SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — “It’s made a big difference in her life,” says Barbara Tracer, whose daughter Rebecca participates in JESPY on-the-Go. “She can be independent in her life and has satisfaction in accomplishing her daily activities.”

The program, which offers support services for individuals who are living with their families or on their own, was developed by JESPY House, a South Orange-based non-profit for adults with Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities.

JESPY on-the-Go provides in-home and community-based supports in the areas of daily living, community participation, increased independence, and learning/cognitive skills. The service is available to adults who reside in Essex, Union, and areas of Passaic and Hudson counties.

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Rebecca, who lives independently, has been participating in JESPY on-the-Go for six months. As is the case with other participating clients, she was paired with a staff member who works with her in specific areas. Rebecca receives 1:1 support for 15 hours per week.

“I’ve learned new recipes,” she says, “like salsa chicken and sweet & tangy meatloaf. I’ve also made cheesecake brownies.”

Rebecca also receives support with tasks such as cleaning, laundry, and shopping. “The staff helps me find items that might be a little less expensive so that I can save money,” Rebecca explains. “I’m also driven to various places where I need to go.”

The Tracer family learned about JESPY on-the-Go through a discussion with JESPY Intake Coordinator Frank Bresnick. They were already familiar with JESPY but new to the program and became one of its first participants.

“On paper, programs frequently look great,” says Rebecca’s dad, Sam. “What has been so amazing is that the women who have worked with her have been amazing and have made it really work.”

Rebecca’s family thought her participation in JESPY on-the-Go would be beneficial because it offered a 1:1 match with staff, would provide her with a sense of accomplishment, and give her opportunities to learn additional skills and tasks.

“I like it because I’m always learning new ways to get things done,” says Rebecca, who has lived on her own during various periods of her life. “The people who work with me are really nice.”

“We haven’t been very much involved in her day to day activities,” adds Barbara. “It’s the support she needs to have a higher quality of life.”

According to Pat Ruggerio, who is JESPY’s Residential/Community-Based Supports Supervisor, the program provides participants with ways to become as independent as possible and to have opportunities to accomplish goals that surpass their disabilities.   

   “While participating in the program, clients begin to see that there is a life of independence outside of their home environment,” Ruggerio says. “It's rewarding to hear a client say they never thought they could shop without their parents coming along or to see the smile and pride on their faces when they take out a dish from the oven that they made with minimal assistance.”  

In addition to cooking, shopping, and various household skills, other available support areas include money management, budgeting, scheduling appointments, managing time, travel training, interacting with others, reading, writing, counting change, and tutoring in math. JESPY on-the-Go is an ideal service for those just starting their lives of independence as well as those who may be in need of support during various periods in their lives.

JESPY on-the-Go offers weekly support from two hours minimum to 15 hours maximum. To learn more, call Frank Bresnick at 973-762-6909, ext. 302.

JESPY House serves adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities ranging in age from 18 to 72.  Visit jespy.org for additional information about JESPY’s specialized programs and services.