Newsletter for the JESPY Community

Spring 2024 Edition 


The JESPY Spring Gala: Invest in Success, which was held at the Crystal Plaza, was a night to remember!

JESPY was excited to honor our dedicated and longtime Board Member Stacey Davis. The event also paid tribute to clients Geri, Andres, Jeanine, Zachary, and Gerry, who shared how JESPY has helped them in their personal growth as well as their journey to independence. 

Event attendees included many JESPY supporters, donors (including Leon & Toby Cooperman), clients, families, board members, and staff.

A heartfelt thank you to all who provided your generous support for JESPY's essential programs and services that benefit our clients.

For those who would still like to support JESPY clients, donor information can be found HERE

Photo left: Stacey Davis (center) with philanthropists Leon and Toby Cooperman. At right: Davis was presented with her award by Board Member and Event Chair Susan Weinstock.

Stacey Davis is shown here with her husband Gene and family.

Photos by Joy Yagid.



Special thanks to The Valerie Fund and Jersey Mike's Subs for their collaboration to donate delicious sub sandwiches to clients in the JESPY House Day Habilitation and Engagement & Enrichment (EEP) programs. Lori Abrams, Director of Development at The Valerie Fund and a talented photographer, brought the sandwiches to JESPY House and took beautiful portraits of clients, engaging and having fun with them with every click of the camera.

Above: clients enjoyed eating sandwiches provided by Jersey Mike's. Below: Valerie Fund Director of Development Lori Abrams, who is also a photographer. took beautiful portraits of the clients.


JESPY client Dan J. and JESPY’s Work Readiness & Employment Engagement Supervisor Lisa Fiore participated in the Inclusive Employment Breakfast for business leaders hosted by the Business & Professionals Network (BPN) at the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ. The event was held at JSDD's WAE Center Heidi Gallery. Fiore discussed JESPY’s vocational program, its services, and partnering with local businesses to employ clients while Dan outlined his employment journey and how his accomplishments have impacted his life.


The event also included presentations from advocates and professionals that included Rebecca Shulman from Jewish Vocational Services; Tammy Garnes Mata from Valley Bank; and Francesca Marie Cwynar of Ethan and The Bean. All discussed the benefits of inclusive employment. Click HERE to learn more about JESPY’s Work Readiness program.

Above left: Client Dan J. shares his work experience and involvement in JESPY's Work Readiness program. Right: panelists explain the importance of supporting individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in the workplace.


JESPY House client Jessica M. was recently recognized at a Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast for her dedicated volunteer work at MEND (Meeting Essential Needs with Dignity) Hunger Relief Network. JESPY issues a special thanks to MEND Executive Director Robin Peacock and her team. Jessica enjoys her work sorting and bagging grocery and personal care items that are donated to the needy.

Jessica, center, is shown here with her case manager and JESPY Community Relations & Outreach Supervisor Tara Roberts; Mend Executive Director Robin Peacock; and MEND volunteers and staff.


The JESPY Clinical Department has just been approved by the NJ Department of Health (DOH) to be licensed as an Outpatient Mental Health Clinic in the State of New Jersey. This additional level of licensure will enable the Clinical Department to grow and extend its reach to service even more clients in need.

To learn more about JESPY's Clinical & Behavioral Health Support Services, click HERE.


Dr. Peter Q. Lee, an emergency room physician at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center, educated an inquisitive room full of JESPY clients about the signs and symptoms that would require an emergency room visit.


Discussion topics included Chest Pain, Abdominal Pain, Headache, Shortness of Breath, Covid-19, and Stroke. Clients learned the common causes, ‘red flags’ – recognizing the signs, when to go to the ER, and treatments for each. During the interactive discussion, clients eagerly answered and asked a number of important questions.

Dr. Lee explained several 'real life' scenarios that would prompt a visit to the emergency room.


JESPY is proud to recognize clients Ari L. and Chloe C. who have excelled and succeeded in their long-term employment at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Hospital in East Orange, NJ! Both clients recently celebrated their 25th anniversary at the VA.

Ari L. works as a File Clerk with various departments. He gathers appointment letters that he helps prepare for mailing by stuffing and sealing envelopes and delivering them to the VA mailroom for postal pickup. 

Chloe C. is also employed as a File Clerk. Her duties include making follow-up phone calls to veterans for scheduling and confirming their appointments. She also files veterans’ paperwork once all calls are completed.

Congratulations Ari and Chloe on your 25 years of employment at the VA!


Photo left: Congrats to Fred Blackmon, a Daily Living Skills Counselor at JESPY, for receiving a CARES Award for Professional Excellence at the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ's CARES Professional Development Day. He is shown with JESPY Manager of Residential Services, Michelle Rampersant-Faulk.

Photo right: Congrats as well to Kevin Barton, JESPY Athletics & Fitness Supervisor, who received the 2024 Leadership Honoree Award from the New Jersey Association of Community Providers (NJACP). He is shown here with JESPY Executive Director Audrey Winkler.


JESPY client Ira H. recently graduated from Seton Hall University with a Master of Arts degree in Diplomacy and International Relations. He is shown, at right, with JESPY Executive Director Audrey Winkler and his Case Manager Sharmaine Jamison. Congratulations Ira!!

Former JESPY client Lily Moritz Bernstein and her husband Jason celebrated a Bris ceremony for their beautiful baby David.

Clients Jeff & Kirbee Stern, who met at JESPY, celebrated their 32nd wedding anniversary this May. Congrats!

Congratulations to Patricia Rouse, Direct Support staff member for JESPY’s Engagement & Enrichment program, who recently wed Shawn Rouse.


An informative Holocaust Education session was presented by Ilyse Muser Shainbrown, Director of Holocaust Education at Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ. She led clients in a discussion about antisemitism, the history of the Holocaust, and how it relates to the world today. 

Clients took part in a Model Seder event at JESPY’s Judi House. The event marked the beginning of Passover. During JESPY’s Seder, excerpts were read from the Haggadah, a Jewish text that outlines the order of the Passover Seder. Mitchell Rottenstreich JESPY’s Director of Operations, led clients in learning history and songs. During the gathering, clients shared stories about their own family traditions.

In celebration of April’s AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH, clients in various JESPY programs participated in an array of activities, sessions, and outings.

The Engagement & Enrichment program hosted a ‘Show Your Spirit’ Week. Clients participated in activities, crafts and chats on Magnificent Monday, Neurodiversity Tuesday, What’s Your Passion Wednesday, Autism Acceptance Day – Thursday, and Sensory Friendly Friday. They also participated in an outing to Paradox Museum.

JESPY Day Habilitation program clients enhanced their learning and life skills by participating in activities that included Travel Training, playing Monopoly (to learn Money Management/Budgeting), and self-advocacy. Educational and enrichment trips were taken to the Town Book Store in Westfield and Verona Park to view Cherry Blossoms.

JESPY’s Athletics & Fitness program participated in several Special Olympics Spring Games. The first was a bowling competition at Bowlero in North Brunswick. They also participated in a Tennis Clinic with students at Seton Hall University and participated in Tennis and Bocce Sectionals in April.

Several JESPY client runners had the great opportunity to participate in and complete a 5K hosted by the South Orange Rescue Squad. Great job!!

Audrey Winkler

Executive Director

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for more information about JESPY House services. 

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