201-996-9100 Bergen Office or 201-533-4407 Hudson Office

hipNews Fall 2019

Heightened Independence & Progress - Our staff

hipNews Fall 2019

Eileen Goff 

By now many of you have heard that hip’s beloved founder and former President/CEO Eileen Goff passed away on August 3, 2019. The opening paragraph of her obituary stated that she was a woman of remarkable warmth, generosity, dignity and accomplishment. The funeral service was a wonderful tribute to her with the chapel filled with family, friends and local dignitaries all recounting how Eileen touched their lives in so many positive ways.

I first met Eileen when I was working as a Rehabilitation Counselor and we went for a visit to see this new program called Independent Living run out of Englewood. I was not only happy to see this new service starting in the community, but I was totally impressed by this dynamic woman who was filled with ideas on how to reach a forgotten segment of society: people with disabilities.

Over the years we spent time together at many statewide events, seminars and meetings and she was always the person you’d want to sit with because she asked the best and most challenging questions. She also had great stories about her travels and escapades on the slopes and hiking trails.

Though she had been retired from hip for the past two years she kept in touch with the Board and staff members and shared several celebrations of her achievements like the Russ Berrie, Michael Lione and Celia Weisman awards in addition to being named a hip All-Star.

In this edition of the hip newsletter we have created a special section featuring the recollections of the many people who were privileged to have known this dynamic woman.

Memorial contributions can be made to hip for the Eileen Goff Legacy Fund in care of Trish Carney.

Brian Fitzgibbons, MPA, CRC 



Computer Upgrade to Enhance 
Services at hip

hip is entering the 21st century with new Dell computers. Although hip is a small office, we believe that this upgrade will enhance our ability to provide the services that our customers deserve. The new technology will be faster and increase the ability of staff members to interact on an electronic network. We will also be able to assure the safety and privacy of our documents with cloud computing.

This upgrade is made possible through incredible discounts offered by TechSoup, an online tech marketplace that provides discounts to nonprofits for all things technical. TechSoup’s mission is “to build a dynamic bridge that enables civil society organizations and social change agents around the world to gain effective access to the resources they

need to design and implement technology solutions for a more equitable planet.”

It is our hope that this upgrade will make a big difference in our productivity and efficiency as we continue to provide services.

We Mourn . . .

the passing of Gilbert Benson on August 19th. Gilbert, a Life Member of hip, was an active participant at all of our parties, picnics, and meetings for almost 30 years, and was Trish Carney’s regular dance partner.

“Adjustment to Vision Loss” Program Update 
by Trisha Ebel

I am so very proud to report that our AVL program is expanding immensely and is really thriving! There have been many accomplishments so that now all AVL support groups are up and running facilitated by Trisha Ebel, Marie Sawyer and Joanna Mallard.

Our hip participants who are attending the meetings have gained so much information and a wealth of resources in all areas. For example:

  • assistive technology
  • transportation resources
  • state & county services
  • Library of Congress services
  • social skills
  • orientation and mobility skills

Our program has also benefited from a wonderful grant to hip from The Fund for The New Jersey Blind. With this grant hip was able to start a program, “Stepping Out with hip,” a series of ballroom dance lessons offered to our AVL members.  Ralph, one of hip’s participants, offered to donate his time and instruct a total of five 3-hour lessons at a venue in Secaucus. On June 5 we finished the ballroom dance lessons with a big “Tea Party,” where all dancers showcased what they learned!

Through our AVL program we are able to provide our members with the knowledge and skills to feel comfortable, get back into society, and live a complete and full life! Even though we are visually impaired or blind, with these resources we are empowered to do just about everything a sighted person does.

hip Picks and Bingo

The Hudson consumer meeting was held at the Secaucus Library and hosted by Brian Fitzgibbons, our CEO, and the Hudson staff. Consumers enjoyed lunch and a day out for interesting conversations about “What’s next at hip?” and “What can hip do for our consumers?”

We had a fun-filled afternoon of bingo with great prizes! This event gave consumers an opportunity to voice their opinions and needs and make hip staff aware of areas of interest in an effort to expand and meet the needs of our community. Consumers were delighted by the event!

Wellness Workshop
by Hudson Intern Zarish Shahid

Health is a combination of your physical, mental and social well-being.  Health affects everything about a person: how one feels, thinks, looks and acts.

We conducted an informative workshop focused on enhancing health and wellness for consumers. The workshop addressed lifestyle diseases, unhealthy diet, the importance of water, and exercise. We learned how small changes and setting a few health goals can make a big difference.

Consumers enjoyed a nutritional lunch with a variety of fruits to encourage the beginning of a new healthier lifestyle.

We also mourn the loss of Tom Bengaff…

Thomas John Bengaff, who passed away on April 26, was an advocate for the rights of individuals with disabilities and a longtime hip board member. A celebration of his life was held on July 13 at the State Line Lookout in Alpine, NJ. Family, friends and hip representatives spoke about his many contributions to disability advocacy and, above all, his personal inspiration to all who knew him.


Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free;

I followed the path God laid for me;

I took His hand when I heard Him call;

I turned my back and left it all;

I could not stay another day;

to laugh, to love, to work or play;

tasks left undone must stay that way;

I found that peace at the close of day;

If my parting has left a void;

then fill it with remembered joy.

My life’s been full, I savored much;

good friends, good times,

a loved one’s touch,

A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss;

ah yes, these things, I too, will miss.

Perhaps my time seemed all too brief;

don’t lengthen it now with undue grief.

Lift up your hearts and share with me;

God wanted me now, He set me free.

The poem, “I’m Free” that appeared on Tom’s memorial card tells us a lot about him. Tom was injured in a diving accident on the day of his senior prom but that didn’t stop him from graduating from Northern Highlands Regional HS and earning degrees in Mathematics/Physics and Business Administration from Ramapo College. He went on to become a Program Analyst with the United States Army Corps of Engineers working at Picatinny Arsenal.

Tom’s advocacy for people with disabilities took him in many directions. He was active in Big Wheels offering access to the beaches for wheelchair users, he led a boy scout troop and developed a computerized bulletin board to encourage communication and to connect to the community. He was committed to voter rights and the removal of architectural barriers going so far as to examine the accessibility of shopping districts in some Bergen County communities. He was also a charter member of the Monday Morning Project which later became People First New Jersey. In addition to hip Tom served on the Board of Bergen County Community Transportation.

At the memorial service two of Tom’s friends discussed their lifelong friendship which started over peanut butter sandwiches in the first grade. They started a Foundation to assist Tom with some equipment and other needs not covered by insurance. They surprised the crowd of sixty at the service by donating the remaining funds from the Foundation to hip where a special award will be established in Tom’s name.

What is an Advance Directive?

“What kind of medical care would you want if you were too ill or hurt to express your wishes? Advance directives are legal documents that allow you to spell out your decisions about end-of-life care ahead of time. They give you a way to tell your wishes to family, friends, and health care professionals and to avoid confusion later on.”*

New Jersey has two kinds of directives. The first is a “proxy directive.” This is also known as a “Durable Power of Attorney.” The “proxy directive” is a legal document in which you appoint a person(s) to make healthcare decisions for you in the event you are unable to make these decisions for yourself. The “proxy directive” can be temporary because of an accident or permanent because of a disease. The person you appoint becomes known as your “healthcare representative.”

The second kind of directive is an “instruction directive.” This is also sometimes known as a “Living Will.” A living will is a written, legal document that spells out medical treatments you would and would not want to be used to keep you alive, as well as your preferences for other medical decisions, such as pain management or organ donation. You can also include information about your values and treatment preferences in the event you are unable to make your own healthcare decisions.

The New Jersey Dept. of Health

provides a great deal of information and answers many of the questions you may have. The Department’s website also links to standard forms for advance directives provided by The New Jersey Commission on Legal and Ethical Problems in the Delivery of Health Care. The information and forms can be found at: https://www.state.nj.us/health/advancedirective.


My Wonderful Experience with Bergen Bassmasters at Darlington
County Park
by Kathy Moore

I want to start by thanking Brian Mahoney of Bergen Bassmasters, Heightened Independence and Progress (hip), the Bergen County Parks Department, Bergen County Community Transportation, and all the wonderful people who volunteered their time and energy to make this event possible.

Saturday, June 8, 2019, was a very beautiful, sunny day in Mahwah, NJ. A lot of us traveled by Bergen County Community Transportation to Darlington County Park to go fishing. When we arrived, we could see that Brian Mahoney was on top of everything needed for the event. There were t-shirts for all whether you were a volunteer or a participant. Umbrellas were available for people who either burn easily or are not very mobile. Whatever the case was, everything was nicely done.

The Bergen Bassmasters was formed in 1986 and has since grown into one of the most respected bass fishing clubs in the state of New Jersey. The Bergen Bassmasters is more than just a fishing club. It is an organization where bass anglers can meet new friends, learn new techniques, be aware of environmental issues, and give something back to those less fortunate.

