SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — JESPY Thunder is the perfect name for clients who participate in team sports at JESPY House. With activities happening year-round, the athletes have taken part in exhibitions, games, won medals, stayed fit, and had an exciting time doing it all. JESPY's team sports include everything from bowling, golf, and softball to tennis, basketball, and track & field. The clients have been busy recently as they joined in several sporting events. 

In March, JESPY Thunder competed in the North Bowling Sections, which took place in Jersey City. Clients won first, second, and several other prize placements during the competition. They also showed off their skills at a recent exhibition basketball match during halftime at a Women's Rutgers University vs Wisconsin game in New Brunswick.

"Clients have a renewed sense of pride,” says JESPY Athletic Coordinator Jerica Best. “They’re taking pride in their hard work. The work that they’re putting into the practices and games is showing. Their sportsmanship has also increased.” 

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The Athletics & Fitness program has enabled clients to participate in Special Olympics for over 20 years. With one of the largest participating groups in Essex County, five JESPY athletes participated in the 2018 National Special Olympics Games in Seattle, Washington.

In March 2019, JESPY client Jane Clark won several medals (bronze, silver) and 4th place in singles at the 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi. She competed in the sport of bowling. Clark also recently won a gold medal at the Special Olympics - Area 6 competition in New Jersey. In addition, JESPY teams brought home Special Olympics silver medals from the Spring 2019 Basketball Games held in Wildwood. 

JESPY clients also build on and enhance their workout skills, overall physical fitness, and health & wellness. The organization’s fitness program includes group exercise and nutrition activities as well as individual workout sessions. Beginning in June 2019, JESPY will open a fitness center located in South Orange that is specifically for adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

“Our goal is to provide a safe and inviting atmosphere for those with I/DD,” Best explains. “We want to improve the participants’ overall health. Our programming will fit the needs of all, no matter what their ability level may be physically.”

JESPY House serves 250 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities ranging in age from 18 to 70. For more information, log on to www.jespy.org or email jbest@jespy.org.