JESPY resumes in-person programming and services
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JESPY resumes in-person programming and services

Clients take part in JESPY activities onsite. (Courtesy JESPY)
Clients take part in JESPY activities onsite. (Courtesy JESPY)

JESPY clients were happy to return to onsite programming in South Orange on May 10. For more than a year, they received online program and support services from home, participating in some of the more than 100 virtual sessions JESPY offered.

The array of online sessions included everything from clinical counseling, open chat, meditation, and relationship groups to chess, knitting, gardening, crafts, exercise, and cooking. Now, adhering to guidelines put in place by the Division of Developmental Disabilities, JESPY recently opened at 50 percent capacity, limiting the number of clients who can participate in each activity.

Getting back to in-person programming offers a sense of much-needed normalcy for clients. “It feels a little different to be back, but I like it,” longtime JESPY client Virginia F. said. “I like the fact that I can get out more now and be around more people and participate in activities. I missed that.”

During their first week in person, Virginia and other residents of JESPY’s Och House — A Center for Aging at JESPY, took part in group exercise, sports trivia, and other sessions.

JESPY’s day program also gradually began to return. During a group “welcome back” session, clients talked about what they’d been up to while away from JESPY and what they looked forward to in the weeks ahead. “I enjoyed spending time with my family and trying to learn about new things,” Chris C. said. “But I’m happy to see my friends now and to participate in all the things I did at JESPY.” Chris participated in JESPY’s pre-vocational services, offered by the Work Readiness & Employment Engagement department.

The sessions and services provided by all of JESPY’s departments will continue to be available online for clients who are unable to return just yet, as well as for those who prefer to continue participating virtually.

All safety protocols (including temperature checks, mask-wearing, and handwashing) are strictly observed at all times. South Orange-based JESPY House serves clients who range from 18 to 73 years old and who have intellectual and developmental disabilities.

For more information about JESPY programs and services, go to jespy.org

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