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(201) 996-9100 Bergen / (201) 533-4407 Hudson
Newsletter Winter 2019

Newsletter Winter 2019

hip Newsletter Winter 2019


hip’s Newest Initiative:  SAFE AND SECURE SOLUTIONS

Have you ever had a key break off in a lock but didn’t want to call a locksmith because of the cost of the service call?

Are you still keeping a spare key under the mat hoping that no one will know it’s there?

Do you simply need to change the locks on your door to protect your security?

hip has the answer to this and other questions that you may have about protecting your personal space and make it easier for you to come and go in the community. We have launched our latest service, Safe and Secure Solutions in an effort to help individuals with disabilities and seniors pay for the costs associated with:

  • The cost of a locksmith service call (up to $125).
  • The provision of lock boxes that are designed with a secure code that you can set and share with a trusted friend, your home health aide or the Meals on Wheels volunteer.
  • The provision of up to three door locks to ensure your safety if you need to change the locks for any reason.

This service has been made possible by the Bergen County Division of Community Development through their Community Development Block Grant Program.  The application process is very simple.  To qualify you need to be:

  • a person with a disability (18-60) or
  • a person over age 60 and
  • a Bergen County resident

The guidelines for financial eligibility are based on individual and family income and will consider the cost of extraordinary medical expenses.

Our Care Managers will be on the lookout for those in need as a part of their home visit assessments but you can also be evaluated by calling the hip Bergen office and asking for Maria who will send out an application packet.

hip’s Annual Dinner Dance

Saturday, April 6th is Game Day for hip’s Annual Dinner Dance and Night of Entertainment!  This year’s theme is Baseball, as we Take You Out to the Ballgame at the Fort Lee Recreation Center (1500 Stillwell Avenue) with First Pitch at 6:30 p.m.  The evening will feature our Hall of Fame DJ Gary Morton as well as dining, dancing and the chance to win an array of prizes.  During the 7th Inning Stretch we will introduce the members of hip’s very own All-Star team comprised of individuals who have been Most Valuable Players to hip’s growth and success over the years (see page 3).

Invitations are in the mail, but if you haven’t received yours tickets can be purchased by calling Trish Carney in the Bergen office at 201-996-9100, ext. 11.  Tickets are $50 per person and must be reserved no later than Friday, March 29th.

Don’t Strike Out!  Step Up to the Plate now and get ready for a fun-filled evening!

Stepping Out With hip!!!

We are pleased to announce that hip has received a grant from the Fund for the New Jersey Blind to provide Ballroom dance lessons to hip consumers who have vision loss.

The dance instructor, an individual who also has vision loss, wants to share his passion for ballroom dancing by giving our consumers the opportunity to prove that they can get out on a dance floor and freely strut their stuff. This is all about stepping out of our comfort zones and trying new things.  Participants are guaranteed to gain confidence and become even more empowered to take on new challenges.

There will be a total of six 3-hour lessons spread over March, April and May offered in 2 locations. On the first Wednesday of each month the lessons will be given at The Temple Beth Or in the Township of Washington and on the fourth Monday of March and April and the third Monday of May (due to the Memorial Day holiday) at The Secaucus Public Library. In June we will have a celebratory Tea Dance where everyone can try out their new skills.

This initiative has been met with enthusiasm from our consumers and we’re really looking forward to seeing what the instructor has in store. He will use lots of verbal and tactile ways to communicate so all can easily follow the instructions.  We will have a DJ present for all 7 events and will be providing refreshments so call Trisha at 201-996-9100 ext. 19 if you’re interested in signing up.

hip’s Annual Meeting

On Thursday, November 8th hip’s Board, staff and consumers gathered at the Fort Lee Recreation Center for our 2018 Annual Meeting.  Following a light supper President/CEO Brian Fitzgibbons reviewed hip’s many accomplishments during the past year, and elections and re-elections to the hip Board of Trustees took place.  Mary Turner, a Registered Nurse from Dumont, was elected as a new member of the Board while Karen Canellos, Lottie Esteban, Rick Hodgman, Anna Navatta and Joe Tomasko were re-elected to new terms.

