SOUTH ORANGE - Clouds in the sky held back the rain as a great time was had by all at the S.O. Golf Invitational at the East Orange Golf Course in Short Hills on Sept. 16, 2019.

In support of JESPY House, a non-profit that services adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, nearly 90 golfers excitedly made their way as they played through the 18-hole golf course. Many of them angled for the special Hole-in-One prize of a 2019 Class-A Mercedes-Benz sponsored by Ray Catena. While no winner was announced for that award, there were takers for the Closest to the Pin, Longest Drive, and top Foursome.

Supporters also enjoyed dinner and took part in a silent auction that featured one-of-a-kind jewelry items, Broadway show and sports tickets, and more. The funds raised by the auction contributed to and further solidified other monies raised by the hugely successful event that benefited several JESPY programs.

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“Thank you to everyone for your generous donations,” said JESPY Executive Director Audrey Winkler. “Your donations went to two major projects, one is geared toward our young adults and the other is our Aging in Place program, which helps older clients with their specific needs.” Winkler then went on to the introduce two clients, one from each program, who were heartfelt in the sharing of their experiences and growth while living at JESPY.

Attended by JESPY supporters, event sponsors, and JESPY Board and family members, the event also featured the S.O. Invitational’s “Fierce Female” Hosts which consisted of South Orange Village Trustees Donna Coallier, Karen Hartshorn Hilton, Summer Jones, and Village President Sheena Collum (in abstentia) and Assemblywoman Mila Jasey (in abstentia). Included among them was Deborah Davis Ford, who is Clerk to the Board of Essex County Freeholders and one of the founders of the Invitational.

“We were excited to benefit JESPY House, which works with clients with learning disabilities and physical disabilities so that they can live the best life that they can,” said Davis Ford. “JESPY also helps them to be as independent as they can. What could be more important than that?”

S.O. Invitational’s Rachel Ford announced the golf winners and Deborah Davis Ford introduced next year’s Honoree, the South Orange-based non-profit Cinema Ed. JESPY Board member and Steering Committee event co-chair Stacey Davis gave an overview of the silent auction and available items.

Funds raised at the Invitational will make additional resources available to clients in the way of more targeted programming, job training, skill development, and the enhancement of their physical & mental wellness. The Invitational and its purpose were best summed up by JESPY Board President Ron Brandt.

   “Everyone here realizes that the most important job was to ensure the success of the day,” he said. “Our mission and our goal is to make a positive independent life impact on people with Developmental Disabilities and we work together to make that all happen.”

Lunch and dinner were served at PAR 440 Restaurant and Lounge which is located on the grounds of the East Orange Golf Course.