(201) 996-9100 Bergen / (201) 533-4407 Hudson

hipcil Newsletter Winter Spring 2023


From the Desk of the President

Welcome to the first hip newsletter of 2023.

Time has been going very fast since we finally had the opportunity to meet in person for our Annual Meeting. We progressed to our very successful and enjoyable Holiday Party where we got the chance to celebrate the holidays while getting together with old friends. Our partnerships with Bergen Volunteers and St. Peter the Apostle Church brought holiday cheer to many and we greeted the New Year with plans for the Bergen and Hudson office staffs to work together to provide a more comprehensive service delivery to all of the people that we serve.

In 2023 we will expand our DDD Support Coordinator program, we’ll continue to meet with our local college programs and work closely with our Age Friendly partners. I’m excited to report that we have welcomed four new members to the Board and we are exploring new ways to serve people with disabilities in our community.

Please reach out to us to share your ideas on www.hipcil.org , follow us on Facebook or just give us a call.



2022 Annual Meeting

hip’s Annual Meeting was held the evening of Wednesday, November 16th at a new location, the Hackensack Recreation Center. It was the first in-person Annual Meeting since 2019 and it was wonderful to see everyone again.

Larry Barr of Barr Karate was the keynote speaker and spoke about his experiences teaching karate to people with disabilities. “Possibilities not disabilities” was the theme of his presentation, which was quite inspiring. After he spoke, several of his students showed off some of the skills they had learned through his teachings.

Brian Fitzgibbons and Marily Gonzalez introduced the staff of both hip offices and reviewed hip’s many accomplishments for 2022.

Some highlights this past year included:

    • Continuing to make sure consumers know their rights regarding COVID vaccines and boosters

    • Support coordination has expanded in both offices

    • Several home modifications and many assistive technology purchases occurred

    • MTS had new projects with Lincoln Center, including programs for Juilliard and the opera

    • The Calendar Raffle that took place over the summer was the most successful ever

Thank you to everyone who attended the Annual Meeting! All of us at hip are looking forward to a fantastic year.

AVL Update

The Adjustment to Vision Loss program really took off strong by August. Consumers from Bergen and Hudson Counties enjoyed many in-person activities and peer meetings. 

The end of year celebration took place on December 16th at the Secaucus Public Library. The Mayor of Secaucus had previously invited Trisha and Barbara to go to a warehouse where they were able to pick up brand-new items from different stores. These items were put into gift bags for all participants and given out at the party. There was even a special visit from Santa Claus and a fantastic time was had by all.

Looking forward to a fun and information-filled 2023!

Welcome to hip!

Roseli Souza joined hip in August 2022 and is excited to assist in enhancing the lives of our consumers. Roseli is a case manager in the Bergen office and has a background in human services. She has always had a desire to help people and contribute to the positive progress of the community. Roseli graduated from William Paterson University with a degree in Psychology and a minor in public health and is currently in graduate school. She has worked with her Ramapo College colleagues to provide information to students about self-advocacy, in addition, she has co-hosted community group discussions on COVID-19’s physical and mental effects. In her free time, she enjoys exercising, arts and crafts, and baking.

Crystal Canas joined hip in November 2022 as the front desk receptionist in the Hudson office. She is a Hudson County resident, born and raised in Jersey City. Crystal is a full-time mom to her 1-year son. Since she was a teenager, she has been helping her family members who have been diagnosed with autism and mental illnesses, which has given her a passion to help others in need. Through her own experiences with her family, it has opened her heart to help as many individuals as she can who are dealing with the same illnesses.

Hiroshi Fuentes joined hip in August of 2022 as a Support Coordinator in the Hudson office. She is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Hudson County Community College and Rutgers University of Newark, New Jersey. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts in English literature with a minor in Urban Education. Hiroshi is originally from Guatemala and she considers herself a joyful and caring person. Back in Guatemala, Hiroshi volunteered with a program for people with disabilities. Hiroshi also worked as a teacher assistant in Jersey City with students with disabilities. Since then, she has always wanted to continue working in that field. When she heard about hip and their services, she was interested and delighted to join hip. Hiroshi is excited to learn many skills to help and serve the disability community. In the future, she would like to study speech pathology and help her community with her skills. She loves to travel, learn about other cultures, and live life to the fullest. Hiroshi also enjoys fashion, writing, reading, and painting.

Tennel Watson joined hip in August of 2022 as a Support Coordinator in both the Bergen and Hudson offices. He earned a degree in Accounting from Benedict College Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in Columbia, South Carolina. Tennel has long been interested in helping people and has over 10 years of social work experience. While in college, he helped to rebuild homes when Hurricane Ida affected the area. Tennel is originally from Harlem, New York, and while he’s now a resident of New Jersey, he remains passionate about his community in New York. In the summer, he helps coach youth basketball there.