A last minute emergency prevented the scheduled keynote speaker, Bergen County Surrogate Michael Dressler, from attending the meeting.  In his place former hip Board member Paul Aronsohn, the recently appointed Ombudsman for Individuals with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities and their Families in Governor Phil Murphy’s administration, shared the duties of his position with the audience.  He was followed by a presentation by hip Board Chair Anna Navatta, an attorney at Northeast New Jersey Legal Services, who discussed the importance of making a will.

The Calendar Raffle is Coming Back!

Watch your mail in April for a chance to buy a ticket in our Annual 66 $unny Day$ of $ummer Calendar Raffle!  We’re starting one month later this year, with tickets drawn each weekday during July, August and September.  Five winning tickets will be drawn each week, with a specific cash prize designated for each day.  With the purchase of just one $20 ticket you’ll have 66 chances to win – and if you do win, your ticket will be re-entered into the raffle for the chance to win again!  You could even be the lucky winner of the grand prize of $200 on September 30.  Remember, you have to be in it to win it!  Good Luck!!!

Braille by MTS

The hip project, Multimedia Transcription Services (MTS) is celebrating 25 years committed to promoting literacy and equal access to written information for those who are blind and use braille for reading.

We are using this silver anniversary to expand our reach beyond the schools that we typically serve and have contacted libraries, museums, theaters and hospitals to make them aware that braille removes obstacles to success and improves the enjoyment of all print material for braille readers. We will continue to offer personalized services such as newsletters, agendas, invitations and announcements.

We are redesigning our marketing materials, revising our name to “Braille by MTS” to get a better position on web searches and creating a separate website. We continue to offer competitive pricing and are proud of our reputation in the business of hiring only the best seasoned transcribers in the country.

We are happy to respond to all braille inquiries and requests at all times.

We Mourn…

The following members of our hip family passed away in February:

Jim Corbett, long-time member and advocate

Elizabeth (Bette) Pfeuffer, mother-in-law of hip President/CEO Brian Fitzgibbons

Sylvia Schwartz, Life Member, long-time generous benefactor and step-mother of hip Founding President/CEO Eileen Goff

Meet hip’s All Star Team!

In keeping with the Baseball theme of this year’s Dinner Dance we are pleased to recognize the following individuals who, as Most Valuable Player’s in a variety of positions, have contributed to hip’s growth and success over the years.  Our All-Star Team is comprised of the following players:

EILEEN GOFF, the Founding President/CEO of hip, is a Champion of Independent Living!  In 1980 she secured federal funding which established Heightened Independence and Progress as the first Center for Independent Living in New Jersey.  Dedicated and forward-thinking, for thirty-seven years she directed hip’s growth as she developed a variety of programs to enhance the lives of individuals with disabilities.  Eileen has been a tireless advocate in supporting the full inclusion of people with disabilities in their communities as well as a role model for countless individuals with vision loss and a Disability Ambassador for the able-bodied community.  In recognition of her life’s work, in 2018 Eileen received a $5,000 Making a Difference Award from the Russ Berrie Foundation which she directed to hip to support our consumers in attaining their highest level of independent living.

CHRIS BLACK has been an Angel to hip families each Christmas for over 15 years.  If she wore a red suit we would call her Santa Claus!  Through her caring efforts as the Coordinator of the Giving Tree at St. Peter the Apostle Church in River Edge, a countless number of individuals and families who would have otherwise been forgotten during the holidays have received an abundance of gifts including warm clothes, linens and household items, toys and supermarket gift cards each year.  Modest about her efforts on behalf of others, Chris and her family have also provided generous financial support when an emergency situation arose for a family affiliated with hip.

