(201) 996-9100 Bergen / (201) 533-4407 Hudson
hipNews Summer 2021

hipNews Summer 2021

hip Newsletter Summer 2021



From the Desk of the President: 

During these past 16 months of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic we have become very conscious of milestones and anniversaries. The country is currently inching toward the 70% mark for vaccinations by making them available at many convenient locations. The hip staff continues to help consumers make informed decisions about the vaccine and collaborating with our state and county partners.

July 13 marked the first anniversary of our partial return to the office. We worked remotely from the beginning of the shutdown but as restrictions began to be lifted, we had the office deep cleaned, sanitized and outfitted with plexiglass shields to maintain appropriate social distancing. All of us are well equipped with PPE and various cleaning supplies for our individual use. We have developed a schedule where we split the staff into two shifts working two days in the office and two days remotely with Friday as a clean-up and meeting day. We are still not seeing people in the office or making home visits, but we are doing our best to stay in contact with all of the consumers. We have established dedicated hotlines in both offices. Our current plan is to continue with our split sessions until the end of August and gradually increase office time through September with a full opening October 1.

I cannot discuss dates without commemorating the 31st Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on July 26. We have come a long way by promoting universal design, enhancing equity in public education and continuing our advocacy for equality in all areas of the American experience.

For the future we need to remain aware of the importance of this legislation and to be sure that its intent remains prominent in the conversations on inclusion, equal rights and diversity.

Please enjoy this edition of hipNews and let us know what you think.



Summer Calendar Raffle 

Thank you to everyone who purchased raffle tickets to support hip’s programs! 312 tickets were sold to hip friends near and far – the farthest located in China! We’re looking forward to picking winners every week until the end of September. Good luck to all!

A special thanks goes out to hip consumer Richard Pietrzak and accounting firm Malesardi, Quackenbush, Swift & Company LLC for selling so many tickets to support hip!

On The Road with hip – By Brian Fitzgibbons 

Not only are we thankful that hip received funds from the CARES Act, but we are proud of the opportunity to have helped so many people during this extraordinary time. As we distributed ShopRite gift cards or set someone up with an i-Pad we would always question,” How can we reach more people?”

We found a way with the help of several Meals on Wheels distribution centers, the Bergen Volunteers’ CHORE service and our friends at St. Peter the Apostle Church. Based on the concept of “go bags” used in an emergency we thought about what people would need who are unable to leave their homes without assistance, and we created “Bags of Essentials”.

Each bag included a pack of 48 blank note cards, a pen, a book of USPS forever stamps, liquid soap, hand sanitizer, a toothbrush and toothpaste, tissues and a pack of light bulbs. In the second phase of the project, we replaced the lightbulbs with an assortment of batteries and a small flashlight. Each bag also included the latest information on the vaccine and the many services that hip has to offer.

By partnering with our colleagues, we were able to get the bags to 200 individuals in Bergen and we anticipate getting another 65 to recipients of the Hudson County Meals on Wheels program.

I would like to thank the hip staff members who ordered the items, printed materials and packed the bags. A special thanks goes to Girl Scout Troop #95493 (emailed Nicole for info) for coming into the office after hours to assist with the packing.

All Things hip 

For information on all things hip, please follow us on Facebook and check our website for updates! www.hipcil.org In our effort to supply critical information to consumers as quickly as possible, hip is developing a database of email addresses. Regular mail is moving more slowly now, so it is important for us to have other means of communicating with you. Please send an email to contactme@hipcil.org with your personal email address or text the word hip to 22828 (message and data rates may apply) and we will add you to the database. Make sure you check your junk mail folder in case our emails end up in there

Welcome to hip, Mariana!

Mariana Martinez joined the Hudson hip CIL in July as an Independent Living Specialist. She is a Hudson County resident and former recreational therapist assistant with experience in rehabilitation and community reintegration. As an individual with a disability, she understands the needs and obstacles faced daily by many individuals.

Mariana is eager to begin working with disability community partners to best assist consumers in reaching independent living goals. She looks forward to assisting consumers and their families with information, linkage, and community resources. Mariana is passionate about advocacy and working with individuals with disabilities. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, reading books, and traveling.

AVL Update! 

The Adjustment to Vision Loss Project has been thriving with new members joining each week. Not only does hip have 7 monthly group meetings reaching close to 100 consumers each month, we have a new addition to the AVL Program – yoga!

Thien Vu began teaching yoga to our AVL consumers in November, volunteering her time on a weekly basis to instruct our hip consumers on how to feel well and practice good health.

Thien has practiced Body and Brain yoga for three years and has been a volunteer yoga instructor for almost a year. Body and Brain yoga practice combines elements from a variety of Eastern practices to enhance one’s physical, mental and energetic health. Each class not only trains the body’s flexibility, strength and balance but helps center awareness inside oneself. Through breathing postures, participants will accumulate energy and strengthen the core, leaving them feeling recharged, relaxed, and refreshed. The practice has locations all over the United States and offers both in-person and online classes. Thien has been teaching classes for people who are blind and visually impaired as part of the Body and Brain yoga outreach program.

Ms. Vu teaches classes on Zoom and over the phone. She is passionate about sharing this practice with others through her classes because this yoga practice helps her with her physical health as well as her emotional and spiritual growth. She has developed a stronger connection with herself and feels more at peace. She wants to share the practice so that others may experience similar positive changes so she created a yoga YouTube video for the blind that can be found at www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQidLT3xHaM

Thien has been legally blind since birth. She came to the United States from Vietnam when she was 19 years old. She started high school and graduated third in her class. She attended Stony Brook University on a full scholarship where she graduated with honors with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Thien has been working for the U.S Department of Labor since 2000 as a Human Resources Specialist. In her free time, she crochets and knits blankets for the Project Linus charity organization and various other outreach projects. During the pandemic, she hand-sewed hundreds of masks for the homeless shelters in New York City.

Please email tebel@hipcil.org if you have any questions on this wonderful addition to the AVL program.

hip Humpday Home Happenings 

Every Wednesday evening since early March, a group of approximately 15 participants have been Zooming in to hip Humpday Home Happenings, a virtual recreation program developed by Trish Carney to help to alleviate some of the isolation consumers have been experiencing as they spend so much time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The program’s activities have included playing Bingo, learning magic tricks, and an indoor scavenger hunt as well as several sing-a-longs with hip’s long-time friend, the multi-talented Bill Jones who demonstrated his skills on the guitar, mandolin, ukulele, fiddle and harmonica.


All participants were mailed a box containing a variety of arts and crafts supplies for the program’s weekly activities which included painting suncatchers and wooden ornaments, decorating cookies, and making a decoupage bird. The activity box also included a sombrero which participants donned for a virtual Cinco de Mayo party, where they made chicken tacos and garnished them with salsa, queso and guacamole from Fiesta Kits that were no-contact delivered to their homes.

COVID-19 Community Response Program Update 

The COVID-19 Community Response Program continues to help those families and individuals who have been affected by COVID-19 with food cards, utilities and rental assistance, which has been a great help to those who have been falling behind on their payments. hip staff has also assisted 116 consumers and their families to make COVID-19 vaccine appointments and have also provided transportation for them!

hip recently worked with a family of 4 that had been struggling to buy monthly food supplies. hip was able to help them several times by supplying emergency food gift cards while they obtained jobs to be financially stable. They are now finally able to continue their lives without assistance. This is one of the many stories of families we have come across at hip who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are happy to have made a difference during their most difficult times.

This program has been extended until September 2022 or until funds are exhausted. Please visit our website at www.hipcil.org/funding/ for more information and to download an application.

Shoutout to Starbucks – their gift cards include Braille to identify them! Let us know if you notice any other places where Braille is used for everyday items. Hint: Check the average pill caddy.