The Friendship House

The Friendship House is introducing a no-cost Dimensions of Wellness Program aimed to help individuals with disabilities to be active in their community post COVID-19. The program will focus on wellness as a whole, including meal planning, group therapy, community outings and more. It will be held Monday-Thursday from 4-7PM starting February 21st. Call Karen Reyes, Program Coordinator at 201-488-2121 ext. 328 or visit https://njfriendshiphouse.org/programs-services/dimensions-of-wellness/

Check out the updated hip website!

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!

Heightened Independence and Progress

hip is partially funded through grants from foundations, as well as the Bergen County Department of Human Services, Division of Senior Services, Hudson County Department of Health & Human Services, NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities, NJ Dept of Human Services Division of Disability Services and the US Dept of Health and Human Services – Administration for Community Living.

hipNews is available as a digital audio file.

The hip Holiday Party Returns!

The afternoon of Sunday, December 11th was alive with holiday cheer at the first in-person hip Holiday Party in 3 years! Everyone was excited to be back in the ballroom at the DoubleTree Hilton in Fort Lee and celebrate the holidays together.

With snowy weather happening outside, this year’s party began in the festive ballroom with delicious food and even better company. DJ Silvie kept everyone on the dance floor with a mix of Christmas favorites and current dance music. The many gifts donated by multiple area organizations were happily taken home by the winners. Thank you to hip staff member Blajica for spending months collecting these fantastic gifts for our consumers to enjoy.

Lottie Esteban recently retired from the Board of Trustees at hip and was given a bouquet of flowers and a gift for all her hard work over many years of service. Thank you, Lottie!

The 50/50 raffle was one of hip’s biggest ever with 2 winners going home with a 1st prize of $150 and a 2nd prize of $100. Thank you to everyone who purchased a ticket in support of hip!

In a favorite hip tradition, the party concluded with Christopher Gagliardi singing “White Christmas” and all left the party full of holiday joy.

Ride Connect Program

The “Ride Connect” program is designed to simplify the process by which seniors request transportation when calling Bergen County Community Transportation.


Ride Connect provides Bergen County residents, aged 60 and over, a one-stop travel information and trip planning service, provided by a Mobility Manager, to help seniors find information on available transportation options to senior centers, medical appointments, shopping, etc.


The process is simple. The Community Transportation operator works with the Mobility Manager to help seniors connect with the most accessible, reliable, and affordable option for their transportation needs. Options include County shuttles, EZ Ride, NJ Transit, Access Link (if eligible) and more.


To request this service, call Bergen County Division of Community Transportation, Monday-Friday from 10:30am to 2:00pm at 201-368-5955.

HumpDay Happenings!

Join us for Bingo, Trivia, Crafts and more!

Hosted by hip via Zoom

Contact Meaghan via phone @ Ext 26 Bergen Office to sign up by 4/1/23


hip’s Financial Director, Natalie Alave, married Domingo Larino on January 13th. Congratulations and lots of love and happiness to the newlyweds!

hip Thanks…

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

Bergenfield Lions Club

Caldwell Floral Elegance

Kaplan Foundation

Lottie Esteban and family


Rick Hodgman

River Edge Lions Club

Shapiro Family Foundation


Special Thanks to the parishioners of St. Peter the Apostle Church in River Edge and participants of the Bergen Volunteers All Wrapped Up program for their amazing gift-giving generosity to many of our consumers this past holiday season.

Thank you to all who donated…

Thank you to all who donated door prize gifts for the Holiday Party! Your donations were the highlight of the evening and brought joy to so many.

Acme, Saddle Brook

Al Richard’s Chocolates, Bayonne

Applebee’s Grill & Bar, Hackensack

Art Nails, Saddle Brook

BJ’s Wholesale Club, North Bergen

Bonefish Grill, Paramus

Cornerstone Montclair, Montclair

CVS, Hackensack

Dairy Queen, Saddle Brook

Double Batch Bakery, Bayonne

Eileen Fisher, Secaucus

Genevieve’s Home Made Chocolates, Garfield

Giovanni’s, Bayonne

Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa, Hackensack

J. Crew, Hackensack

Kendra Scott, Short Hills

McCrum’s Bakery, Elmwood Park

Michael Kors, Paramus

Monica’s Restaurant, Pompton Lakes

Pinot’s Palette, Ridgewood

Robert’s Roastery, Bayonne

Simon Styles, Pompton Lakes

Starbucks, Hackensack

Stop & Shop, Hackensack

Trader Joe’s, Paramus

Wawa, Hackensack

Wyckoff Family YMCA, Wyckoff


Heightened Independence & Progress COVID-19 Response Team

Need help applying for services related to COVID-19? We are here to help!

Our Core Services

Information and Referral


Peer Support


Technology Training


Roseli Souza at our Bergen County Branch 201-996-9100 ext. 23 rsouza@hipcil.org

Alex Paredes at our Hudson County Branch 201-533-4407 aparedes@hipcil.org

Workshops at hip

Coming in March

Uber Lessons, Getting Rides, UberEats, Lyft

Creating Emails, Learn BillPay, Social Accounts, FaceTime

Online Shopping, Navigating Websites, Amazon

Caregivers Support Group

Caregivers Need Care Too!