This event was the 31st Annual Norm Trass Outing for the Disabled. The organizations participating in this event were Heightened Independence and  Progress (hip), The ARC of Bergen and Passaic Counties, Spectrum for Living, Cerebral Palsy of New Jersey and Boy Scouts of America.

Everyone was a winner! Chris Gagliardi, Ryan Roy and Larry Pagano were the biggest winners at hip for catching the most fish, along with Susan Lee who received a trophy for the most unusual catch of the day: yikes! a snake. The rest of us received medals, too.

We had a DJ who played good music and the volunteers were able to get some of the attendees dancing. We ate well, too – hamburgers and hot dogs straight from a BBQ grill!

So, if you didn’t come this time, remember to put this event on your calendar for next year!

Enabled by Thanasis Aspras, Bergen hip Intern

Being consumed by self-doubt is a common part of the human experience and more often than not we let self-doubt dictate what we can and can’t do. In turn, we sometimes give up on dreams that we think are unrealistic. However, by denying yourself the chance of achieving your goals you may never truly know where your limits lie. Derrick L. Coleman, Jr. is the first legally deaf offensive player in the NFL. Derrick was legally deaf by age three, but that didn’t stop him from pursuing his dream of playing football. He had humble beginnings as a college football star but eventually he was able to garner the attention of the NFL. In 2012 Derrick was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks, and the very next year he played in Super Bowl XLVIII where they took home the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Derrick Coleman is an inspiration to an innumerable amount of people as well as being a compassionate advocate for people with disabilities. Derrick wrote the book No Excuses which describes his life and how he was able to overcome his disability. He also started the non-profit organization known as No Excuse Foundation with the goal of building confidence and acceptance for the deaf community. They help by providing scholarships for deaf students, donating money to fund the development of hearing aids, promoting self-advocacy for deaf students and a good deal more. By going to their website at www.noexcusefoundation.com, you can help them achieve their goal of empowering those who have a hearing disability.

Derrick Coleman was not consumed by self-doubt on his journey, and he was able to help a multitude of people on the way. He didn’t treat his disability as a roadblock that would impede his progress. Instead he kept moving forward with confidence. Everyone has the potential to achieve greatness so take that potential and stride with conviction.

National Disability Institute’s Assistive Technology Loan Program

The National Disability Institute is a non-profit organization that provides

low-interest loans to people with disabilities, seniors, and veterans who live in New York and New Jersey. The purpose of the loans is to help people locate and purchase assistive technology devices and services to meet the individual’s needs. These loans are serviced by participating banks and credit unions.

Assistive technology includes home and vehicle modifications, ramps, smartphones and apps, computers, hearing aids, and other equipment and devices that will help improve a person’s quality of life. Assistive technology resource guides to help New Jersey residents try devices and borrow and locate funding, including grants, to purchase assistive technology, can be found on the National Disability Institute website: assistivetechloans.com. Loans are available from $500 – $30,000.

The interest rate is 4%. Repayment terms are from 12-120 months, based on the life of the device and the ability of the applicant to pay. Payments are due each month.

An “Assistive Technology Guide for New Jersey,” which lists many programs and agencies that provide assistive technology devices and demonstration services for these devices, is located on the website.

The loan application process includes, faxing a loan application with ID and proof of income and monthly expenses to (202)449-9521. You will then review your credit report and application with the NDI staff. Pre-qualified loan applications are transmitted to a participating bank or credit union for a final determination. For much more information and details about the loans, go to the website, assistivetechloans.com, email Laurie Schaller at lschaller@ndi-inc.org or call at (202)449-9521.

What Are Invisible Disabilities? by Diomayra Ramos

We usually associate a disability with a visible physical and/or mental condition – something we can see. In fact, many disabilities are not apparent to others but are no less challenging. These are the invisible disabilities. Approximately ten percent of the American population has some form of invisible disability according to the Disabled World website. A large number of individuals are suffering in silence from such conditions because there is no visible evidence to alert us.

We tend to recognize a person with a disability based on his or her appearance and overlook many internal limiting factors that may be at least as challenging. It’s surprising how quick we are to characterize people and their disabilities based solely on external appearances, but there is a lot more to disabilities than meets the eye. It’s estimated that a greater number of people are living with an invisible disability than a visible one. Chronic conditions, for example, are the most common type of invisible disability. We may not even consider many of these conditions disabilities because they range from something as common as allergies to more severe conditions such as anxiety disorders.

These types of illnesses can have the same impact on someone’s life though usually in a very different way. For example, someone in a wheelchair might not be able to ride the bus due to inaccessibility, yet a person with anxiety might be unable to ride the bus because of a crippling fear of having to sit next to strangers. Both struggle with boarding the bus, the only difference is that the cause of one struggle is readily apparent to us, while the other is “invisible.”

We all know people with invisible disabilities. Some common examples are migraine headaches, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and irritable bowel syndrome. These can be debilitating conditions that prevent the people who suffer from them from experiencing a complete and fulfilling life. We just don’t see it.

As we become more aware of the world of disabilities and the many forms that a disability may take, government and other private organizations are beginning to take steps to assist people with invisible disabilities.  Identifying these individuals and their disabilities may be the first step toward the implementation of helpful accommodations.

Much more information can be obtained from the Disabled World website: https://www.disabled-world.com/disability/types/invisible


The Special Needs Assistance Program (SNAP) assists with the acquisition

of adaptive equipment and devices. SNAP funding can be used to purchase items and to obtain services intended to enhance independent living. Bath benches, walkers, hearing aids, automobile hand controls, and wheelchair rentals are a sampling of the assistive technology SNAP covers. SNAP is funded up to $300 through the Bergen County Department of Human Services.

The Modification Access Project (MAP) provides partial funding to improve access in the homes of Bergen County residents with disabilities. Renovation projects may include ramps, widening of doorways, roll-in showers, lifts, and automatic door openers. MAP can help pay for professional evaluations, material and labor. MAP is funded up to $1800 through the Bergen County Department of Human Services.

More information about both programs can be obtained by contacting Maria Valentin at hip. Tel. # (201)996-9100 ext. 18.

Project Lifesaver International

The Bergen County Sheriff’s Office is a participant in Project Lifesaver International whose mission is to provide rapid response for adults and children who wander due to Alzheimer’s Disease, Autism, Down Syndrome, and forms of dementia. The Bergen County Sheriff’s Office has trained and equipped its members to assist local police departments in locating these individuals.

Participants in the program are fitted with a small battery-operated radio wrist transmitter that emits a tracking signal 24 hours a day. Each wristband has a unique frequency, so the Project Lifesaver team can locate and identify a missing person.

If a participant wanders, the caregiver contacts the local police, who initiate a local search while contacting the Sheriff’s Office to begin a search with the tracking equipment. The team is trained in methods to communicate with and approach persons with these disorders.

There is a one-time equipment fee of $300 and a monthly maintenance fee of $13. Income-eligible participants may qualify for a waiver of the initial equipment fee.

More information and details of the program may be obtained by contacting the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office’s Outreach Unit at telephone 201-336-3540.







Feeding your family healthy food rich in Iron, Vitamin C and Calcium can help limit the absorption of lead.

  • Iron – lean red meats, beans, peanut butter, and cereals
  • Vitamin C – oranges, green and red peppers, and juices
  • Calcium – milk, yogurt, cheese, and green leafy vegetables like spinach NJ SNAP can help you buy nutritious foods that can help fight lead.

New Jersey Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (NJ SNAP)

Provides individuals and families with low incomes money to purchase nutritious foods that can help fight lead. To apply for NJSNAP online visit njhelps.org. or call 1-800-687- 9512 and visit www.NJSNAP-Ed.gov for

information about healthy food. NJ Department of Human Services Phil Murphy, Governor Sheila Oliver, Lt. Governor Carole Johnson, Commissioner

Calendar of Events


Empowering Women Support Group

October 17     11am – 1pm   Bergen hip Office

November 21

December 19

Book Club

October 4       11am – 1pm   Bergen hip Office

November 1

December 6


Voter Registration

September 17 – 18

Halloween Art Workshop

October 31

Grammy Museum Trip

October 16

Youth Transition Meeting

November TBA

Hudson County Meeting for HIP

December 11


hip Bergen

October 8       December 10

November 12

North Arlington

October 8       December 10

November 12

Washington Township

October 16     December 18

November 20

Jersey City

October 24     December cancelled

November 21


October 3       December 5

November 14

 Telephone Support Group

Young Adult Peer Conference Call

Ages 18 – 30  7:30 pm

October 17     December 12

December 12

Older Adult Peer Conference Call

Ages 31 – 50  7:30 pm

October 3       December 5

November 14


October 30


November 14 7 – 9 pm

Westy Self Storage Event Center, Hackensack


December 15

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

hip Offers Innovative Programs to Meet the Independent Living Needs of People with Disabilities in Bergen and Hudson Counties and Beyond

Founded in 1980, Heightened Independence & Progress (hip) is observing 39 years of service. hip not only continues to provide vital assistance through information, referral, advocacy, and peer support, but also offers a wide variety of programs to people with all types of disabilities in Bergen and Hudson Counties. Some programs have statewide, even national impact. The following is a summary of hip programs.