We Welcome the Following New and Renewing Members of hip for 2021! 

Genevieve Farrell

Marily Gonzalez

Catherine Haralynn Wighard

Diane Love

Mr. & Mrs. Brendan McMahon

Gloria Ortiz

Richard Pietrzak

JoAnn Struzienski

Cindy Zirkin

You can become a member of hip!

For a membership form visit the website at www.hipcil.org or call one of our offices!


Remembering Sam Ballard 

Many of you remember Sam Ballard, who was a driver for hip clients for many years through Community Transportation. Sam passed away in May having had a severe stroke the month before.

He was an excellent driver having won the Bergen County Community Transportation Roadeo several times and represented the county in the State Roadeo. Having placed 1st and 2nd in the State competition he went to the national Roadeo and placed within the top 5 a few times.

Murder Mystery Events – By Trisha Ebel 

The Adjustment to Vision Loss consumers enjoyed spending time together via Zoom as they all joined together to solve a murder mystery with The Murder Mystery Company, an event funded by a grant from the Fund for the New Jersey Blind. We had 2 events combined of 25 consumers and one professional actor from the company.

Our theme for both events was “This One Last Time.” A group of 8 people were being blackmailed by a mysterious person named RIP in this modern-day twist on the movie CLUE. You arrived at a grand mansion, invited by your blackmailer, and soon after a murder occurs! But who in this room knows your deepest secret? Find the true killer in this classic WhoDunnit mystery!

I had the opportunity to cast the characters and everyone played their part well. Many participants even dressed up for their part and some even used accents! It was a really fun comedic two-hour murder mystery.

The company accommodated the groups and made the event very accessible. Everyone enjoyed themselves and it was such a great time!

We Mourn… 

Our hip family lost the following people in recent months:

The hip family is very sad to report the passing of longtime Board member and Board Secretary, Joe Tomasko. Joe worked for the NJ Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired where he held many titles finally working as The Program Development Specialist for CBVI’s vocational rehabilitation program.

In addition to his work for hip, Joe was involved in numerous community organizations including the North Arlington Volunteer Emergency Squad, Bergen Medical Transport, Covenant House and his home parish, Queen of Peace in North Arlington.

Joe never refused an opportunity to help and was a devoted caregiver to family members as well as good friends. The hip Board has made a contribution in his name to The Seeing Eye.

Juner Williams, hip friend and disability equipment expert. Juner was loved by all who met him and his fun-loving personality and vast technical knowledge will be greatly missed.

We also mourn all those lost to COVID-19.

hip Thanks… 

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

Estate of Heather Broad

Genevieve Farrell

Fund for the New Jersey Blind

Hackensack Lions Club

Kaplen Foundation

We also thank all those who supported our No Attend Fundraiser The Hunkerdown Hoedown and our Summer Calendar Raffle.

Perhaps we can consider: 

At hip we are always on the lookout for new ways to best serve you. Drop us a line and let us know what we can develop to enhance your independent living experience.

Perhaps we can consider:

· A discussion group around a current short story;

· The creation of a job exploration group;

· A job club; or,

· Legislative advocacy.


We’re eager to hear from you.

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hipNews Spring 2021

hipNews Spring 2021

hip Newsletter Spring 2021



From the Desk of the President: 

As you read this, the nation is marking a full year of coping with the global pandemic known as COVID-19. Last year we considered “quarantine” a word from the past and were convinced that we’d lick this thing in several weeks. We never envisioned travel restrictions, business shutdowns, food and product shortages, the concept of remote learning and the many other adjustments that we made to stay healthy. Sadly, many of our relatives, friends and neighbors fell victim to this strange illness and we quickly came to realize that things will never be the same.  

During the initial months of the closure, hip staff quickly adapted to serving our consumers by phone and remote access. As a grantee of the Federally funded Administration for Community Living we received CARES Act funds to provide services to those in need in Bergen and Hudson Counties. This money enabled us to expand our services to provide food, energy and rental assistance, the purchase of i-Pads and computers and a wide range of medical and environmental aides.  

In July we were able to split our work week by staggering the staff schedules to have a half 

time presence in the office to stay current on paperwork and to respond to our newly established hotline. Our move back to the office involved a deep cleaning, the installation of plexiglass partitions and new protocols for social distancing and the wearing of masks.   

You may have noticed that this is the first full length newsletter that we’ve published in the past year. We have been hard at work enhancing our website www.hipcil.org and we’ve become a part of Constant Contact, which offers instant communication to our members. Please send us your email addresses so we can include you in news and announcements. This doesn’t mean that we’ve abandoned the Postal Service. Over the past six months we have mailed numerous sets of gloves and facemasks along with special candy bars and holiday cookies.  

As we look forward to the Spring of 2021 we are planning to host some Zoom activities and hope to increase our ability to be your resource for information. I want to hear from you to learn what services we can offer you to maximize your ability to successfully live in your community. In the meantime, we’ll get through this together.  



COVID-19 Community Response Program Update 

The COVID-19 Community Response Program began in April 2020 with funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The program was designed to address food insecurities, PPE (personal protective equipment), assistive devices (medical and non-medical), transportation, in-home support services, and emergency rental and utility assistance related to COVID-19.  

With this program, hip has been able to supply many consumers with needed financial assistance during the pandemic. Items funded during these very trying times have been microwaves and other household appliances, tablets/iPads, laptops, air conditioners, PPE (masks and gloves), a space heater, a wheelchair ramp, a recliner and over $6,000 worth of ShopRite gift cards. hip was also able to pay several PSEG bills and provide emergency rental assistance from this program.  

The program will run through September (while funds are still available). If you’d like more information on the program or to fill out an application, visit our website or call Maria Valentin at 201-996-9100 ext. 18 (Bergen) or Alejandro Paredes 201-533-4407 (Hudson).  

A Different Type of Annual Meeting 

On the evening of November 18th, 2020 hip hosted its first virtual Annual Meeting. It was quite unlike any Annual Meeting in the past. Instead of gathering in a large room enjoying dinner and dessert together, we gathered around our computer screens with a mug of hot chocolate and popcorn (mailed by the hip staff).  

We listened to Brian Fitzgibbons, CEO and President, discuss the achievements of hip during 2020. It was a year full of challenges and changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic and we are proud of how we met each issue with motivation and a desire to help our consumers as best we could. Some highlights of the year included: 

  • The Bergen and Hudson CILs provided information and services to 919 consumers, family members, friends and professionals. Although the vast majority resided in Bergen and Hudson Counties, individuals from all areas of New Jersey benefited as well. 
  • The Bergen and Hudson CILs partnered with the NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities to provide Support Coordination services. Support Coordinators worked with 133 consumers to assist them in accessing community-based supports and services to enhance their independent living. Efforts were directed in such areas as identifying appropriate programs and providers, facilitating socialization skills and building life experiences with the ultimate goal of securing employment.  
  • Rehabilitation Technology funding enabled 124 individuals to receive disability-related equipment.  Home modifications that increased safety and access in home environments were funded for 23 individuals. 
  • The Adjustment to Vision Loss Project Peer Support Groups gained many new members this year.  In-person groups met monthly in Fort Lee, North Arlington, Washington Township, Jersey City and Secaucus, and then met remotely several times each month after COVID-19 hit. Consumers met to talk with one another to gain emotional support, exchange helpful information, and learn practical solutions to many new challenges, including social distancing. Many consumers have taken the opportunity to learn more about technology in this new virtual era. Consumers also had the opportunity to partake in informative presentations made by professionals in the field offering more knowledge to assist with learning how to live in our “new normal.” Two telephone support groups, with participants from all regions of the state, continued to meet and expand on a biweekly basis. One group is for young adults under 30 and the other is for individuals over the age of 30.  
  • Care Management programs in both CILs provided assessments and linkages to financial benefits and community-based services such as Food Stamps, prescription assistance, Meals on Wheels, Medicaid and many other resources which enabled 153 individuals to continue to live independently in the community.  
  • hip also provided case management services through the statewide Traumatic Brain Injury Fund.  This Fund, which receives its revenue from a $.50 surcharge on motor vehicle registrations, purchases services and supports to enable individuals who have been impacted by a traumatic brain injury to live independently in the community. 
  • hip conducted 357 Access Link eligibility interviews from October 2019 through September 2020. This NJ Transit program was established to provide public transportation to people with disabilities who are unable to use the fixed route bus services.  

