In honor of the first annual JESPY Shout Out Awards, several JESPY clients recently presented SHOUT OUT Awards to their favorite South Orange businesses. Over the course of several days, the clients gave awards to fifty businesses in all. The stores included Stop and Shop, Spa Lady, 7-Eleven, Garden State News, Rite-Aid, Carvel, The Leather Shop, Pet Wants, The Local Yarn Store, Bay Leaf Redefined Indian Cuisine, Dunkin Donuts, South Orange Fire Department, Ashley’s Marketplace, and others.

“I thought it was really wonderful,” said JESPY client Janet Alleman. “It was a great experience and opportunity to get out there and tell the businesses how we feel about them and how they have helped us.”

The JESPY clients either patronize or work at the selected shops. The awards were given to the stores that the clients felt were most receptive, accommodating, and kind. Chosen by over 100 JESPY clients, the businesses were also recently recognized with messages of thanks and artwork that were placed in the front window of the former Blockbuster store on South Orange Avenue. During the presentations, clients shared with each store owner the reasons that they were chosen to receive the award. 

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“The award means so much more coming from the JESPY House clients,” said Jack Denelsbeck, co-owner of Pet Wants. “It makes us feel that we’re a true part of the community.” 

Several of the clients enjoy knitting and are proud of the items they’ve made. They were excited to share their appreciation with the store’s owner. “Watching their knitting skills grow is reward enough, said Irina Lester, who owns The Local Yarn Store, “and I really appreciate the award.”

JESPY House serves 250 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities ranging in age from 18 to 70. For more information, log onto