Adjustment to Vision Loss coordinates peer support groups. Contact: Trisha Ebel (Bergen)

Community Advocacy and Outreach Program seeks to promote full inclusion through advocacy, education and legislation. Contact: Hudson Staff or Bergen Staff

Comprehensive Independent Living Support (CILS) provides care management assistance to residents of Hudson County to remain in the community. Contact: Angela Arboleda (Hudson)

Division of Developmental Disabilities Support Coordination Program assists individuals from Bergen and Hudson Counties to discover their full potential. Contact: Mary Mulvaney (Bergen), Natalie Alave (Hudson)

Empowering Women Support Group. Contact: Nicole Clark (Bergen)

Hispanic Outreach Program directs Independent Living services to individuals of Hispanic origin, in English and Spanish. Contact: Maria Valentin (Bergen) or Angela Arboleda (Hudson)

Youth Transition Case Management assists high school students to plan for their future and for employment. Contact: Jennifer Paniagua (Hudson)

Modification Access Project (MAP) assists with funding for barrier-free home renovation projects from concept to completion. Contact: Maria Valentin (Bergen)

Multimedia Transcription Service (MTS) transcribes textbooks and other materials into Braille. Contact: Jayne Jacobs (Bergen)

Our New Journey provides financial and practical help to families newly impacted by the onset of illness or disability. Contact: Anne Ciavaglia McMahon (201-288-2867)

Polio Network of New Jersey – The Ruprecht Fund. hip administers this fund for PNNJ to help polio survivors in New Jersey finance necessary products and services. Contact: Maria Valentin (Bergen)

Senior and Caregiver Assistance Program provides care management to individuals over the age of 60 and/or adult family caregivers. Contact: Mary Mulvaney (Bergen)

Special Assistance for Independent Living (SAIL) provides funding to Hudson County residents for assistive devices or barrier-free home renovation projects. Contact: Natalie Alave (Hudson)

Special Needs Assistance Program (SNAP) provides funding and facilitates acquisition of services and adaptive devices such as wheelchairs, bathroom equipment, hearing aids and more. Contact: Maria Valentin (Bergen)

Support for Independent Living (SIL) provides ongoing care management services through assessment, linkage, and coordination for people with disabilities (18-59). Contact: Mary Mulvaney (Bergen)

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a state-funded case management program for New Jersey residents who have survived an acquired brain injury, for services and supports they need to live in the community. Contact: Brian Fitzgibbons (Bergen) or Marily Gonzalez (Hudson)

hipNews Winter 2019

Heightened Independence & Progress - Our staff

hipNews 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 www.hipcil.org 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


hipNews Fall 2018

Heightened Independence & Progress - Our staff

hipNews Fall 2018


How We Spent Our Summer of 2018

hip’s summer schedule of activities started right after our successful Dinner Dance and it seems like we never stopped making presentations, participating in fun activities and creating opportunities for individuals with disabilities to participate in their communities.

  • Sponsorships
    • We helped to support two big Bergen County events:
      • The 2nd Annual Bergen County Care Fair
      • The Celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Bergen County Division of Disability Services
    • Presentations
      • Lunch-time chats about hip at the Wallington and Ridgefield Park Senior Centers where we highlighted our Care Management Programs, Modification Access Project (MAP) and Special Needs Assistance Program (SNAP).
      • NJ Stakeholders Meeting where we began our discussions with the community of veterans about our Assistive Technology Grant
      • Fort Lee’s “Proud to be Stigma Free” Day where we greeted members of the community to commemorate the designation of the borough as a Stigma Free Zone.
      • Community Development Block Grant technical meeting. hip presented on the “Safe and Secure Solutions” Initiative that will repair/replace locks for people with disabilities and provide other safety measures.
    • Events
      • The 30th Annual Bassmasters Fishing Outing – About 15 hip members and two staffers spent the day enjoying the sunshine and the sport of fishing.
      • The Aurora Nonprofit Challenge 5K Walk – This was the fourth time that the organization of concerned young people put the program together. The staff and members of the Board joined other organizations to raise funds for their specific causes.
      • The Annual hip Picnic – The highlight of the summer, which is always fun for hip members and staff
      • The 66 Days of Summer Calendar Raffle – We made our Friday noontime drawings special by having a different guest pick the tickets each week. Congratulations to our Grand Prize winner, Carol Dass!
      • Fair Housing Celebration – hip staff joined the Fair Housing folks to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the agency that fights discrimination in housing. Sen. Cory Booker joined the celebration and gave special recognition to Lee Porter.
    • Collaborations
      • Bergen County Workforce Development Board – hip’s presence is felt on the Executive Committee, Full Board and the Disabilities Sub-committee.
      • Bergen County Departments and Divisions such as:
        • Human Services
        • Senior Services
        • Disability Services

This August marked my first full year at hip and I can honestly say that every day was an opportunity to learn something new, establish important collaborations in both counties and spend time with our consumers. As I look forward to the next year I’m most excited to continue to work with the terrific staff members in our Bergen and Hudson offices. They are dedicated, committed and never turn down a challenge.

Brian Fitzgibbons,

hip’s Annual Meeting

Join us at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 8th at the Fort Lee Recreation Center for our Annual Meeting! Attendees will mingle, enjoy a light supper and learn all about the hip accomplishments this past year. President/CEO Brian Fitzgibbons will welcome Michael Dressler, Bergen County Surrogate, as our keynote speaker. The evening will also include election and re-election to the Board of Trustees.

The staff members from both Bergen and Hudson CILs will meet and greet attendees. We look forward to seeing everyone there!


 (1 photo)
Aurora Nonprofit Challenge 5K Walkathon – Saturday, June 16th at the Ridgewood Duck Pond

(2 photos)|
hip Annual Summer Picnic – Tuesday, June 16th at the Englewood  Boat Basin

(1 photo)
Eileen Goff presents her Russ Berrie Award to hip on Friday, May 4th

(2 photos)
Picking 66 $unny Day$ of $ummer Calendar Raffle winners

 (1 photo)
Jersey City Vision Loss Support Group on Thursday, August 30th

 (1 photo)
Empowering Women Support Group outing to the Bergen County Van Saun Zoo on Thursday, September 13th

Save the Date

Save the Date for the Holiday Party on Sunday, December 16th from 12-4 p.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel in Fort Lee. Join us for a wonderfully festive celebration of the season!

Have You Checked Out Our New Website?

www.hipcil.org is back and better than ever! Full of information, upcoming events, news and photos, our new website is loaded with everything hip!

hip Thanks… 

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

Mary Culver

Lois Frank

Eileen Goff

Kaplen Foundation

Leonia Lions Club

NJ State Knights of Columbus

River Edge Lions Club

We also thank all those who supported our “Big Easy” Dinner Dance, the 66 $unny Day$ of $ummer Calendar Raffle, and hip’s participation in the Aurora Nonprofit Challenge Walkathon.

We Mourn…

Olga Melgarejo, mother of hip staff member Maria Smith, who passed away in May.

Angel Aguilera, Gary Lemburg and Tyrone Towers, longtime members and friends of hip who passed away in April.

Joyce Rizzo, friend of hip who passed away in June.

Alicia Facchino, friend of hip who passed away in September.

Welcome to hip!

Tamara Clark

Tamara joined the Bergen hip staff in July as a Care Manager at the Bergen CIL. A graduate of UMDNJ, she has worked in the nonprofit sector for over 10 years. Tamara is a Care Manager and Support Coordinator for the DDD program.

Tamara resides in Bloomfield with her husband and son. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and traveling.

Jennyfer Paniagua

Jennyfer joined the Hudson hip staff in July as a Youth Transition Case Manager. Jennyfer is currently a senior at New Jersey City University, her major is Public Health Education. Jennyfer’s passion for the youth began when she attended an event called Save the Youth which was sponsored by Hudson CMO. She began working at New Care Associates as an individual support technician where she helped the youth with their activities of daily living.

Jennyfer resides in Jersey City with her husband and son. In her free time she enjoys reading, traveling and spending time with her loved ones.

Jennifer Oyola

Jennifer joined the Hudson hip staff in May as a Case Manager. Jennifer earned a Bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies & Public Policy from Saint Peters University, Associate’s in Human Services from Hudson County Community College, and plans to obtain her Master’s in Public Administration. She worked as a respite caregiver which gave her insight on working with individuals with disabilities. In her spare time, she likes to volunteer towards helping the less fortunate.

A resident of Jersey City, Jennifer enjoys reading poetry, making people laugh, and spending time with loved ones. One day she hopes to start an organization to help the less fortunate and emotionally distressed throughout Hudson County.