LILLIAN CIUFO was a dedicated member of the hip Board of Trustees for more than a quarter of a century, from 1991 to 2017.  As our Fundraiser Extraordinaire, Lillian aligned hip with numerous new and unique sources of income which enabled our Center for Independent Living to become a vibrant organization for people with all disabilities.  Following the untimely death of her only daughter in 2000, she directed that memorial contributions be sent to hip which resulted in the establishment of Laura’s Legacy, a fund administered by hip which provides financial assistance to individuals and families when one-time support can make a difference in their lives and no other funding is available.  Lillian organized many fundraisers to benefit hip as well as others specifically for the benefit of Laura’s Legacy, and to date this fund has provided over $45,000 worth of assistance to hip consumers.  It is also thanks to Lillian that we found our must-have Hall of Fame DJ Gary Morton to entertain us at our Dinner Dance each year!

JEAN CSAPOSS joined the hip Board of Trustees in 1988 and ended her tenure thirty years later in 2018.  During this time she shared her leadership skills as she served one-term as Second Vice-President as well as multi terms as Board President, and was an active member or chairperson of many Committees including the Executive, By-Laws, Nominating and Fund Development Committees.  She was also a key player on the Relocation Committee when hip moved from Englewood, where it started as a program of another social service agency, and leased its own office space in Hackensack.  Jean also served as Editor of hip’s newsletter for many years and has been the literary genius for many of hip’s brochures and other publications.  A Life Member, Jean has been a generous supporter of hip over the years.

RHEA HESS has been a dedicated hip volunteer for over 30 years.  When seeking meaningful activities after retiring from a career in retailing and semi-retiring from a catering company, she met hip’s Executive Director Eileen Goff, a former neighbor with whom she had lost touch with who mentioned that she needed a reader, and as the saying goes, “the rest is history.”  Volunteering at hip practically became a full-time job for Rhea, as she not only served as a reader but also tracked the agency’s inventory of office supplies, duplicated audio-cassettes, managed the consumer database for mailings, and chaired our Annual Pot O’ Gold Raffle for many years.  Rhea retired from these duties earlier this year as she prepares to relocate out of state.  We thank you Rhea for many jobs well done and wish you all good things in this next chapter of your life!

JOHN KOCH, a Life Member of hip, has been providing financial support to our Center for Independent Living in a variety of ways for many years.  A dedicated Rotary Club member for over 50 years, John lives their motto of “Service Before Self” in his everyday life as he tirelessly works to assist individuals in need.  He has a special passion for the Rotary’s Gift of Life Program, a worldwide human assistance initiative intended to help the children of the world who are in need of corrective heart surgery.  John is truly a Goodwill Ambassador for hip as he cultivates a mutually supportive relationship between hip and his fellow Rotarians.

MARTHA MULLIGAN has also been an Angel to hip’s consumers each Christmas for many years.  A parishioner of St. Peter the Apostle Church in River Edge, Martha is the #1 Elf to Santa (aka Chris Black)  as she helps to make Christmas special for a countless numbers of consumers who do not receive gifts from anyone else.  Martha downplays her efforts, but each year she is the one who carefully checks that the items requested by hip’s consumers have been purchased, and if necessary does last-minute shopping to secure their “perfect gift.”  Personally and professionally Martha and her husband have directed significant financial support to hip for the benefit of our consumers and the agency as a whole.

STEPHANIE THOMAS became hip’s very first member in 1981 and has been a dedicated volunteer ever since. No job is too big or too hard for Stephanie – in fact, nothing makes her happier than a big project or major mailing.  Her fingerprints can probably be found on every piece of mail that hip has ever sent out, dating back to hip’s early days in Englewood when our newsletter, the hipNews, would be delivered to her home and she would work on the mailing labels from her living room.  Always eager to help, Stephanie also assists with office projects as well as the decorations and baskets for our annual dinner dance.  Just like the Post Office’s motto, neither rain nor sleet nor snow can keep Stephanie away from hip and it is a pleasure to name her to our All-Star Team!

Thank You and Congratulations to Our All-Star Team!

Why Do You Need A Will?