We are happy that with current technology, we were still able to “meet” for the Annual Meeting and let the attendees know all that hip achieved during 2020. The new  

Annual Report is available on our website www.hipcil.org. 

hip Thanks… 

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

Elaine Appellof and Jerome Saunders 

Bergenfield Lions Club 

Chris and Ron Black 

Adele Cannie 

Michael and Marie Cook 

Lottie Esteban and Family 

William Fellinger 

First Presbyterian Church of Hackensack 

Andrew and Linda Goff 

John Koch 

Eve and Mort Levinson 

Lions Club of River Edge 

Managed Business Solutions 

Anna Navatta 

John Stanik 

Philip and Linda Webster-Cennerazzo 

Special Thanks to the wonderful parishioners of St. Peter the Apostle Church in River Edge for their outstanding generosity to many of our consumers through their participation in the virtual Giving Tree this past holiday season.   

Calendar Raffle

The Summer Calendar Raffle will be back later this year!
Stay tuned for updates!

Welcome to hip! 

hip recently welcomed 2 new staff members! Please read further to get to know them and how they are helping make hip an even greater asset for our consumers. 

Alejandro Paredes joined the Hudson hip staff in July as the COVID-19 Response Program Coordinator. Alejandro earned a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from New Jersey City University. He is furthering his education into Environmental Science and hopes to one day help modern science fight pollution.  

Alejandro has always enjoyed helping others. In the past he volunteered by handing out turkeys to families in Union City for Thanksgiving and feeding the homeless in New York City. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family, traveling and reading books.  

Pedro Martin joined the Bergen hip staff in November as the Website Developer. Pedro has a Master of Science in International Maritime Transportation Management from the Ukraine and continued on to study Computer Science in Cuba.  

Pedro was initially a consumer of hip and created the current website as a volunteer. The knowledge he gained about hip’s mission has helped him to design innovative additions to the website and ensure it has complete accessibility for all. 

Pedro and his wife Lucia are looking forward to May when they will welcome their second grandchild into their family! 


Hunkerdown Hoedown! 

 Heightened Independence and Progress Invites You to Our First (and Hopefully Only) Hunkerdown Hoedown! 

A Socially Distant NO ATTEND Fundraiser 

Date: Friday, March 26, 2021 

Place: The Comfort of Your Own Home 

Time: It Doesn’t Matter – You Won’t Be Late! 

Don Your Favorite Comfy Clothes, Do Si Do to Your Kitchen for a Home-Cooked Meal, Promenade in Front of Your Fireplace, and Swing and Sashay to Your Favorite Music! No Cowboy Boots or Hats Needed!  


Everyone will win as you stay safe and well at home and hip raises funds to benefit the programs at our Bergen and Hudson Centers for Independent Living and replenishes funding lost due to COVID-19.  

So far we know that the following people are going to Kick Off their Cowboy Boots and Stay Home: Brian Fitzgibbons (hip President/CEO), Trish Carney (Vice President/CFO), Marily Gonzalez (Hudson hip Executive Director), Anna Navatta (Chair, hip Board of Trustees) and Dr. Anthony Fauci. Can we add your name to our list?  




We Mourn… 

Our hip family lost the following members in recent months: 

John Barbe (father of hip Care Manager Shoshana Stubin) 

Heather Broad 

Peter DelVecchio 

Solomon Epstein 

Ruth Ernst 

Karen Fitzgibbons (wife of President/CEO Brian Fitzgibbons) 

Ronald Phillips 

We also mourn all those lost to COVID-19.  

Check out the updated hip website! 

Thanks to our new website developer, Pedro Martin, the hip website is now available in 20 languages! In addition to that, there are also plenty of great updates! The website is now easier to navigate and includes testimonials from many hip consumers. Check it out at www.hipcil.org and let us know what you think! 


hip Success Story! 

Several months ago, hip’s COVID-19 Community Response Program funded Fusion software for Nelsida Melo, a longtime hip consumer. Nelsida requested the software, which combines magnification and visual enhancements for ease of screen viewing with screen reading functionality, so she could take some online courses and find employment. As she is a hardworking single mother, we were happy to assist her by purchasing this special technology to help further her career in the midst of the pandemic. 

We learned recently that Nelsida has obtained employment with the NJ Contact Tracing Department! She was able to go through the entire application process and training because of the software purchased. We are thrilled the program was able to help her and look forward to helping many more consumers throughout the year. We asked Nelsida a few questions about her experience and are excited to share her responses with our hip community! 


Q: How do you feel now that you have employment and are working from home? 

A: I am so happy! This was my dream and a goal I have had for a few years now that I thought was unachievable. I want to tell everyone that I am now working and that Trisha and hip have been there for my daughter and I through thick and thin! 


Q: Were you nervous during the training period for your new job? 

A: Yes, I was very nervous. But as I was in the training with the other trainees, I was able to learn and solve problems along with everyone else. 


Q: What is your comfort zone after working a few weeks along with the software? 

A: With the new software it has made my tasks for work much easier. Using the magnification has taken such a strain off my eyes and made it more comfortable to complete my work. This is very important since a majority of my work is on the computer. 


Q: How would you sum up your experience in this new chapter in your life? 

A: The technology has been a tremendous help for me in searching for work and in my training. I was anxious during training since I have not worked in 7 years.  After training was completed, I was still a little bit nervous, but once I took a few calls and got the hang of it, I became more comfortable. I am super happy that I am working. It has definitely boosted my confidence with my disability. I am very grateful to hip for helping me so much and getting me to where I’m at today. 

hip hip Hooray! 

Kathy Moore, who worked in the Bergen office under the Easter Seals SCSEP initiative for several years, has been named to Kessler Institute’s Community Advisory Board for the Northern New Jersey Spinal Cord Injury Model System. A longtime advocate for individuals with disabilities, Kathy will make great contributions to the Board. 

Barbara Conklin has been designing the artwork for hipNews and many other hip projects (including Dinner Dance invitations) over the years. Recently she worked on the hip 2021 calendar, which was comprised of photos taken by hip members, staff and family. Thank you, Barbara, for all your incredible work! Your talent makes hip shine! 

Ryan Roy, who spent several years as an intern at hip, is celebrating eight months at his new job as a Recreation Aide at Genesis Healthcare Center in Ridgewood. His duties include setting up the materials for the various activities and pitching in wherever he is needed.   

Congratulations to The Bergen County Job Center on its recent name change. Many of us remember it as the One-Stop Career Center but check out their new look and expanded services at www.bergenjobcenter.com. 


Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions 

Maria Valentin and Jayne Jacobs from the Bergen CIL will be hosting a six-week virtual 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. It will take place via Zoom one morning a week from starting in May. 

The workshop is titled “Take Control of Your Health” and was created by the Stanford University Chronic Disease Self-Management Program. RSVP’s are on a first-come first-serve basis and required by April 5th. Spots are limited, so call the Bergen office at 201-996-9100 (Maria ext. 18 or Jayne ext. 26) to book your place today! 