Coming Soon!!

Safe and Secure Solutions

Join Us

2019 hip memberships begin October 1st!

Please send back the enclosed form with your dues to renew your membership for the upcoming year!

Personal Driver Available

Call Eileen Rogers 201-637-2230 (references provided upon request)

The 30th Anniversary of Bergen Bassmasters Fishing Outing

Saturday, June 2nd was a hot and sunny day – perfect for fishing! A group of hip members, along with groups from around the county, spent a few hours fishing at Darlington County Park in Mahwah. With the expert guidance of the Bergen Bassmasters, people were catching fish all over the place!

An entertaining DJ, abundant supply of drinks and food, and prizes finished off the day, when gold medals were awarded to all of the participants. Christopher Gagliardi also took home a trophy for “Strangest Catch” – which was quite a thrill for all the hippies!

Thank you to the Bergen Bassmasters and the sponsors for this wonderful event!

Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions

Recently Jayne Jacobs and Maria Valentin from the Bergen CIL hosted a six-week workshop to help people to better manage chronic symptoms, work with healthcare professionals, set weekly goals, problem solve, eat well and exercise safely and easily.

The workshop was titled “Take Control of Your Health” and was created by the Stanford University Chronic Disease Self-Management Program. The attendees learned a lot and we look forward to hosting this program again next year!

Adam Krass, Assistive Technology Consultant

Adam Krass, Assistive Technology Consultant, will be presenting at the Learning Disabilities Association of New Jersey Fall Conference & Resource Expo on Sunday, November 11, 2018. The conference will take place at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) Education Building at 2000 Pennington Road, Ewing, NJ. For more information call (732) 645-2738 or email info@ldanj.org.

A special thank you to hip’s new Life Members,

Donn Slonim


Philip & Linda Webster Cennerazzo!

2019 Medicare Enrollment/Change Period is Here!

It is important to know that the time has come for open enrollment for all individuals who would like to make changes to their Medicare coverage.

For 2019 Medicare coverage, open enrollment is from October 15th to December 7th.

(You can switch your Part D or Medicare Advantage plan.)

If you’re already enrolled in a Medicare Part D prescription plan or a Medicare Advantage Plan and you don’t want to make changes to your coverage for 2019, you don’t need to do anything during open enrollment, assuming your current plan will still be available in 2019. If your plan is being discontinued and isn’t eligible for renewal, you will receive a non-renewal notice from your carrier prior to open enrollment. If you don’t, it means you can keep your plan without doing anything during open enrollment.

Be aware that your benefits and premium could be changing for 2019. So even if you’re confident that you want to keep your current coverage for the coming year, it’s important to make sure you understand any changes that may apply, and that you’ve double checked to make sure that your current plan is still the best available option. The available plans and what they cover changes from one year to the next, so even if the plan you have now was the best option when you shopped last year, it’s important to verify that again before you lock yourself in for another year.

For assistance please contact the Bergen or Hudson hip CILs – our case managers are here to help!

Special Quote:

“The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.”

– Helen Keller

Cooking Corner

Turkey Chili Stuffed Acorn Squash

What happens when you stuff an acorn squash with turkey chili? You have an edible bowl that’s not just good for you, it tastes great too!


  • 2 acorn squash, halved, seeded
  • 1 pound 93% lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 10 ounces canned Rotel mild tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1/2 cup canned tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 tablespoons shredded sharp cheese
  • fresh cilantro, for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.
  2. Place squash halves on the baking sheet, cut sides down. Bake until soft, 30 to 35 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown turkey over medium-high heat, breaking it up as it cooks into smaller pieces and season with salt and pepper.
  4. When meat is browned and cooked through add onion and garlic; cook 3 minutes over medium heat.
  5. Add the can of Rotel tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, cumin, chili powder, paprika, and bay leaf.
  6. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat about 25 minutes stirring occasionally.
  7. Remove bay leaf, flip the squash over and fill each half with 3/4 cup chili.
  8. Top with cheese and bake until melted, about 5 minutes. Top with cilantro.

To reheat, bake in a 350F oven 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through.


Stella the Duck

Stella the duck (and her 9 eggs) had taken up residence in the planter outside the Bergen CIL office in early June. All of us at hip were thrilled to meet her adorable ducklings after they hatched on July 4th! They took off for the river the next afternoon. We’ll miss our little duck family but wish them well!



Support Group Meetings
11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
November 15
December 13
Empowering Women – Support Group meets every month on the second Thursday at the Bergen hip office.

Technology Demonstrations
9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
November 14
December 12
Adam Krass, assistive technology consultant, meets with individuals one-on-one to demonstrate devices and discuss
applications. Call the Bergen CIL for an appointment.

Book Club
11 a.m. – 1 p.m
November 2
December 7
The Book Club meets each month at the Bergen hip office to socialize while discussing books previously chosen and offering ideas for future reading choices.

hip Meetings

hip Bergen Consumer Meeting
October 18 7 p.m.

hip Annual Meeting
November 8 7 p.m.

hip Annual Holiday Party
December 16 12 p.m.

Adjustment to Vision Loss Support Groups

Fort Lee Group 10 a.m. – Noon
November 20
December 11

Washington Township 10 a.m. – Noon
November 21
December 12

Secaucus 10 a.m. – Noon
November 19
December 6

North Arlington 10 a.m. – Noon
November 13
December 11

Jersey City 10 a.m. – Noon
November 29
December 20

Young Adult Telephone Support Group 7:30-9pm
November 13
December 4

Adult Telephone Support Group 7:30-9pm
November 20
December 11

In case of inclement weather, call the hip office to see if the event/meeting will be held.

hipNews Fall 2017

Heightened Independence & Progress - Our staff

hipNews Fall 2017


CEO’s Letter


Like many baby boomers I have decided to follow the advice outlined in the Sedlar-Miners book, “Don’t Retire…Rewire.” So I’ve decided to remain in the workforce with some modifications. In my case it meant switching from public service to the non-profit world and trading my 3 hour round-trip commute for a short trip from the next town.

Believe it or not I’m not new to hip. In 1980 as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor working in the area, I was one of the first visitors to the Center for Independent Living and encouraged the consumers with whom I worked to participate in the social and recreational activities they offered. I later spent a short time on the Board of Trustees, but the best thing that I did was to convince the top brass at the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS) to allow two staffers from the Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CBVI) to have free space in the Jersey City office to start hip’sHudson branch. Throughout it all I maintained a good friendship with hip’s founding CEO, Eileen Goff, and I’ve been able to stay current on the tremendous growth of the CIL.

So, when it came time to retire from DVRS I looked around for opportunities that would combine my knowledge of people with disabilities, my interest in the progress of the disability movement and my commitment to the full inclusion of people with disabilities in their communities. What better place to land than as President and CEO of hip. At DVRS my focus was on training and employment, so this transition allows me to expand my view and add outreach, education and advocacy to complete the service model.

We’re working on redeveloping the website, improving our imprint on social media and creating ways to respond to the needs of our consumers. I’m looking forward to this adventure and I want to share it with all of the friends and members of the hip community, so I encourage you to contact me by using your favorite method of communication; e-mail bfitzgibbons.ber@hipcil.org, phone (201) 996-9100 ext. 14 or arrange a visit.

Best regards,

Brian Fitzgibbons,

hip’s Annual Meeting

Join us at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, November 15th at the Fort Lee Recreation Center for our Annual Meeting! Attendees will mingle, enjoy a light supper, and learn about all the hip accomplishments this past year from President/CEO Brian Fitzgibbons. The evening will also include election and re-election to the Board of Trustees.

Our keynote speaker this year is Victor Muniz, an athlete who was injured in 2008 by a falling tree during a lightning storm, which ultimately caused quadriplegia and
permanent use of a wheelchair. After months of rehab, Victor was determined to make all modifications to prevent his injury from limiting his potential. He completed his Associate’s degree from Bergen Community College in Hospitality Management in December 2014 and is currently employed with the Hudson County Department of Corrections. He is also a newlywed after marrying his long-time girlfriend Laura this past March. We look forward to hearing more of Victor’s experiences and how he overcame challenges to succeed in his goals.

The staff members from both Bergen and Hudson CILs will meet and greet attendees. We look forward to seeing everyone there!


Modification Access Project (MAP) Success!

This past summer, Ronald, an 83-year old veteran from Wood-Ridge, was in need of a ramp for his home. He uses a wheelchair on a daily basis and was unable to leave his home safely. With financial assistance from hip’s MAP program and collaboration with the Inmate Labor Program from the Bergen County Sheriff Department, Ronald now has an accessible way to enter and leave his home. He says, “I’m very happy with the ramp, they did a beautiful job.” Thanks to everyone involved in this project!

hip Thanks…

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

Barbara Duffy

The Kaplen Foundation

Leonia Lions Club

All of those who made generous contributions in memory of Margot and Patti Aronsohn.