A will ensures that you are able to:

  • Avoid the laws of your state dictating how and to whom your property is distributed
  • Decide who will inherit your property and what they receive
  • Choose the legal guardian for any children, ensuring their future
  • Choose your personal representative so that your estate will be handled and distributed by someone you know and trust
  • Specify funeral and burial instructions
  • Retain your privacy

Anna closed by stressing that even though it’s a topic that many of us would rather put off “until tomorrow,” the truth is that every adult should have a will.

NFB’s NEWSLINE Now Available on Amazon Alexa

Subscribers to the National Federation of the Blind’s (NFB) NEWSLINE can now access it hands-free on any Amazon Alexa product.  This includes the Echo and the Echo Dot.  Just say, “Alexa, open National Federation” and after providing this information every feature of the program will be available by voice commands.

You can ask Alexa to read any of the five New Jersey newspapers that are available as well as the New Jersey Grocery Ads.  At  your command Alexa will also read from a list of thirteen national newspapers  including The Wall Street Journal, thirty-two news services including CNN and ESPN, and over 500 newspapers from every state as well as magazines including international publications.  News and information about the Talking Book and Braille Center, the New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and the New Jersey Chapter of the NFB can also be obtained.

NEWSLINE is sponsored in New Jersey by the NJ Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired and is available at no cost to individuals who cannot read print material as well as people who have difficulty turning pages.  Further information can be obtained by calling NFB at 866-504-7300.

The Bergen County Transit Connector

Several months ago Bergen County, in conjunction with Bergen County Community Transportation, launched a service that will be very valuable to individuals with disabilities, seniors and those folks without cars who want to get around Hackensack.

The Transit Connector will travel between the two railroad stations at Essex and Anderson Streets and cover many destination points in the city including the Bus Terminal, the County Office Complex and Hackensack University Medical Center. This is an accessible vehicle and can be boarded at NJ Transit Bus stops that are marked “Transit Connector”.

hip appreciates this free service and hopes that it becomes more successful as Hackensack continues with the many construction projects throughout the area. A hip group will be planning a field trip to evaluate the program.

Have You Renewed Your Membership for 2019?

Every October, with the start of our new fiscal year, hip invites new and renewing members to join our great organization for another year.  Why belong?  hip makes things happen for people with disabilities and your support helps us in our efforts to enhance the independent living of people with disabilities.  You get something as well!  The benefits of membership ($20 for a Basic Membership, $25 for a Family, and $35 to give “a little extra” as a Contributing Member) include reduced costs for some hip special events, priority acceptance when space may be limited, and the opportunity to participate in the Bergen PAC’s Arts Access Program in which you can receive free tickets to select performances such as comedy shows, musical concerts and other exciting entertainers.  Membership forms can be downloaded from our website or requested by calling the Bergen office at 201-996-9100 or the Hudson office at 201-533-4407.  Get hip!  We thank you for your support!

hip Thanks…

hip receives many contributions from individuals and the community throughout the year.  We thank the following for their recent exceptional generosity:

Michael and Marie Cook

The Esteban Family

First Presbyterian Church of Hackensack

Eve and Mort Levinson

Lions Club of River Edge

Mary and Anthony Yorio

We also extend our heartfelt thanks to the wonderful parishioners of St. Peter the Apostle Church in River Edge and the generous participants in the Bergen Volunteer Center’s “All Wrapped Up” Holiday Gift Giving program.  This year the holiday season was brightened for a record number of 70 individuals who received an assortment of gifts including warm clothes, household items, toys, games, sporting goods and gift cards.