All Things hip 

For information on all things hip, please follow us on Facebook and check our website for updates! 

In our effort to supply critical information to consumers as quickly as possible, hip is developing a database of email addresses. Regular mail is moving more slowly now, so it is important for us to have other means of communicating with you. Please send an email to contactme@hipcil.org with your personal email address or text the word hip to 22828 (message and data rates may apply) and we will add you to the database. Make sure you check your junk mail folder in case our emails end up in there! 

We Welcome the Following New and Renewing Members of hip for 2021! 

Jeanne Aimone 

Roselyn Altman 

Peter Ambrose 

Kevin Angelini 

James Arkills 

Megan Barron 

Deborah Baumann-Dasilva 

Annie Been* 

James Benthall 

Joanna Benthall 

Darrell & Tamiko Bethea* 

Chris & Ron Black 

Paula Bloom 

Jerry Bojko 

Mario Brusco 

George & Mildred Bullerdick 

Anna Bures 

Eileen Burke 

Daniel, Brenda & Jerry Calabrese 

Tonielle Cardinale 

Jeanne Carney 

Mary Carney 

Tom & Susan Carney 

Trish Carney* 

Antoinette P. Celia 

Kay Chase* 

Jaesoon Choi 

The Ciccone Family 

Lillian Ciufo* 

Elizabeth Cohen 

Barbara B. Comerford, Esq.* 

Michael & Marie Cook* 

Sonia Cordova-Chumpitaz 

Joyce L. Coye 

Jim & Jean Csaposs* 

Ivan Cueva 

Mary Culver 

Howard Cutler 

Carol Dass* 

Jarrett Dean 

Michael Delgado 

Martha DeYoung 

Jamie Dimitrion 

Anthony Dinaro 

James Dougherty 

Barbara Dublin* 

  1. Robert Duffy*

Dennis Dusevic 

Patricia & Dave Ebel* 

Austin Epstein 

Lottie Esteban* 

Oria E. Estrada 

Francesca Farrell 

William & Stella Fellinger 

Karen Mae Ferolino 

Betty Fetzer* 

Yolanda Fisher 

Brian Fitzgibbons 

Karen Fitzgibbons** 

Virginia Flynn & Warren Williams 

Michael Fondacaro 

Katherine Fotopoulos 

Katherine Gabry & Family 

Laurie Galvin 

Dorothy Genoni 

Andrew & Linda Goff 

Alan & Lynn Gold 

Mary Jo Hackett 

Jack & Alice Hamburg 

The Harries Family 

Alfred Harvey 

Bojane Heap 

Eusebia Heckel 

Dana Hemmings 

Rick Hodgman* 

Henry Hof III 

Linda Horvath 

Kenel Hyppolite 

Michelle Jones 

Timothy Kerr 

Clark King 

Joan F. Klug* 

John Koch* 

Lorena & Ana Kos 

Zoraida Krell 

Diana LaForge 

Jeanne Laraia 

Virginia L. Laughlin 

Louise Lee 

Susan & Kin Lee 

Diane Lennon 

Marion Levine 

Rhea Levy  

Chili Li* 

Judith Liebman 

Gloria Lieberstein* 

Roy Lippin* 

Margaret Lusch 

Joyce & Leonard Malech* 

Patricia Martin-Barksdale 

Joan Martorella 

Nelsida Melo 

Ann Melone* 

Concepcion R. Mendoza 

Dr. Frances Meyer* 

John (JJ) Mulholland 

Bob & Martha Mulligan 

Madeline Murray 

Brian McGrath 

Anna P. Navatta, Esq.* 

Sonia Noel 

Beatrice Olivetti 

Margaret Papageorgiou 

Chris Paraskevacos 

Danielle Pettineo 

Marianne Pigoncelli * 

Sandra R. Pinkerton 

Anne Marie Prendergast 

Noel Prussack 

Joe Revello 

Carmen Reyes 

Cruz Rodriguez 

Ryan Roy 

Bev & Dick Ryan* 

Mary Sanfilippo 

Marie Sawyer 

Stephanie Seid 

Judith Shaw 

Barbara Simon 

Douglas Simon 

Chandravati Singh 

Charan Singh 

Donn Slonim* 

Lynn Smith 

Maria Smith 

Michael Smith* 

Jeffrey St. Germain & Family* 

John Stanik* 

Samy Suqi 

Debra Tester 

Stephanie Thomas 

Mary S. Thornton 

Janet Tolliver 

Tess Tomasi 

Joseph Tomasko 

Daniela M. Triunfel-Fernandez 

Danny Vaca 

Jane P. Valenti 

Joe Valenti 

Carol Viceconte* 

Ron Vida 

Anne Burton Walsh* 

Paula Webber 

Philip & Linda Webster-Cennerazzo* 

Janice Willett* 

Richard S. Wolfman* 

Sharon Womack 

Anthony & Mary Yorio* 

Nancy, Barry & Cheryl Zweben 


Corporate Members: 

Jerry’s Drug & Surgical 


*Life Member 

** Deceased 


You can still become a member of hip for 2021! For a membership form visit the website at www.hipcil.org or call one of our offices! 


A Big Thank You! 

By Trisha Ebel 

Heightened Independence and Progress (hip) would like to thank the Mayor of Secaucus, Mike Gonnelli, along with his staff for their support and assistance to hip consumers. The attendees of the Secaucus Adjustment to Vision Loss group always enjoyed it when Mike would stop in at the monthly meeting and say hello. Mike has been the Mayor of Secaucus for 12 years now and one of his proudest and biggest accomplishments for the town is that he has been able to sustain the lowest property tax rates in Hudson County. 

Mayor Mike and his team work from the heart; they love what they do and it shows. 

Since the pandemic began, the Mayor has been in touch with hip and has greatly helped out by providing clothing and accessories to many hip consumers through the Secaucus Emergency Fund. The president of this fund is Lisa Snedeker, who is also the Director of Senior and Community Services (2 different entities). Here is a quote from Lisa: 

“I started the Secaucus Emergency Fund as a way to help residents keep their quality of life. We help people by referring to social service agencies that are equipped to handle specific situations. We also have the emergency food pantry and give out food twice a month. But sometimes that’s not enough. Sometimes people have an emergency come up that requires immediate assistance and that’s where the emergency fund comes in. It’s really set up to help residents in need. During this pandemic I can’t tell you the numbers of people we helped. Along with doing good things for front line workers—sending in lunch and whatever we can do.” 

The hip staff and consumers are forever grateful to Mayor Mike, his staff, and the Secaucus Emergency Fund for making such a difference in our consumers’ lives. Their continued support is truly appreciated. For me, Trisha Ebel, being a lifetime resident of Secaucus, it has been incredibly rewarding to be able to intertwine the work I do alongside the various departments within the town of Secaucus.   


Calendar of Events


Virtual Book Club Conference Call
April 30 May 28 June 25


Secaucus – 10am Via Zoom
April 1 May 6 June 3

North Arlington – 2pm Via Zoom
April 13 May 11 June 8

Washington Township/Fort Lee – 10am
Every Wednesday Via Conference Call

Telephone Support Group

Young Adult Peer Group Conference Call
Ages 18 – 30 7:30 pm
April 6 May 4 June 1

Older Adult Peer Group Conference Call
Ages 31 – 50 7:30 pm
April 15 May 20 June 17

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 41 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: Brian Fitzgibbons (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:
Jenny 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: Care Management Staff (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 safety 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: Tamara Clark (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)


Anna Navatta

Betty A. Fetzer

Richard M. Hodgman

Joseph Tomasko

Karen Canellos
Lottie Esteban
Roy Lippin
Hyacinthe Nkurunziza
Anne Marie Prendergast
Mary Turner

Brian Fitzgibbons, MPA, CRC


Something New This Year – a hip Calendar! 

Thank you to everyone who contributed their beautiful photos for the hip 2021 calendar! It’s a wonderful collection and we look forward to seeing them all year long. 

Access Link Alert! 

The Access Link toll-free number will be retired on April 5th, 2021. In preparation, please start using 973-491-4224. All of the phone menu options will remain the same. 

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hipNews Summer 2020

hipNews Summer 2020

hip Newsletter Summer 2020


Thank You!

hip would like to thank ALL of the essential workers on the front lines of this pandemic. Every single one of you is a hero and we are very grateful for your efforts.

From The Desk Of The President

Just as we were finalizing our plans for hip’s 40th Anniversary we got the order from the Governor to self-quarantine. Fortunately for us a great deal of our work takes place on the phone or in the field so with some modifications we have been able to work remotely. We have been able to coordinate services with our county and state partners and even stay connected with many of you and we want that to continue. So, in the tradition of hipNews we have curated information that will be helpful as we move forward.

If, as the song goes, that “every cloud must have a silver lining” ours has been The CARES Act. We have received federal funds to cover COVID–19 related services that are designed to keep you safe, healthy and connected to your communities. Our entire staff in both offices will continue to work within their specific program areas and will be available to offer all necessary independent living services.

Be safe and stay in touch,


COVID-19 Community Response Program Funding Application

Welcome to the COVID-19 Community Response Program, administered by Heightened Independence and Progress (hip) in Bergen and Hudson Counties. The program will address food insecurities, personal protective equipment, assistive devices (medical and non-medical), transportation, in-home support services, and emergency rental and utility assistance related to COVID-19. In order for us to be more efficient in evaluating your request for funding, we will need your cooperation and diligence. Our program coordinators are available to assist you.

The following items must be included with the application:

  • APPLICATION: Fully complete the 3-part application, all information is required. 
  • MEDICAL PRESCRIPTION: It should state your disability (COPD, end stage renal failure, lung cancer, diabetes, heart disease, developmental delay, etc.) and the reason you need the item you are requesting. The doctor, or other health care provider, may fax it directly to us. 
  • ONE-TIME EMERGENCY RENTAL OR UTILITY ASSISTANCE: Please include a copy of the lease, utility bill and documentation of past due amount. 
  • PROOF OF INCOME is required. Submit most recent income verification (Social Security, pension, wages, etc.). We will require information about income changes due to COVID-19 circumstances. 
  • If you are applying for an air conditioner or home modification, a letter from the landlord, granting you permission to obtain/install item, must be included. The program does not provide installation. Installing air conditioners is the consumer’s responsibility. You may call the ASK Umbrella Program at 1-973-200-4499 for air conditioner installation assistance. 
  • The COVID-19 Community Response Program can also provide one-time $250 funding towards the purchase of incontinence or wound care supplies for individuals in need.

INDEPENDENT LIVING PLAN is a tool used to assist consumers to meet their goals. Please complete the section that is most appropriate.

Due to the high volume of applications we receive, it is very important that you complete and email this application promptly. Please note that hip cannot reimburse you for any paid bill(s). hip makes payments directly to the vendor. We will not be able to process your request until all documents are received.

Each application will be reviewed, and funding will be determined based on need.

hip has 2 locations to serve the community. If you have any questions or need assistance completing the application, please contact us at the office in your county. All contact information is on the left side of the front page.

A Note from the Hudson CIL Executive Director

To our consumers, their families and colleagues,

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost 4 months since we closed our office to outside visitors. We made the decision to close due to the Stay-at-Home order because there is nothing more important to us than the health and safety of our consumers, colleagues and staff.  As the situation with the COVID-19 virus continues to evolve, hip is committed to developing ways to provide services for people with disabilities in the safest, most efficient manner possible. We understand there are needs in our community that are not being met and we are working to close those gaps.

hip’s staff will continue to contact all current and former consumers over the next days and weeks to check-in, provide information, and help connect consumers and their families to services and resources, so that they can obtain what is needed during these difficult times. We are keenly aware of the challenges faced by many who lack access to food, protective equipment, medications, medical equipment, and other life-sustaining necessities and we are dedicated to helping. hip’s staff and I want to make sure we are connecting and reaching all those in need. As we move towards the goal of safely reopening, we continue to provide all services and programs remotely and extend our support to all.

Marily Gonzalez

How hip Helps…

All of us at hip have been working hard to make sure our consumers are safe and supported during this difficult time. Here are just a few examples.

LC contacted hip in a desperate attempt to receive assistance with her unemployment claim. She has been a lawful resident for the last twenty-three years; however, she had no idea how to obtain any services. LC has osteoarthritis in her hands which has caused her to have a difficult time obtaining a job. At the time, LC worked at a supermarket but due to many preexisting health conditions, she left the establishment in fear of contracting COVID-19. The Care Manager at hip assisted her by creating an email address and opening her unemployment claim. LC was granted PUA unemployment as well as the additional $600. The Care Manager also helped LC apply for health insurance and food stamps. LC is thriving with all of the services she is now receiving with help from hip.

MS is a man in his 40s with Down syndrome and early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. He lives at home with his mother, and as his day program has been closed since mid-March, his mother is constantly faced with his progressive cognitive deterioration. MS refuses to wear a mask, so his mother cannot take him anywhere, and the days at home with him are very long. She was very grateful to be referred to a virtual support group for caregivers of individuals with early-onset dementia. Also, his hip DDD Support Coordinator provided his mother with registration information for a series of guided sculpting workshops on Zoom designed for individuals in the early stages of dementia and their caregivers, with all supplies delivered to participants’ homes.

SE is a 79-year-old woman who was referred by another hip consumer, who has spoken highly of all hip workers. SE started to feel uncomfortable with driving long distances due to having trouble navigating the highway. She has struggled with a brain aneurysm and pain in her left knee. SE had contacted hip in hopes of acquiring transportation to ease her nerves about her upcoming neuro appointment in Englewood. With the help of Access Link, we have acquired her temporary access to their services. SE is grateful to hip for helping her make her next appointment stress-free.

hip received a referral from Mrs. S, Hudson county resident. Her daughter G is 16 years old and has a rare form of muscular dystrophy plus a cognitive disability. Due to G’s physical disability, her mother and grandfather had to carry her in order to get her in and out of their home. Her grandfather had recently passed away from COVID-19 and her mother was finding it difficult to carry her alone. Financial assistance was needed for a stairlift as G’s grandfather’s death also left G and her mother without his income. The hip Care Manager will help this family complete a COVID-19 Community Response Program Funding Application.

hip has assisted many consumers with arranging grocery deliveries, applying for Meals on Wheels, and obtaining cleaning supplies, paper products, and sanitizing wipes.

How to Get Tested For COVID-19 In New Jersey 

Testing is available to everyone in New Jersey.

Our first responders and health care workers are saving lives every day – and so can you.

Do your part to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community by getting tested for COVID-19.

You could have COVID-19 and not even know it. Find out if you have COVID-19 at any of the 200+ testing sites across New Jersey.

It’s quick and easy. You don’t need insurance and free testing is available. Anyone who wants a test, can now get one.

It’s especially important to get tested if:

  1. You are experiencing symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, sore throat, muscle pain, shivering, headache, or new loss of taste or smell)
  2. You have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19
  3. You are an essential worker (health care worker, first responder, food service worker, or transit worker)
  4. You were recently in a large crowd where social distancing was hard to maintain.


Visit https://covid19.nj.gov/pages/testing to learn more about checking symptoms, finding a testing site, and more.

Pandemics, Visual Impairment and How to Navigate the New Normal

A pandemic in modern times presents unique challenges for people with visual disabilities. Some of the concepts and coping strategies we have learned will require some reworking. On April 4, 2020, I read an article on the BBC website entitled “Coronavirus: Being blind during the pandemic” by the journalist Kate Pounds, who has vision loss (https://www.bbc.com/news/disability-52118942). She spoke to several blind and visually impaired people in the United Kingdom and they shared their experiences and problems they were encountering during the coronavirus pandemic. As a student in the Orientation and Mobility program at Salus University, as well as a man with low vision, I would like to share my thoughts and strategies on how the blind and visually impaired community can navigate this new normal.

Ms. Pounds’ article touched on several different themes; the first of which is how social distancing has impacted the sighted public’s willingness to render assistance to blind and visually impaired people. The interviewees indicated they found it more difficult to obtain assistance with shopping and in finding assistance to cross busy or complex intersections. During this crisis, blind and visually impaired shoppers may have to call ahead and let the retailers know that we are coming and what we’re looking for. Many retailers have also established set traffic patterns within their stores, and as good citizens we should locate an employee and have them identify the traffic pattern. Even if many sighted customers are not following the pattern, we can hold the moral high ground if unpleasant encounters occur. Going forward, an established traffic pattern can be very useful in obtaining orientation information about the store. While these techniques curtail spontaneous shopping, they get the blind and visually impaired shopper in and out of the store as quickly as possible and avoid prolonged exposure.

Independent travel outside of the home can present a significantly more complex dilemma. In many communities the amount of traffic has significantly decreased for both automobiles and foot traffic. Due to the decline in traffic, the sonic environment has also changed. Blind and visually impaired travelers who rely on sighted guides to cross certain intersections may have to wait longer for assistance. You may also consider changing your route to an intersection that is controlled by a traffic signal or you may want to cross intersections at different times to increase or decrease the traffic noise in accordance with your comfort and levels of risk. This is especially true if your sonic landmarks or cues have changed significantly. There is one other factor that should be taken into consideration. According to traffic data, although the number of cars on the road has decreased very significantly, the amount of crashes per mile has remained the same or increased. Drivers are speeding more and paying less attention to motor vehicle rules. As visually impaired travelers, we should go slower, pay greater attention to the environment and make ourselves as visible as possible.

The items we use to protect ourselves also present unique challenges to people who are blind and visually impaired. The facemask can muffle speech on both sides of the conversation. In addition, the fresh elastic on some of the masks can distort the shape of the ear which can present an issue with fully appreciating the sonic environment. The choice of personal protective equipment will require more attention to these details. As members of our community, we should not be afraid to unpack our self-advocacy tool kit. Whenever possible, have your script ready and remember the tripod of self-advocacy: be polite, be firm and be persistent. Just because the world is crumbling around us does not mean we cannot express ourselves as equal citizens and get what we need and want.

One of the more harmful aspects of social distancing that can affect the blind and visually impaired community is social isolation. So many of the places that we used to congregate for our social meetings and networking opportunities have closed or come to a stop. Many of our friends and family are unwilling or unable to come out and visit with us. Caregivers and those who used to provide us with assistance are also unwilling to come into the outside world. I strongly encourage members of our community to reach out using the telephone or text messaging as well as the assorted video messaging services to provide social contact and assistance. There are also some smart phone applications that can also provide assistance and valuable social interaction. Zoom and FaceTime are great ways to have a social gathering. Also, you can join a peer support group or maintain your existing relationship with the ones you already are involved with.

The current crisis could significantly impact blind and visually impaired people’s independence and daily routine. There are workarounds that we can use to reduce the impact that social distancing imposes upon us. Remain steadfast to the values of the independent living movement and do not be afraid to speak up for yourself. Be persistent in expressing what you need and what you want.

Furthermore, this could be an opportunity for our community to set forth guidelines and standards that we would like to see implemented to promote the independence of people who are blind and visually impaired. The strength and tools that we develop during this time can be a great asset in systemic advocacy for the future.

Doug Gilbert

Bored at Home?

Bored at home and looking for a fun, outdoor, socially distanced activity? Check out www.traillink.com and find a nearby trail! Sorted by town, the website shows each trail’s terrain surface, length, whether the trail is wheelchair-accessible, if bikes are allowed, and also includes reviews and ratings for each trail. Enjoy some time outdoors!

Beware of Robocalls, Texts and Emails Promising COVID-19 Cures or Fast Stimulus Payment

Coronavirus scams are spreading nearly as fast as the virus itself. As of June 4, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had logged nearly 36,000 fraud complaints related to the outbreak. Victims have reported losing $46.2 million, with a median loss of $454.

Fraudsters are using the full suite of scam tools – phishing emails and texts, robocallsimpostor schemes and more – and closely following the headlines, adapting their messages and tactics as new medical and economic concerns arise. For example, federal authorities are warning about scams aimed at siphoning Paycheck Protection Program dollars earmarked to help small businesses survive the pandemic.

Here are some other types of coronavirus scams to look out for:

  • In-demand products and bogus cures
  • Financial phonies
  • Phishing scams

For more information on these scams, read the full article at:



The Mask Dilemma

COVID-19 has altered our lives in many ways, one of which is making masks a new fashion statement. If you only have use of one hand because of a disability and there is no one to assist you, it could be a problem. And with problems, you look for solutions.

Governor Murphy issued the order that states if you are going to use public transportation in the State of New Jersey, you MUST wear a mask, except if you have a disability that prevents you from doing so. While I found this a bit contradictory, I asked on my Facebook page if anyone knew where I could get masks, and I had people dropping off and sending me face

masks that I couldn’t put on by myself. I became frustrated because I have cerebral palsy and only have use of one hand. Social distancing means staying away from people, so while staying at home, Trish Carney from hip called to touch base with me and see how I was doing. I happened to mention the difficulty I was having with the masks I was receiving. Trish informed me of a colleague in the Hudson hip office who was sewing masks with rubber adhesive that goes over your head, which makes it a lot easier to put on. Thank you, Maria Smith, for creating this custom mask for me.

Sometimes if you have a problem you just have to keep asking for assistance, and hopefully you can get to the correct person. Thanks to Trish Carney, I did. Let’s all be smart and safe.

Austin Epstein


hip Mourn…

Our hip family lost the following members in recent months:

Bob Ciavaglia (former Board member)

Gail Geresi

Arthur Jusu-Davies

Eileen Martin

Janice Preschel

Judith Rice

Carmen Rosado

Susan Stiles

Christopher Watten

Beatrice Williams

We also mourn all those lost to COVID-19 including relatives of several hip staff members. 

Reminder! Be Counted for CENSUS 

  • The census determines the number of seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives and they are used to draw congressional and state legislative districts.
  • The census provides critical data to lawmakers, business owners, teachers, and many others and that data is used to provide daily services, products and support for your community.


Calendar Raffle Update

The 66 Day$ of $ummer Calendar Raffle has been postponed but we look forward to hosting it later this year when it becomes possible! Stay tuned for updates!

All Things hip

For information on all things hip, please follow us on Facebook and check our website for updates! www.hipcil.org

In our effort to supply critical information to consumers as quickly as possible, hip is developing a database of email addresses. Regular mail is moving more slowly now, so it is important for us to have other means of communicating with you. Please send an email to contactme@hipcil.org with your personal email address or text the word hip to 22828 (message and data rates may apply) and we will add you to the database.


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hipNews Winter 2020

hipNews Winter 2020

hip Newsletter Winter 2020



From the desk of the President

As you read this edition of the newsletter, we will have completed the first month of the new decade and we are excited to begin the 2020 celebrations of hip’s 40th anniversary.

Looking back to 1980 retrofitting buildings to be barrier free was only happening on government properties, post offices, some new construction and corporations with Federal contracts. It would be ten years until the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted into law. So hip was often the lone voice advocating for making places like restaurants, banks and retail establishments accessible. Like David versus Goliath hip singlehandedly challenged several condominium projects for ignoring the new construction codes requiring equal access. hip won a big judgment in a landmark case that made the entire construction industry take notice.

Those of you who have been with us since our humble beginnings at Englewood Community House have seen us expand into two offices in the County seats of Bergen and Hudson Counties. We have grown based on the Independent Living philosophy of “nothing about us without us” and the extraordinary vision of our founder, Eileen Goff.

The world is beginning to embrace the diversity that disability brings to the life experience, but we still have a long way to go to ensure equality and the ability to move freely about the community with the assurance that we will not need special arrangements. We are ready to tackle the new challenges of the 21st Century and correct some of the inequities left over from the past so please join us as we make plans for the next 40 years.

But, 2020 has given us several challenges to start the new decade: the 2020 census and the Presidential and Congressional elections. The census means a great deal to New Jersey when it comes to the funding of essential programs and we will continue to look to Washington to promote inclusive policies for people with disabilities. Let’s all work together to make positive changes happen.


Eric LeGrand at hip’s 40th Anniversary Gala – bELieve! 

All of us at hip are excited about our upcoming gala event to celebrate 40 years of serving the Bergen and Hudson communities. The gala will take place on Friday, May 1 at 6:30 pm at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Fort Lee. Tickets are $100 per person.

A highlight of the night will be the keynote speaker: Eric LeGrand, former Rutgers defensive tackle and advocate for people with disabilities. After an accident on the football field in October 2010 caused a spinal cord injury, Eric has been a positive role model not only in NJ but worldwide, inspiring those living with and impacted by paralysis to bELieve. Team LeGrand, his fundraising arm of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, has raised over 1 million dollars for the foundation to date. From becoming an author, sports analyst for ESPN, Sirius, the Big Ten Network and Rutgers radio, to a much sought after motivational speaker, Eric has given a voice to the paralysis community to mobilize support for critical initiatives, policies and cutting-edge research over the past seven years.

The evening’s events will also include dinner, dancing to the DJ stylings of the always fantastic Gary Morton, and highlights of hip’s 40 years of service.

Call Jayne Jacobs at 201-996-9100 ext. 26 with any questions. All proceeds from the gala go towards hip’s diverse programs. We look forward to seeing everyone there to enjoy the celebration!

Wedding Bells Were Ringing!

By Trisha Ebel, Independent Living Assistant

I would like to congratulate Genevieve Farrell and Robbie Fisk on their wedding, which took place October 5th! Genevieve is the daughter of Barbara Farrell, who is my volunteer with the Adjustment to Vision Loss Project. In lieu of giving out favors to their wedding guests, they made an amazing donation of a day at the Meadowlands Environment Center to AVL instead! I would like to thank them with all my heart and soul for their generosity.

The place card table at the reception provided an overview of hip, the Adjustment to Vision Loss project, and what the donated activity day would include. Then, on the back of every place card, there was a brief summary of hip, as well as hip’s website. Read further to find out all about our wonderful day!

Fun at the Meadowlands with the Bride

By Trisha Ebel, Independent Living Assistant

On October 21, 2019, 42 of hip’s Adjustment to Vision Loss consumers gathered at the Meadowlands Environment Center located in Lyndhurst for an entire day of educational and recreational fun! The day began at 8 am with coffee, donuts and croissants from Dunkin Donuts. Once all arrived, everyone was divided into 3 groups, each group rotated through 3 different experiences which included exploring all different herbs and spices as all created their own tea bags to take home. Another experience was horticulture: our hip consumers put together a plant in a bottle which all took home to continue to take care of it and watch it grow. Each person was able to pick whatever type of seed they wanted, some of the choices included thyme, sage, basil, parsley or cilantro. The third experience was getting into the FoodMobile, which was a big old school bus that was reconstructed with benches along each side, a counter and a table. Everyone took turns chopping, cutting and tasting fruits and vegetables for a beautiful and delicious birds nest salad.

Around noon we all gathered back in the classroom and had a wonderful lunch that was donated by the bride’s uncle Paul and Natoli’s Deli in Secaucus.

After all activities were finished, all then gathered to take a hike along one of the MEC’s paved trails. There we all learned about the nature around us as well as the different species that were in the Hackensack River. We walked on a boardwalk that stretched out over the river as we listened to the information.

In my opinion it was fascinating to see just how many of our consumers joined in and enjoyed the entire day.  Our hip AVL consumers are so happy, dedicated and thankful! Just to see how our AVL program has helped our consumers gain independence, feel comfortable to get out of their comfort zones and live a full life again – this fills my heart with so much joy!

hip Mourns… 

Our hip Family lost the following members in recent months: Reva Prosnitz, Lisa Tester, Ethel Ball, Al Carney (father of Trish Carney), Frances Sbrocco and Rigoberto Za

Welcome to hip, Jennifer!

Jennifer Preciado joined the Hudson hip staff in November as the Comprehensive Independent Living Support (CILS) Case Manager. Jennifer earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from New Jersey City University and is currently pursuing her MBA in Marketing. Jennifer volunteers with developmentally delayed adults for Camp New Day, which provides a positive and supportive environment for individuals with developmental disabilities. This is where she began her understanding of disabilities and the need for services in our community. Jennifer will be marking her tenth year at New Day in the summer of 2020 and has developed great skills which she now brings to hip.

In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys quality time with her family, traveling, and making new memories.

hip Thanks…

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

Heather Broad

Michael and Marie Cook

Lottie Esteban and Family

First Presbyterian Church of Hackensack

River Edge Lions Club

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 who provided an assortment of gifts including warm clothes, household items, toys, and gift cards which brightened the holiday season for a number of individuals and families associated with hip.

Special Quote

“The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined efforts of every individual.” – Vince Lombardi

Why the Census Bureau Asks Questions About Disability*

The Census Bureau asks questions about a person’s difficulty with specific daily tasks to create statistics about disability. Local, state, tribal, and federal agencies use disability data to plan and fund programs for people with disabilities. Disability data are also used to evaluate other government programs and policies to ensure that they fairly and equitably serve the needs of all groups, as well as enforce laws, regulations, and policies against discrimination. Disability questions originated with the 1830 Census. The current questions were added in 2008.

The Census Bureau uses your confidential survey answers to create statistics like those below. The Census Bureau is legally bound to strict confidentiality requirements. Individual records are not shared with anyone, including federal agencies and law enforcement entities. By law, the Census Bureau cannot share respondents’ answers with anyone—not the IRS, not the FBI, not the CIA, and not with any other government agency.

There are three Yes/No questions about disability in order to identify limitations in basic areas of functioning and independent living.

  • #18. a. Is this person deaf or does he/she have serious difficulty hearing?

b. Is this person blind or does he/she have serious difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses?

  • #19. a. Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition, does this person have serious difficulty
    concentrating, remembering, or making decisions?

b. Does this person have serious difficulty walking or climbing stairs?

c. Does this person have difficulty dressing or bathing?

  • #20. Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition, does this person have difficulty doing
    errands alone such as visiting a doctor’s office or shopping?

The Census Bureau compiles the results from these questions to provide communities with important statistics to help in their disability services planning. For example:

United States Percent with a Disability: 12.6%
Median Earnings of Persons with a Disability: $23,090

New Jersey Percent with a Disability: 10.4%
Median Earning of Persons with a Disability: $27,805

The Census Bureau has identified people with disabilities as a hard-to-count population, which means they are at a greater risk of being undercounted. The 2020 Census will begin in March 2020. Most households will receive a letter explaining how to respond online. There is also an option for responding by phone or by mail. Braille and large print guides will be available to respondents to assist with self-response. Census data help direct more than $800 billion a year in federal funding, including programs that support people with disabilities. So it is extremely important to be counted!

*Information from https://www.census.gov/acs/www/about/why-we-ask-each-question/disability/

It’s Official…

On Tuesday, January 21st, Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation that officially designates the Seeing Eye® dog as the state dog of New Jersey.

All Seeing Eye dogs are born and trained in New Jersey before they are placed with people who are blind across the United States and Canada. The Seeing Eye is a pioneer of the guide dog industry, paving the way for acceptance of assistance animals in society and around the globe.

“As The Seeing Eye wraps up its 90th anniversary year, we are so honored that the great state of New Jersey has recognized the important role that Seeing Eye® dogs have in the lives of the people who raise, train and own them,” said Seeing Eye President & CEO Glenn Hoagland. “When our non-profit was founded, few people believed dogs could contribute to the health and wellness of humankind in the myriad of ways they do today. The work of our founders paved the way for acceptance of assistance animals in society, eventually leading to their incorporation into the Americans with Disabilities Act.”

The bill was introduced by Senator Anthony R. Bucco; after his death, it was shepherded by his son, Senator Anthony M. Bucco, and passed the New Jersey Senate and Assembly with unanimous bipartisan support.

“My father and I shared a passion for the work of The Seeing Eye organization and its mission to increase the independence of those who are blind and visually impaired,” said Senator Anthony M. Bucco. “This was one of the last bills that we worked on together prior to his passing. I couldn’t think of a more fitting tribute to my father than the signing of this legislation which encapsulates his deeply held belief that everyone deserves the opportunity to live with dignity and respect.”

Established in 1929, The Seeing Eye provides specially bred and trained dogs to guide people who are blind. Seeing Eye dog users experience greatly enhanced mobility and independence, allowing them to retain their active lifestyles despite blindness. The Seeing Eye is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit supported by contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, bequests, and other planned gifts.

The Seeing Eye name is only used to describe dogs trained at the school’s facilities in Morristown, N.J. For more information: www.SeeingEye.org, (973) 539-4425, info@seeingeye.org. 

Annual Meeting at a New Location!

hip’s annual meeting was held the evening of November 14th at a new location, the Westy Storage Center at 65 Commerce Way in Hackensack. A group of almost 100 hip consumers, members, staff and board members convened to discuss the highlights and accomplishments of hip over the past fiscal year.

To start, the finance report was presented by Treasurer Rick Hodgman, who explained that hip is in good financial order. This was followed by board member elections. The keynote speaker was Michael Fondacaro, a wheelchair user who has featured his travels throughout the country and his participation in many sports in an entertaining video titled, “Beyond the Chair.” Michael responded to questions using a communications board. He was a fantastic addition to our meeting this year.

President and CEO Brian Fitzgibbons reviewed hip’s accolades of the year and introduced the staff members of both the Bergen and Hudson offices. Betty Fetzer, Board Vice-Chair, then introduced the members of the Board of Trustees. The meeting ended by inviting the guests to offer their advice for future programs.

Westy contributed to half of the cost of food from Firehouse Subs and the entire rental of the space, tables and chairs – even the tablecloths, plates and napkins with all the utensils were included. Westy also distributed complimentary bags with various favors for our guests. They went out of their way to make sure all accommodations were made and in a timely manner. Thank you to everyone at Westy for providing such a wonderful environment for our meeting.

hip’s Annual Holiday Party

This year’s Holiday Season got off to a great start with our Annual Holiday Party. The partygoers arrived and quickly began to renew old acquaintances and were escorted to their seats by the attentive hip staff to sit down to a four-course dinner skillfully prepared by the chefs of the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Fort Lee. The festive decorations were enhanced by displays of door prizes and colorful cookie tins while each table was set with beautiful poinsettias donated by Herman Hofman. As the first course was being served, DJ Greig Atkinson started the music and the group almost never stopped dancing. If they did take a break from the dance floor many of them dressed up for their close-up at the photo booth run by Irina from Back to Back Music (see the gallery page at www.hipcil.org).

The party was in full swing when hip volunteers started to circulate selling 50-50 tickets and we took a break for cake and calling out the door prizes. Anthony Yorio did a great job calling out the numbers. As an extra added bonus, we distributed over 125 beautiful calendars from a variety of charities. Finally, after all the numbers had been picked, in what has become a hip tradition, Chris Gagliardi offered up a very special rendition of “White Christmas”.

As the crowd dispersed many people were heard to say that this was a great party with good food, treasured friends and lots of fun.

We’ll Miss You, Mary!

Mary Mulvaney, Care Management Supervisor, retired in November after 5 years with hip. She was a social worker who helped so many people over her extensive career, which included positions at the OneStop and Bergen County CAP. Mary was always singing, making everyone laugh and bringing joy to both her coworkers and her consumers. We’ll miss you so much around the office and hope you enjoy your retirement, Mary!

African Drumming Circle

By Trisha Ebel, Independent Living Assistant

On November 12, 2019, hip’s Adjustment to Vision Loss consumers met at the North Arlington Senior Center and explored a new and exciting experience – an African Drumming Circle!

Alfred Fredel is a Health and Wellness coach as well as a Trained Health Rhythm Facilitator. Alfred instructed a 2-hour session to 12 of our hip consumers. The goal of the session was to bring unity and community through drumming and song!

This session was an introduction to group drumming. Everyone learns basic techniques on different percussion instruments normally found in a drumming circle. This was a great way to try something new.

Alfred made sure that he included each person in the activity. He kept going around the circle letting all of us demonstrate our new skills as he instructed. I also must mention that Alfred has a powerful and beautiful voice, so he also had all of us singing, too! A great time was had by all and we are so thankful to Alfred for taking the time to facilitate a new experience for our support group meeting.

Empowering Women

The Empowering Women group had their January monthly meeting at Matisse Chocolatier at 260 Grand Avenue in Englewood, NJ. The ladies had a wonderful time making chocolate pizzas and bowls and dipping pretzels, cashews, chips, raisins, and marshmallows. We would like to thank Lucille for providing the ladies with a fantastic experience at Matisse.

Transition Conference & Resource Fair

hip collaborated with the Hudson County Office of Disability Services and Jersey City Public Schools to facilitate the 2019 Transition Conference & Resource Fair. The conference was held on November 2nd at County Prep High School in Jersey City. Addressed were several disability topics, including post-secondary education, financial entitlement programs, legal guardianship, community resources and adult services. The conference was a great success with over 100 participants.

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hipNews Fall 2019

hipNews Fall 2019

hip Newsletter 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)

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hipNews Winter 2019

hipNews Winter 2019

hip Newsletter Winter 2019


hip’s Newest Initiative:  SAFE AND SECURE SOLUTIONS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

hip’s Annual Dinner Dance

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

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

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

Stepping Out With hip!!!

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

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

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

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

hip’s Annual Meeting

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

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

The Calendar Raffle is Coming Back!

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

Braille by MTS

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

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

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

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

We Mourn…

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

Jim Corbett, long-time member and advocate

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

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

Meet hip’s All Star Team!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank You and Congratulations to Our All-Star Team!

Why Do You Need A Will?

A will ensures that you are able to:

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

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

NFB’s NEWSLINE Now Available on Amazon Alexa

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

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

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

The Bergen County Transit Connector

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

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

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

Have You Renewed Your Membership for 2019?

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


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