Special thanks go to Eileen Goff for her significant contribution in honor of her retirement.

We also thank all those who contributed a total of $16,146 to The Eileen Goff Legacy Fund which was established by hip’s Board of Trustees in honor of Eileen’s 37 years of dedicated service and announced at Eileen’s retirement party on June 28th. Eileen was totally surprised and is thrilled that these funds will be available to assist consumers who have compelling financial needs that cannot be met through any other funding sources.

Special recognition goes to Yahya Sadigh for his extraordinary contribution to The Eileen Goff Legacy Fund.

hip hip Hooray!

hip’s founder and former President/CEO, Eileen Goff, was honored with the Dr. Celia Weisman Memorial Award at the Bergen County Human Services Advisory Council Annual Meeting on Tuesday, September 26th. Congratulations to Eileen on this very prestigious and well-deserved award!

Congratulations to Ryan Roy for his role as the grand marshal of the 2017 NJ Disability Pride Parade! The parade took place on Saturday, October 7th in Trenton.

hip staff member Natalie Alave welcomed a baby girl into her family on October 4th. Congratulations to the new mom and dad!

We Mourn…

Margot Aronsohn and Patti Aronsohn, beloved mother and sister of Board Membe Paul Aronsohn, both of whom passed away in June.

John Fox, beloved brother of Board Member Jean Csaposs, who passed away in August.

Nicole Dautruche, beloved mother of staff member Van Dautruche, who passed away in September.

Barbara Rivlin, longtime member and friend of hip who passed away in September.

Richard Fellinger, hip member and father of hip member William, who passed away in September.

(with photo of Victoria)

Welcome to hip!

Victoria Robbins joined the hip staff in June as a Care Manager at the Bergen CIL. She is a graduate of Morgan State University in Baltimore. Victoria has worked with the disability community for over 12 years and has spent much of her time as a day program manager.

A resident of Paterson, Victoria enjoys spending time with her boyfriend and family (including her cats), watching horror movies and traveling.

2018 Medicare Enrollment/Change Period is Here!

It is open enrollment time for all individuals that would like to make changes to their Medicare coverage.

  • For 2018 Medicare coverage, open enrollment is from October 15th to December 7th.

(You can switch your Part D or Medicare Advantage plan.)

  • If you’re already enrolled in a Medicare Part D prescription plan or a Medicare Advantage Plan and you don’t want to make changes to your coverage for 2018, you don’t need to do anything during open enrollment, assuming your current plan will still be available in 2018. If your plan is being discontinued and isn’t eligible for renewal, you will receive a non-renewal notice from your carrier prior to open enrollment. If you don’t, it means you can keep your plan without doing anything during open enrollment.


  • Be aware that your benefits and premium could be changing for So even if you’re confident that you want to keep your current coverage for the coming year, it’s important to make sure you understand any changes that may apply, and that you’ve double checked to make sure that your current plan is still the best available option. The available plans and what they cover changes from one year to the next, so even if the plan you have now was the best option when you shopped last year, it’s important to verify that again before you lock yourself in for another year.


For assistance please contact the Bergen or Hudson CILs. Our case managers are here to help!

66 $unny Day$ of $ummer Calendar Raffle Recap

The sunny days of summer have come to an end! We had a great time watching the list of raffle winners grow each week and seeing many of our hip friends and family win! Thank you to everyone who supported our effort and congratulations again to all our winners!

This year’s calendar raffle included (1) three-time winner, (3) two-time winners, and ticket holders from all over the country! Our Grand Prize Winner was longtime hip friend and Director of the DAWN CIL, Carmela Slivinski!

We’re already looking forward to next year’s raffle – maybe we’ll change it up a bit and have it in the fall!

Cooking Corner

The autumn season is here! Try this recipe from Delish for muffins that are fall in a cupcake liner.

Pumpkin Butterscotch Muffins


½ c. flour

¾ c. sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. ground nutmeg

1 ½ c. butterscotch chips, divided

1 c. canned pumpkin

2 eggs

6 tbsp. butter, melted and cooled

¼ c. sour cream

1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add in 1 1/4 cups butterscotch chips, and toss until well-coated with flour mixture (this will keep them from sinking to the bottom of the batter).

Add pumpkin, eggs, butter, sour cream, and vanilla, and mix until well-combined.

Line a muffin tin with liners, and use an ice cream scoop to fill each with batter. Top each muffin with remaining butterscotch chips.

Bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 20 minutes.


Community Alert!

If you have any unneeded adult disposable briefs (in all sizes) please drop them off at the Bergen CIL office – they could be of great use to some of our consumers. Thank you!

Save the Date…

For the Holiday Party on Sunday, December 17th, 12-4pm, at the DoubleTree Hotel in Fort Lee. Join us for a festive celebration of the season!

Remembering Paula Walsh 11/9/54 – 8/7/17

Paula Walsh, longtime hip staff member and friend passed away suddenly on August 7th. Paula was an amazing woman – a loving wife, mother, grandmother and someone who was beyond dedicated to advocating for people with disabilities. The number of people whose lives were changed by Paula’s work over her 33 years at hip is immeasurable. She cared about all of us as family and we loved her so much.

We will miss you more than words can say, Paula. May you rest in peace.

“It was wonderful to know a person like Paula who gave help in many situations and had the memory of an elephant! Paula devoted herself to helping others no matter what shape they were in. Paula’s sense of humor really got laughter in the hip office. Being with Paula was an enjoyable experience. You always felt included with Paula on the scene! Memories of Paula will always be on people’s minds and really, nobody can take her place.”

– Stephanie Thomas

Paula Walsh died suddenly today

In a very unexpected way.

She died in her house on her street

And now with the angels God she will meet.

She was the program director of hip

And never a negative word did she let slip.

She always tried to help everyone

She worked day and night until a job was done.

It’s a shame to see her go

For she was not our foe.

Soon she will meet God in heaven

And not be found at Seven Eleven.”

By Doreen Kovach


“I first met Paula Walsh in 1985 when she came to hip for a job interview. She had acquired a spinal cord injury during her adolescence, completed high school and went on to Ramapo College. Her career at hip began as an information and referral specialist and then expanded to include other responsibilities. I attended her wedding to Larry Walsh which was followed by the birth of their daughter Kelly, who came to work for six months with Paula and received lots of attention in her playpen.

We, her coworkers, knew Paula as someone who shared her real life experiences in humorous ways. Her “private” life was always “public” for the entire world to know. She was dedicated to hip and the agency’s consumers. She loved coordinating our fishing outings, enjoyed staffing tables at exhibits (even if no one came to her table) and thought it was fun to travel for hours via bus and train to events held in far-reaching areas of the state. I never heard Paula complain although her disability became more troublesome as time passed. Farewell Paula, you left this world too early and everyone will be thinking of you the next time they bait their fishing hook.”

– Eileen Goff

In the mid-1970’s a good friend invited me to visit Ramapo College. During that visit, I met Paula Westbrook. I was interested in attending Ramapo but at that time I was not sure if I could. Talking with Paula and other people with different abilities made an impression on me. Throughout the years, some people make more of an impact than others and are there for you. I can’t believe that Paula and I have known each other for 45 years. Paula made a difference in people’s lives – I was certainly not the only person she positively impacted. No matter the problem, she tried to find a reasonable solution. Sometimes it wasn’t ideal but it helped to motivate that individual to the next stage. Paula was a people person. She enjoyed conversation, which helped her in her work. Paula will be missed! She was a true role model and friend.

– Austin Epstein

“How can I find the words to say what I feel at this moment, what words are adequate to pay tribute to a hero who gave so much of herself and upon others to make them feel free to live their life regardless of what challenges we all had? The answer is I just don’t know. What I do know is this, Paula Walsh wasn’t just a person who’s challenges did not keep her down, instead, she rose above them! I am honored to be among them who made me aware of what my voice can do to inspire others. I always believed that Paula had a purpose for being on this Earth and that was to teach us how to be a voice for others. And also in addition, to make us celebrate our life and enjoy every bit of it and every moment of it until our last breath upon this Earth.

I treasured her friendship, and her support for whatever I endured and whatever I did to stand up for the voiceless. I know, she always told me about Great events to always have fun with and to forget about your challenges for even a short while. Among the things that I treasured was whenever she called me for the annual Bergen Bassmasters fishing competition at Darlington Lake in Ramsey and I always enjoyed the humor of a certain Master of Ceremonies Brian Mahoney, Paula always asked me during the time of my fishing, “Are you enjoying yourself?” and I would always reply, “I sure am. It is quite fun.” It was Paula who introduced me to the Wonders of being able to fish and enjoy the wondrous Beauty of what the universe can provide, there is life around that lake. But sometimes, whenever I fish with people, it reminds me of something that I heard so long ago. I was taught that sometimes the lake may be quiet, but there’s always life under the water and I knew that my time to be emerging and full of that energy would soon arrive. And now, that I am involved further in the fight for progress, equality, compassion, love, and a whole lot more, I absolutely can not enough thank a hero among Heroes, who in her own way, taught us to catch our own falling star and put it in our pocket and Never Let It Fade Away for real. The star always shines bright and helps us guide us even in the darkest of times. Even at the picnic or at the annual Christmas party, Paula loved life fully and taught me how to love life fully as well and celebrate it!

