For more than 20 years, clients of JESPY House — the South Orange facility and program for adults with learning and developmental disabilities — have served as volunteers at Daughters of Israel senior center in West Orange, providing support in a number of its departments.
A new grant to Daughters from the Laurie Foundation led to the launching in late December of a stipend program for seven JESPY volunteers who met specific criteria, including an “excellent performance record” by their supervisors.
Upon receiving her first “paycheck,” JESPY volunteer Ellen Warshaw said, “I am so grateful that I work at Daughters. If it weren’t for Daughters, I would not have an income. The extra money I use to get lunch sometimes, pay my bills, and do some extra activities at JESPY.”
Another JESPY volunteer, Thomas Vreeland, said that though he is grateful that his cousin bought him a TV years ago, he is looking forward to saving up his earnings to purchase a flat-screen set.
JESPY executive director Lynn Kucher said, “Daughters has given our clients the opportunity to work and acquire the skills they need to be successful and productive in the community. Our staff is always grateful for the kindness and respect that Daughters has shown our clients. The volunteer luncheon run by Daughters is also a wonderful event. JESPY is so fortunate to have community partners like Daughters who help us deliver quality services to the individuals we serve.”
Daughters is committed to maintaining the program for three years. The $15,000 Laurie Foundation grant covers the first year, after which the program will be reevaluated.
Both JESPY House and Daughters of Israel are partner agencies of Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ.