SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - JESPY House held its annual Community Appreciation Night at Giorgio’s Restaurant, which was attended by JESPY House staff, board members, and supporters.

Tara Roberts, who manages Marketing and Community Relations for JESPY House, welcomed all and thanked members of the South Orange Board of Trustees, JESPY House staff, and the various businesses who hire JESPY House clients for their support. Roberts also thanked the South Orange Rescue Squad, South Orange Fire Department, Village President Sheena Collum and Trustees Steve Schnall, Mark Rosner and Deborah Davis Ford for all they do for JESPY House.

Roberts also noted that JESPY House is celebrating its 40th year in operation, and that it began In 1978 when a few families came together to start the organization, serving four clients that first year. Now, JESPY House serves over 250 clients, many of whom live and work in South Orange and Maplewood.

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Roberts mentioned the recent acquisition of a new home that will be utilized  for people to “Age in Place." 

Robert Slater and Michelle Rampersant-Faulk, Work Readiness – Employment and Engagement Supervisors, presented Certificates of Appreciation to two business for their support in hiring JESPY clients.

Seton Hall University received the first award, which was accepted by Marth Loesch who spoke about a Jespy employee who started on a volunteer-trainee basis, and now is a valued, paid employee who knows everything about doing his job.

The UPS Store, which employs two JESPY clients, was also recognized with an award that was accepted by Lauren Nowalski.

Stop n Shop, CVS, the South Orange Maplewood School Disctrict Board of Education and the South Orange Animal Hospital were also recognized for their support of JESPY House.

Audrey Winkler, Executive Director of JESPY House, also thanked all for their support of the organization,  and spoke about the support and feeling of welcome they receive from South Village both on a administrative level, and in ongoing support from first responders and local officials.

Winkler shared that the feeling of welcome and openness makes it wonderful to be part of the community, and presented Collum with a glass tray, provided by Barbara Heisler of Glassroots in Newark, which was made for the occasion with the inscription JESPY House salutes the Village of South Orange for its commitment to our clients.

Collum added how much the Village enjoys having JESPY House clients living and working in town, and how rewarding it is to all involved to be able to assist JESPY HOUSE in their mission.

Roberts was also thanked for her contributions and congratulated for her 25 year career with JESPY House.