My friend Paula, on behalf of a Grateful Nation, no, a grateful planet, you’re amazing six decades upon the Earth on behalf of a grateful planet, I thank you for not just your six decades upon this Earth, but thank you for always being a champion of change, a soldier on the front line 4 ending discrimination, bigotry, and more, I thank you for teaching me the greatest gift of all….

Paying it forward and giving back to others.

I may be crying today that you are no longer going to be there for me or for any of us when we fish next season with the Bergen Bassmasters, or at the annual Christmas party or at our picnic, but I know you will always be there with us, in spirit, and always celebrating with us in our heart forever.

Good night my friend Paula. May flights of Angels Sing thee to thy rest good and faithful servant. I Rejoice at your spiritual promotion, and I Rejoice that you are now Among the Stars shining down upon us. Rest in peace.”

– Christopher Gagliardi


“Paula was a good, caring, loving and sweet Person I got to know of. She advocated and fought for the Lives of Residents with Disabilities State-Wide, never gave up hope, always continued to pave the way when it comes to getting accessibility of going places.

I will miss her sense of wisdom in how she shares with me when coming to the office of hip every Tuesdays and even Thursdays when facilitating the BRAN Meeting for People First through NJ Council on Developmental Disabilities. God bless her Soul, will miss her dearly from the bottom of my heart.”

Ryan Roy
Autism Advocate


“Paula dedicated her life to placing the needs of others above her own. When I was suffering from a job loss in 1991 and dealing with physical challenges related to my disability after working for the Defense department, I didn’t know what kind of job to pursue because it was so difficult for me to make phone calls with my hearing loss. Paula got me started with the PASP program which lead to a Job working for DIAL (another CIL) at 15/hr which was a respectable income. She also encouraged me to give talks to VR counselors and Police officers how to dispel myths about the hearing impaired client or motorist not to be seen as “uncooperative.” She has been my friend, advocate, and teacher. Although working with my disability has been a lifelong challenge, Paula never got bored or tired of wanting to help me find innovative solutions – not just for correcting my hearing, but in all affected aspects of my life that are impacted by my disability. She was an endless source of inspiration and courage and I will miss her during the journey of the rest of my life, always.”

– Marc Ecker

We welcome the following new and renewing members of hip for 2017!

Annie Been *

Anne Burton Walsh *

Susan Stiles

Janice Willett *

Cindy Zirkin

*Life Meber


Mark Your Calendar!

hip’s Dinner Dance will be held on Saturday, April 28th! More details to follow.

hipNews Spring 2018

Heightened Independence & Progress - Our staff

hipNews Spring 2018

A Message from the Desk of the President…

Over the course of my career I have conducted public forums, focus groups and town meetings for government agencies and professional associations. These events have always proven to be thought-provoking and stimulating as they advance the democratic process by giving the participants their chance to express their views. Those of us who run programs that provide services to groups serving people with disabilities rely on consumer input to best respond to the needs of the community.

The three topics that always emerge as priorities are Housing, Employment and Transportation; as a matter of fact we often open the conversation with this trio just to get the crowd engaged. I’ve recently been asked to co-chair the Disabilities Issues Committee of the Bergen County Workforce Development Board and while the three familiar topics emerged there was a groundswell of support for the committee to focus on transportation alone. Everyone at the table representing at least 16 community programs raised some provocative questions, expressed some dynamic suggestions and agreed to develop strategies around the effective use of available public accessible transportation in Bergen County for work, play, worship and medical appointments.

In the short time that the group spent brainstorming we each learned something new about a service or program which helped form our goal to raise the awareness of the community through some sort of seminar. Frankly, if we as service providers don’t know the resources then how can we expect our consumers to use them?

As many of you know the Independent Living movement is turning the “Big Four O” this year. It was the 1978 amendments to the Rehab Act of 1973 that responded to the advocacy efforts started by college students with disabilities who wanted equal access to education on their college campuses and guess what else…Housing, Employment and Transportation! Their advocacy grew beyond academic life to include many people interested in breaking down physical and attitudinal barriers under the slogan; “Nothing about us without us” and the world began to change and The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990.

I’m taking this trip down memory lane to illustrate that we cannot rest on past achievements:

  • The ADA has recently been under fire in the House where modifications to weaken it were proposed and passed. We need to watch that the Senate does not do anything that will let this law be watered down in the name of making a profit.
  • Despite some corporate culture shifts Diversity programs still do not always include individuals with disabilities.
  • We’re still listing Housing, Employment and Transportation as priority areas of need for people with disabilities.

At hip we are continuing to represent the empowerment of individuals with disabilities through outreach, education and advocacy. Let us know how we can help you.

Brian Fitzgibbons,

The Calendar Raffle is Back!!

The Calendar Raffle is back for the summer at hip! It’s time to take a chance to win money and support our agency at the same time. The “66 $unny Day$ of $ummer Calendar Raffle” is under way and the fun starts now – and all for $20 a ticket!

During June, July and August, five winning tickets will be selected at random each week. You will have 66 different chances to win a cash prize – with just one $20 ticket! Best of all, the more tickets you buy the more chances you have to win!

A specific cash prize is designated for each day marked on the calendar. And here’s the best part: if you win, your ticket is re-entered into the raffle for more chances to win again! Several people can share a $20 ticket as long as all their names are included on the reply form. After the winners receive their prizes, the remaining proceeds of the “66 $unny Day$ of $ummer” will support the Independent Living services and advocacy efforts hip provides to the community.

How to get into the game? You may have received a calendar raffle ticket in the mail. If not, or to obtain more, call Jayne Jacobs at the Bergen CIL, ext. 26, or e-mail her at jgugenheim.ber@hipcil.org noting “Calendar Raffle Tickets” in the subject line. She will be very happy to send as many tickets as you’d like right out to you. The grand prize is $200!

Don’t wait – buy your ticket(s) now! The reply portion of your ticket must be received by hip by Thursday, May 31st. Names of winning ticket holders will be posted every Friday on our website, www.hipcil.org, by 3 p.m. Winners will also be notified by mail. Lots of luck! We hope you have a winning ticket and a sunny summer!


Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler…

Join us and have a blast as we dance with beads and masks at The Big Easy, hip’s Annual Dinner Dance/Night of Entertainment! The Good Times will roll at the Fort Lee Recreation Center (1500 Stillwell Avenue) on Saturday, April 28th beginning at 6:30 p.m. Purple, green and gold decorations will carry out the evening’s theme which will feature our favorite DJ Gary Morton as well as dining (including some Cajun treats), dancing, and the chance to win an array of prizes. Invitations are in the mail, but if you haven’t received yours, tickets can be purchased by calling 201-996-9100 and asking for Jayne Jacobs at extension 26 or Trish Carney at extension 11. Tickets are $50 per person and must be reserved no later than Friday, April 20th.

Don’t wait – purchase your tickets to The Big Easy now!

Support Paula’s Pals at the Aurora Nonprofit Challenge

For the past three years hip has participated in the Aurora Nonprofit Challenge, a 5K Walk designed and implemented by a wonderful group of high school students who raise funds for the non-profit community. One hundred percent of all registrations and pledges go right back to the agency they are designated for in what has become a fun and extremely competitive fundraiser. hip has come in or tied for first place in each of the past three years and looks forward to your support to place on top again in 2018.

This year hip will be calling our team “Paula’s Pals” as we dedicate the walkathon to our beloved co-worker Paula Walsh, who died suddenly last August. Paula loved the walkathon and participated for the past three years. She would crank up her electric wheelchair to its highest speed and zoom off, leaving all of the other walkers in the dust, and sheepishly grin as she raced past walkers just starting out as she passed them on her return trip.

Watch your snail mail and email for details on how to participate in this exciting event on a to-be determined date in June!

Gift Giving at hip

This past holiday season was a wonderful time to be at the Bergen hip office. The amazing generosity of our community has touched each and every one of us. The amount of gifts that poured in and filled our conference room and every other spare space we could find was so thrilling, knowing that so many families would have such a happy holiday.

The parishioners of St. Peter the Apostle Church in River Edge outdid themselves as always, giving warm clothes, household items, bedding, numerous gift cards and much more. Parishioners Chris Black and Martha Mulligan organized the effort and with their team, spent hours collecting, separating and wrapping the gifts for both Bergen and Hudson hip families. We can never sufficiently thank the amazing members of St. Peter’s parish and give them our whole-hearted gratitude.