We Welcome the Following New and Renewing Members of hip for 2019:


Jeanne Aimone

Roselyn Altman

Peter Ambrose

Kevin Angelini

Carl & Janice Arnold

Matthew Arnold

Chandan Bagchi

Ethel S. Ball

Patricia Barksdale

Bernice and Barbara Baron

Megan Barron

  1. Baumann-Dasilva

Annie Been*

LaVerne Ben-Mansel

Gilbert Benson*

Darrell & Tamiko Bethea*

Christine & Ron Black

Paula Bloom

Jerry Bojko

Barbara Brave

Mario Brusco

Donte Bullock

Scott & Debbie Buckwald

Anna L. Bures

Mildred & George Bullerdick

Eileen C. Burke

Daniel Calabrese

Brenda & Jerry Calabrese

Tonielle Cardinalle

Irene Carley

Mary & Al Carney

Trish Carney*

Kay Chase*

Patricia Ciccone & Family

Jaesoon Choi

Sonia Cordova-Chumpitaz

Lillian Ciufo*

Sandy Condal

Barbara B. Comerford, Esq.*

Michael & Marie Cook*

Jim Corbett (RIP 2/19)

Alicia M. Cotugno

Jim & Jean Csaposs*

Ivan Cueva

Mary F. Culver

Howard Cutler

Joan D’Angelo

Carol Dass*

Jen’e Davis

Michael Delgado

Ralph M. DeSimone

Martha DeYoung

Anthony Dinaro

Marian and Karen Doria

James F. Dougherty

Barbara Dublin*

  1. Robert Duffy*

Dennis Dusevic

Patricia & Dave Ebel*

Austin Epstein

Lottie Esteban*

William & Stella Fellinger

Karen Mae Ferolino

Betty Fetzer*

Yolanda Fisher

Brian Fitzgibbons

Karen Fitzgibbons

Warren Williams & Virginia Flynn

Katherine Fotopoulos

Christopher Gagliardi & Lynda Monahan

Gerardine Galvin

Laurie Galvin

Glenn Gardner

Paul F. Gaughran

Dorothy Genoni

Eileen Goff*

Alan Gold

Patricia Guy

Alice Hamburg

The Harries Family

Alfred Harvey

Bojane Heap

Rick & Arlene Hodgman*

Henry Hof

Linda Horvath

Kenel Hyppolite

The Jacobs Family

Arthur Jusu-Davies

Hanneh Kalyoussef

Leah Katz

Stefanie Keiser

Timothy Kerr

George Kidney

Clark King

Joan F. Klug*

John Koch*

Lorena & Ana Kos

Adam Krass+

Diana LaForge

Jeanne LaRaia

Virginia L. Laughlin

Hannah Lawton

Louise Lee

Susan Lee

Dr. Marion Levine & Justin Schulman

Eve & Mort Levinson

Rhea Levy

Chili Li*

Gloria Lieberstein*

Judith Liebman

Roy Lippin*

Margaret Lusch

Joanna Mallard

Lorraine Martocci

Joan Martorella

Ann Melone*

Cobey Mayer

Dr. Frances Meyer*

Kathy Lynn Moore

John Mulholland

Madeline Murray

Sophie & Gracie McCain

Gail Frazier-McFadden

Brian McGrath

Anne & Brendan McMahon

Ann McVey

Anna P. Navatta, Northeast NJ Legal Services +

Leonard J. Nicolosi, CEO, North Jersey Friendship House, Inc.+

Hyacinthe Nkurunziza

Clinton & Josephine Oates

Jorge Olivares

Mario Olivares

Beatrice Olivetti

Michael Outwater

Chris Paraskevacos

Andrew Pecorella

J.S. Perlman & Company+

Daniel Pettineo

Ursula Pico

Marianne Pigoncelli*

Dr. Sandra R. Pinkerton

Jonathan Pixley

Anne Marie Prendergast

Cecelia Ragland

Joe Revello

Judith & Ralph Rice

Gilbert & Stephenie Robinson

Claudia Ross

Ryan Roy

Beverly & Dick Ryan*

Nita Salileng

Mary Sanfilippo

Marie Sawyer

Sherry Schulz

Stephanie & Barbara Seid

Laurel R. Seidler

Amisha Shah

Judith Shaw

Mark, Daria & Andy Sidlauskas

Barbara Simon

Chandravati Singh

Donn Slonim*

Lynn Smith

Michael Smith*

Jeffrey St. Germain & Family*

John Stanik*

Stephanie Thomas

Richard S. Touma

Janet Tolliver & Joseph Molee

Joseph M. Tomasko

Ivis & Alberto Trejo

Thomas Tuzzio

Charle Urspruch

Danny Vaca

Joe & Jane Valenti

Carol Viceconte*

Ron Vida

Anne Burton Walsh*

Philip & Linda Webster-Cennerazzo*

