREE) department. 


During the workshop, which was led by JESPY WREE Manager Lisa Fiore, families and clients learned more about JESPY’s Work Readiness & Employment Engagement services (including prevocational, job coaching, and job development services), entitlements related to employment (i.e. Social Security insurance and Social Security Disability insurance), building employer partnerships, and transportation options.


To learn more about JESPY employer partnership opportunities, email



During late fall of 2023, JESPY presented ‘Coffee & Conversation with JESPY House’, an informational event hosted by JESPY Board President Dr. Ahadi Bugg-Levine. Clergy from South Orange, Maplewood, and surrounding areas including Summit and Livingston gathered to learn about JESPY’s Clinical & Behavioral Support Services, Day Habilitation and Work Readiness & Employment Engagement programs, and to hear first-hand testimonials from JESPY clients. Some of the attendees included clergy from Prospect Presbyterian Church, Morrow Memorial United Methodist Church, Ukrainian Orthodox Church, St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, and Congregation Ahavath Zion in Maplewood; Congregation Beth El in South Orange; St. Rose of Lima Church in Short Hills; and First Presbyterian Church of Springfield, NJ.

Top right: JESPY Board President Dr. Ahadi Bugg-Levine is shown with Rev. Janice Lynn of Morrow Memorial United Methodist Church. Bottom from L-R: JESPY Work Readiness Manager Lisa Fiore with JESPY client Virginia F., who spoke about volunteer work. Father Jim Worth of St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church.


During the holiday season, JESPY participated in the Small Business Saturday Street Fair hosted by South Orange Downtown. The open air market featured revelers and vendors from South Orange and the surrounding towns. Patrons had the opportunity to purchase everything from art, jewelry, and clothing to various food items and gift items designed by talented craftsmen and women. JESPY clients and staff were on hand to sell decorative buttons and holiday gift tags created specially by JESPY clients.

JESPY clients, board members, and staff sold items, including decorative buttons and festive gift tags, at the holiday fair.


JESPY clients in the Social Action Committee recently participated in their annual Warmth Project to help others in need during the winter. To help individuals stay warm, clients collected new hats, gloves, mittens, and scarves that were affixed in public locations throughout South Orange Village. The clothing accessories were adorned with personalized notes, with words like: 'Please stay warm and dry'. Great job!!


Great athletics and teamwork were recently on display when JESPY client athletes got the opportunity to practice and play volleyball with the Seton Hall girls volleyball team. During the meet up, all of the athletes gathered in small circles to play a few ‘getting to know you’ games and then moved on to the volleyball practice drills. 


“We are thrilled to be working with JESPY House and giving back to our local community,” said Seton Hall volleyball head coach Shannon Thompson. “JESPY House does such a wonderful job of assisting and improving the lives of adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. They come and support us at our matches and this is a fun way we can support them and teach them a little about our sport.”


The partnership between the JESPY and Seton Hall athletics departments will be ongoing. Spearheaded in part by JESPY Coach Mike Buerster and JESPY Athletics & Fitness Supervisor Kevin Barton, the two organizations will continue to periodically practice together and attend each other’s games.


“It was such a fun experience to meet athletes from JESPY House and teach them more about playing volleyball,” said Seton Hall freshman Rylee Nelson. “We all had a great time when we played the six-versus-six game. I can’t wait for many more opportunities to hang out with them.”


“I had so much fun talking with the players and playing volleyball with them,” said JESPY client Ari L. “We’re looking forward to doing this again.”

Audrey Winkler

Executive Director

 Please visit us at

for more information about JESPY House services. 

Facebook  Instagram  LinkedIn  YouTube