We also want to thank the Volunteer Center of Bergen County, for once again including hip in their fantastic “All Wrapped Up” holiday giving program. hip consumers received all kinds of desired gifts, including art supplies, support pillows, and non-skid slippers. This project connects gift givers with families and individuals from the community who might not have received any gifts for the holidays without this program.

All of us at hip want to thank everyone who supported these programs and brought joy to so many families over the holiday season.

hip Thanks…

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

Chris and Ron Black • Heather Broad
Michael and Marie Cook • The Esteban Family
First Presbyterian Church of Hackensack
Gwenn Hauck • Beverly Ryan
Lillian P. Schenck Fund

We extend a special thanks to all of the wonderful parishioners of St. Peter the Apostle Church in River Edge and the many individuals who participated in the Volunteer Center of Bergen County’s “All Wrapped Up” Holiday Gift-Giving Program. Due to their outstanding generosity, 70 individuals and family members received an assortment of gifts and gift cards this holiday season.

Aesthetically Accessible

We often hear the complaint that aside from the cost, it’s not practical to retrofit an old building to make it accessible and maintain the integrity of the structure. Well, the Teaneck branch of Bank of America has recently proven that you can blend form with function in the renovation of the entrance to the bank and parking area.

We’re interested in seeing more examples of projects that are “Aesthetically Accessible” and we’ll feature photos of them in our future newsletters. Email your pictures to Jayne Jacobs at jgugenheim.ber@hipcil.org with Aesthetically Accessible as the subject.

Peer Leader Training

In January, Bergen CIL staff members Jayne Jacobs and Maria Valentin participated in a 4-day certification

training offered by the Bergen County Department of Health. The training, titled “Take Control of Your Health,” was created by the Stanford University Chronic Disease Self-Management Program. It was designed to teach peer leaders how to facilitate a six-week workshop to help people to better manage chronic symptoms, work with healthcare professionals, set weekly goals, problem solve, eat well and

exercise safely and easily. Maria and Jayne will be hosting this workshop in late spring/early summer – call the Bergen CIL if you’re interested in attending!

Themed Assistive Technology Demonstrations!

Adam Krass, assistive technology consultant, is well-known in the hip community for giving wonderfully

informative one-on-one demonstrations. In May, June and July, in addition to his personalized sessions, he will be doing themed group demonstrations! See below for the monthly themes and be sure to

reserve your spot if you’re interested in attending! Call Jayne at the Bergen CIL for more information.

 May 9th at 1 p.m.
Kitchen gadgets

 June 13th at 1 p.m.
iPad & iPhone apps

 July 11th at 1 p.m.

We’re looking forward to learning more about all of these helpful tools in a dynamic group setting! Thank you, Adam! If you have any suggestions for future themed demonstrations, please let us know!

We Mourn . . .

Beverly Wennin, longtime member and friend of hip who passed away in November.

Ray Heffernan, Sr., longtime member and friend of hip who passed away in March.

Welcome to hip!

Nicole Clark joined the Bergen hip staff in October as a Care Manager at the Bergen CIL. A graduate of

Barbar-Scotia College, she began her career as a social worker with DYFS. Nicole is a Care Manager and Support Coordinator for the DDD program.

Nicole resides in Bergenfield with her husband, three children and their dog Bentley. In her free time, she enjoys making jewelry, volunteering with the Girl Scouts (call her for cookies!) and spending time with her family.

Celia Chavez joined the Hudson hip staff in August as a Support Coordinator.

Celia earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from New Jersey City University and has plans to pursue

her Masters in Psychology. While in college, Celia volunteered to help adults with visual impairments by helping them navigate the community. Celia’s interest in assisting individuals with disabilities stems from

her upbringing. Celia has a sister who has autism and her personal experience reinforced her decision to pursue a career that focused on social services. She has first-hand knowledge of the services

needed to assist an individual with a disability and finds great satisfaction in working with her consumers.

A resident of Cliffside Park, Celia enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with her loved ones. Celia hopes to start an organization someday that will help the needy in developing countries.

We also want to extend a very warm welcome back to Trisha Ebel! The Bergen hip staff is so happy to have Trisha (and Astro) back in the office working with consumers.

Join the Fun


2nd Annual Bergen County Care Fair

hip is proud to be a sponsor at the 2nd Annual Bergen County Care Fair! This year’s event will take place on May 6th at Fairleigh Dickinson University from 12 – 4 p.m.

Visit Bergen County Care Fair Website for more information!

Save the date for this year’s summer picnic! Looking forward to seeing everyone and celebrating the beginning of the summer season on Tuesday, June 19th at the Englewood Boat Basin!


Bassmasters Fishing Outing

This year’s Bassmasters Fishing Outing will take place on Saturday, June 2nd at Darlington

Park in Mahwah from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Spots are limited! Call Jayne Jacobs at the Bergen CIL for more information!


Annual Picnic

Save the date for this year’s summer picnic! Looking forward to seeing everyone and celebrating the beginning of the summer season on Tuesday, June 19th at the Englewood Boat Basin!


Invacare Reliant 450 Patient Lift
Used/Excellent Condition
Asking $399 – will deliver locally
Call Janice Franco Blehl

Jazzy Select 6 Power Chair
(by Pride Mobility Products Corp)

MPV 5 (Hoveround)
$900 Both in very good condition,
prices negotiable.

Mobility vehicle
(handicapped conversion)
2010 Honda Odyssey EX-L
30k miles, grey, good condition
Call Dottie 201-933-7884

bergenPAC Arts AccessProgram

The bergenPAC Arts Access Program continues to bring joy and amazing experiences to our members! We are so grateful to be part of this initiative! Call Jayne at the Bergen CIL for more details on how you can get free tickets to select shows at the bergenPAC.

Access Link Online

Access Link paratransit customers lead busy lives. That’s why NJ TRANSIT has made it easier to communicate with them and provide more flexible trip planning with the new Access Link Online web page. Just a click away, Access Link Online offers many options for Access Link customers, such as:

  • Viewing the estimated arrival time of an Access Link vehicle.
  • Updating home addresses.
  • Adding new destination addresses.
  • Updating phone numbers and email addresses.
  • Changing account passwords.
  • Providing feedback.

All information and requests received through Access Link Online are reviewed, evaluated and processed in a timely manner. Since its debut, more than 300 Access Link customers have saved time by cancelling trips on the new webpage rather than phoning the Access Link Call Center.

To visit Access Link Online, go to www.njtransit.com and click on “Access Link Online” at the top, right corner of the page.


NJ Transportation Options

E-Z Ride

(201) 939-4242 • www.ezride.org
Affordable and flexible transportation for older adults with Lyft and Uber throughout New Jersey.

NJ Transit Access Link

(800) 955-2321 • www.njtransit.com
Access Link is a public transportation service developed to comply with the paratransit regulations of the ADA. Access Link service is comparable to the NJ TRANSIT local fixed route bus and Light rail systems. Access Link is for people with disabilities who are unable to use the local fixed route bus. In order to use Access Link, you must first apply for eligibility.

GoGo Grandparent

(855) 464-6872 • www.gogograndparent.com
GoGo Grandparent turns on demand transportation companies like Lyft into services that help families take better care of older adults.

 New Jersey Travel|
Independence Program (NJTIP)
(848) 932-6812 • www.vtc.rutgers.edu/njtip
The mission of the New Jersey Travel Independence Program (NJTIP) is to increase the independence and self-sufficiency of people with disabilities, older adults and others by empowering them to use the public transit system safely and independently.

Bergen County
Community Transportation
(201) 368-5955 • www.co.bergen.nj.us/554/
Community-Transportation Transportation for persons with Disabilities, Senior Citizens and Veterans of Bergen County.

Hudson County Transcend
(201) 369-4320 • www.hudsoncountynj.org/about-transcend/
Seniors over 60, persons with disabilities over 18, and veterans are all eligible to participate in Hudson County’s paratransit service. Please call 211 for other transportation options.

Ski for Light—An Adventurous Approach to Winter

 By Betsy Thomason

 Are you relieved that winter is winding down? Or do you like the change of seasons, the frigid, crisp air and the often contrasting heat of a sunny winter day? Or maybe you love the fierceness of the wind. Have you ever considered taking up a winter sport – like cross-country skiing? Cross-country skiing helps me thrive in winter, on so many levels.

If you’re looking for adventure, check out Ski for Light (www.sfl.org), whose mission is to enhance the quality of life and independence of visually or mobility-impaired adults through a program of cross-country skiing. My first year guiding a blind skier was 2000. Ski for Light continues to be my adventure fix for the year.

Ski for Light 2019 is being held from January 27 through February 3 at Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby, Colorado at 8,000 feet above sea level. It’s a perfect place to learn to ski or sit-ski, but you must be in shape. At 8,000 feet, there is 15 to 20 percent less oxygen in the air. Being involved in an exercise program insures that your lungs and muscles will more easily adapt to high elevation.