Joan & Richard Wechsler

Janice Willett*

Peter & Kathleen Wirt

Anthony & Mary Yorio*

Cindy Zirkin

Nancy, Barry & Cheryl Zweben                                           + = Corporate Member

Calendar of Events


Ballroom Dance Lessons for Individuals with Vision Loss

March 6                      12 – 3 pm        Temple Beth Or, Washington Twp
April 3                        12 – 3 pm        Temple Beth Or, Washington Twp

May 1                          12 – 3 pm         Temple Beth Or, Washington Twp

Empowering Women Support Group

March 21                     11 am – 1 pm   Bergen hip Office

April 18                       11 am – 1 pm   Bergen hip Office

May 16                        11 am – 1 pm   Bergen hip Office


Book Club


March 8                       11 am – 1 pm   Bergen hip Office

April 5                         11 am – 1 pm   Bergen hip Office

May 10                        11 am – 1 pm   Bergen hip Office



Ballroom Dance Lessons for Individuals with Vision Loss

March 25                    1 – 4 pm          Secaucus Public Library and Business Center
April 22                      1 – 4 pm          Secaucus Public Library and Business Center

May 20                       1 – 4 pm          Secaucus Public Library and Business Center


Celebratory Tea Dance for All Ballroom Dance Participants

June 5                          12 – 4 pm        Secaucus Senior Center

Youth Transition Workshop for Students and Parents

March 23                     2 – 5pm           Galo Community Center at Lincoln Park in Jersey City

Emergency and Fire Safety

April 4                         11 am – 1 pm   Hudson hip Office

Disability and Wellness Workshop

April 13                       11 am – 1 pm   Hudson hip Office



AVL Peer Support Group Meetings

March 4 – Young Adult Peer Conference Call

March 6 – Older Adult Peer Conference Call

March 7 – Secaucus Public Library and Business Center

March 12 – Fort Lee Recreation Center

March 12 – North Arlington Senior Center

March 20 – Temple Beth Or, Washington Township

March 28 – 5 Corners Library Jersey City

April4 – Secaucus AVL Group

April 9 – Fort Lee Recreation Center

April 9 – North Arlington Senior Center1111111

April 15 – Combined Young and Older Peer Conference Call featuring a Guest Speaker from CBVI

April 17 – Temple Beth Or, Washington Township

April 25 – 5 Corners Library Jersey City

May 2 –Secaucus Public Library and Business Center

May 14 – Fort Lee Recreation Center

May 14 –North Arlington Senior Center

May 14 – Young Adult Peer Conference Call

May 15 – Temple Beth Or, Washington Township

May 16 – Older Adult Peer Conference Call

May 30 – 5 Corners Library Jersey City

June 4 – Young Adult Peer Call

June 6 – Secaucus Public Library and Senior Center

June 6 – Older Adult Peer Conference Call

June 11 – North Arlington Senior Center

June 27 – 5 Corners Library Jersey City

Please call the hip Office to confirm that the meetings will take place.

Save the Date for Our Annual Picnic!

Tuesday, June 18th at the Englewood Boat Basin

Check Your Mail in MAY for Registration Information


Anna Navatta


Betty A. Fetzer


Richard M. Hodgman


Joseph Tomasko


Thomas Bengaff

Karen Canellos

Lottie Esteban

Roy Lippin

Hyacinthe Nkurunziza

Anne Marie Prendergast

Mary Turner

Brian Fitzgibbons, MPA, CRC


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