Taking exercise seriously is essential for enjoyment of this unique experience.

Check out the website and feel free to call me with questions at 551-265-8561.

Thank you to Betsy Thomason for presenting at our Bergen CIL January staff meeting. We learned a lot and look forward to practicing our healthy belly breathing. “When in doubt, breathe out!”

Hudson Happenings

The hip Hudson CIL has been working with the Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Hudson County Office of Disability Services to secure four Peer Grouping Grants. These grants will support the following programs from April 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018. The programs are:

  • Community Education and Recreational Program
  • Special Assistance for Independent Living
  • Community Independent Living Support
  • Transition Case Management

The Transition Grant was a huge win for the agency because there was a great deal of competition. This will pave the way for our planned project with the Jersey City Board of Education and Hudson Community Enterprises.

Accessible Parking

In an article titled “Handicapped parking shortage is personal story” (The Record, Sunday, April 1, 2018), which was a follow up to a previous article titled “Why is it getting harder to find handicapped parking in NJ” staff writer Gene Myers shared his experiences finding accessible parking in North Jersey. He shared the following suggestions about how we can make the best of the short supply of spaces that are available.

“Things like clearing shopping carts out of the blue lines between the accessible spaces, not parking in these spaces if you don’t have a disability and making sure snow is not plowed into the spots.”

He ends the article by stating; “Seems like little things, but believe me – they mean a lot.”

Support Coordination Update

The hip Support Coordination Program for DDD continues to grow, so we have promoted Mary Mulvaney and Natalie Alave to supervise the growing number of cases in the Bergen and Hudson CILs


Do you live in the Secaucus or North Arlington areas and have low vision? Two new Adjustment to Vision Loss groups are starting in April!

The Young Adult Telephone Support Group is back! We look forward to hearing from you!

For more information on these groups, call Trisha Ebel at Bergen CIL.

Our New Website is On The Way!!

Our brand new website is almost ready and we can’t wait to share it with you! Keep an eye on your mail – a flyer will be mailed soon to let you know when it’s up and running!

We can use those discarded eye glasses!

Do you have some no-longer-used eyeglasses just sitting in a drawer because you weren’t sure what to do with them but hated to throw them away? We have the answer! Send or bring those eyeglasses (in good condition or not) to hip’s Bergen office to be passed on to those who need them in Third World countries.

2018 hipInterns

hip has a long history of hosting interns as they complete their coursework and go on to the next level in their careers. Mohamad Habehh will be graduating from the Rutgers Newark School of Social Work in May and is currently investigating a multitude of opportunities. Bergen Community College student Luisa Idrovo is headed to Rutgers New Brunswick to complete her degree in Social Work.

We’re sure that they will have brilliant careers and wish them well!

We Care

Care Management Programs at the Bergen and Hudson CILs offer information, facilitate referrals, and provide linkage to essential services for individuals who either have a disability or are caregivers. Staff assesses needs and coordinates community-based services to enhance the quality of life of both the caregiver and the care recipient.

Care managers assist in identifying needs, provide information and support, assist with applications, advocate for services, and link individuals with essential community-based resources. Assistance is provided to determine eligibility and apply for and secure essential services including, but not limited to, transportation, home health care, Meals On Wheels, legal services, Medicaid and other financial benefit programs. The ultimate goal is to assist everyone to remain in the community whenever possible.

If you know of individuals or families who could benefit from our Care Management Programs please call the Bergen or Hudson CIL and ask to be connected with a Care Manager. An initial assessment will be conducted over the phone and a home visit will be arranged as appropriate.

Do you live in the Secaucus or North Arlington areas and have low vision? Two new Adjustment to Vision Loss groups are starting in April!

The Young Adult Telephone Support Group is back! We look forward to hearing from you!

 For more information on these groups, call Trisha Ebel at the Bergen CIL.


If you are moving or your address label is incorrect, call Rhea Hess at the Bergen CIL

with your updated information. We want to make sure everyone receives hipNEWS.

Inclusion of Americans with Disabilities in the Fashion Industry

By Kabrina Parrish

For people with disabilities, getting dressed can be one of the first obstacles in the day. Recently, a number of major brands, such as Target, Tommy Hilfiger and Zappos, have released adaptive clothing lines. Items with features like magnetic closures and one-handed zippers are growing among popular brands.

Companies like Target have sought input from customers and employees with disabilities, along with nonprofits in the disability community to get their adaptive lines perfect. In a recent article, Julie Guggemos, head of Target’s product design, stated, “You don’t know what others need until you really build that empathy and understand equality.” Target found that while functionality is important, so is looking fashionable. That’s why the company hasn’t made adaptive lines, but adaptive versions of best-sellers.

The U.S. Census states that people with disabilities make up at least 19% percent of the  U.S. population, which indicates that Americans with disabilities can significantly impact the economy. While individuals with disabilities occupy a huge part of the economy, they are often overlooked. This recent change demonstrates that these individuals’ opinions deservedly are being taken into consideration.

As a Center for Independent Living, it is thrilling to see people with disabilities finally being included in the fashion industry. It is a great reflection of how the independent living movement has increased the inclusion of Americans with disabilities. Hopefully companies will go beyond basics pieces like jeans and T-shirts and utilize universal designs to meet the needs of all individuals.

Cooking Corner

It’s springtime and all the fresh vegetables are beautiful and tasting delicious!

 Pasta Primavera


  • Kosher salt
  • 12 oz. fusilli or other corkscrew pasta
  • ½ lb. sugar snap peas, halved lengthwise, or broccoli florets (or a combination)
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • ¼ c. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 pt. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ c. roughly chopped fresh mint
  • ½ c. grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 oz. of goat cheese, crumbled

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fusilli and cook as the label directs. Add the sugar snap peas and/or broccoli, carrots and bell pepper to the boiling water during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain the pasta and vegetables and return to the pot.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until just golden, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, red pepper flakes and 1 teaspoon salt; cook until the tomatoes begin to wilt, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup of the reserved cooking water. Pour the tomato mixture over the pasta and vegetables. Add the mint, parmesan and half the goat cheese and toss to combine. Season with salt.

Divide the pasta among bowls. Top with the remaining goat cheese and drizzle with olive oil.

Recipe courtesy Food Network Magazine

Pasta Primavera – Recipe courtesy of Food Network Kitchen

Modification Access Project (MAP) / Special Needs Assistance Program (SNAP) / Special Assistance for Independent Living (SAIL) / Special Assistance for Independent Living for Seniors (SENIOR SAIL)

 The lives of many people can be enhanced with a modification to their home or with assistive equipment. Would a modification to your home (a stair-glide, ramp or bathroom update, for example) make your day-to-day life easier?

Would an air conditioner be a needed addition to your home this upcoming summer due to a severe respiratory condition?

Here at hip, we have financial assistance programs to make these modifications and assistive devices available at a lower cost (and sometimes at no cost) to you! Please call Maria Valentin at ext. 10 at the Bergen CIL (for MAP/SNAP) or Angela Arboleda at the Hudson CIL (for SAIL/SENIOR SAIL) for more information on eligibility and how to apply for these programs.


  • Jeanne Aimone
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  • Dennis Dusevic
  • Patricia & Dave Ebel*|
  • Austin Epstein
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  • Ray Heffernan Sr.,** Ray Heffernan Jr.
  • and Sheryl Heffernan
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  • Rick Hodgman*
  • Henry Hof
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  • Stefanie Keiser
  • Timothy Kerr
  • Joan F. Klug*
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  • Rhea Levy
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  • George Rush
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  • Judith Shaw
  • Chandravati Singh
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  • Michael Smith*
  • Jeffrey St. Germain & Family*
  • John Stanik*
  • Samy Suqi
  • Stephanie Thomas
  • Mary Thornton
  • Janet Tolliver & Joseph Molee
  • Joseph M. Tomasko
  • Richard S. Touma
  • Ivis Trejo
  • Danny Vaca
  • Marily Gonzalez & Angelissa Vazquez
  • Carol Viceconte*
  • Ron Vida
  • Anne Burton Walsh*
  • Anthony Wasilenko
  • Joan & Richard Wechsler
  • Janice Willett*
  • Warren Williams & Virginia Flynn
  • Peter & Kathleen Wirt
  • Richard S. Wolfman*
  • Marianne Valls
  • Anthony & Mary Yorio
  • Nancy, Barry & Cheryl Zweben
  • Corporate Members:
  • Drive-Master Co., Inc. –
  • Peter B. Ruprecht
  • Fair Housing Council
  • Jerry’s Drug & Surgical Supply
  • J.S. Perlman, Public Accountants
  • Northeast New Jersey Legal Services –
  • Anna P. Navatta, Esq.
  • Out of Breath Institute –
  • Betsy Thomason, Founder

*Life Member


Looking forward to seeing everyone and celebrating the beginning of the summer season on Tuesday, June 19th at the Englewood Boat Basin

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