Starting in March, Jesse Schwartzman and Tom Browne will be leading a group to support You!

Call the Bergen Office at 201-996-9100 to learn more!

Check Out Our Facebook Page!

hip’s Facebook page has been very active lately with all kinds of posts including news from the disability community, hip staff and area events! Follow us to stay in the loop!

Credit Freeze

Placing a credit freeze allows you to restrict access to your credit report. This is important after a data breach or identity theft when someone could use your personal information to apply for new credit accounts. Most creditors look at your credit report before opening a new account. But if you’ve frozen your credit report, creditors can’t access it, and probably won’t approve fraudulent applications.

You have the right to place or lift a credit freeze for free. You can place a freeze on your own credit files and on those of your children aged 16 or younger.

Place a Credit Freeze

Contact each credit reporting agency to place a freeze on your credit report. Each agency accepts freeze requests online, by phone, or by postal mail. 

Online: Experian Freeze Center
Phone: 1-888-397-3742
By mail, write to:
Experian Security Freeze
PO Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013

Online: Equifax Credit Report Services
Phone: 1-800-685-1111
By mail, write to:
Equifax Information Services LLC
PO Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348-5788

TransUnion Credit Freezes
Phone: 1-888-909-8872
By mail, write to:
TransUnion LLC
PO Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016

: Innovis Freeze Options
Phone: 1-866-712-4546
By mail, write to:
Innovis Consumer Assistance
PO Box 530086
Atlanta, GA 30353-0086

Your credit freeze will go into effect the next business day if you place it online or by phone. If you place the freeze by postal mail, it will be in effect three business days after the credit agency receives your request. A credit freeze does not expire. Unless you lift the credit freeze, it stays in effect.

Lift a Credit Freeze

If you want lenders and other companies to be able to access your credit files again, you will need to lift your credit freeze permanently or temporarily. Contact each credit reporting agency. You’ll use a PIN or password to lift your credit freeze. You can lift your credit freeze as often as you need to, without penalties.

It takes one hour for a lift request to take effect if you place it online or by phone. It can take three business days if you request the lift by mail.

Upcoming Gala!

hip is in the process of planning the Anniversary Gala that was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay tuned for more information soon and looking forward to seeing everyone there to celebrate over 40 years of hip!

Housing Authority of Bergen County Tenant/Participant “Coffee Breaks”

The Housing Authority of Bergen County will be hosting Coffee Breaks throughout 2023 for Program Tenants/Participants who would like to stop in with questions regarding the Housing Choice Voucher Program process.

Feel free to stop in on any of the dates below with questions you’ve been wanting to ask and haven’t had the opportunity to.

May 22

August 28

November 20

The purpose of these sessions is so that HCV Section 8, current and future, participants can ask questions and gain a better understanding of how their voucher and the HCV Section 8 program works.

Join us on any of these dates at 12:30pm-1:30pm. All sessions will be via Zoom.

Meeting ID: 879 4036 5840

Passcode: 820908

Dial In: 929-436-2866 (New York)


Questions? Comments? Contact: info@hacbcnj.org

Writeable Membership Form

Membership Form here

We Welcome the Following New and Renewing Members of hip for 2023!

Karen Acker

Jeanne Aimone

Carol Akridge

Natalie Alave

Roselyn Altman*

Cecelia Aluotto

Ivis Alvarez

Peter Ambrose

Kevin Angelini

Elaine Appellof*

James Arkills

Paul Aronsohn*

Barbara Banta

Deborah Baumann-Dasilva

Annie G. Been*

Gilbert Benson*

Joanna Benthall

Darrell & Tamiko Bethea*

Christine Black

Paula Bloom

Jerry Bojko

Grace Braeske

Gail Braun

Joan & Mike Braun

Kerry Brennan

Mario Brusco

Anna Bures

George & Mildred Bullerdick

Jonathan Burack

Peter Cafone

Daniel Calabrese

Jerry & Brenda Calabrese

Regina Calamanco

Marcelo Carat

Tonielle Cardinalle

Mary Carney

Tom & Susan Carney

Trish Carney*

Peter Cavaliere

Kay Chase*

Celia Chave

Maureen Chatterton

Sonia Cordova-Chumpitaz

Ciccone Family

Lillian Ciufo*

Barbara B. Comerford, Esq.*

Elizabeth Cohen-Hittner

Michael & Marie Cook*

Jim & Jean Csaposs*

Mary Culver

Howard Craig Cutler

Carol Dass*

Joan D’Angelo

Jarrett Dean

Philip Delaney

Michael Delgado

Margaret DeYoung

Anthony Dinaro

James F. Dougherty

Dennis Dusevic

Barbara Dublin*

J. Robert Duffy*

Patricia & Dave Ebel*

Austin Epstein

Lottie Esteban*

Oria Estrada

Barbara Farrell

Francesca Farrell

Genevieve Farrell

William Fellinger and Stella Fellinger*

Reina Fernandez

Karen-Mae Ferolino

Betty Fetzer*

Brian Fitzgibbons*

Virgina Flynn & Warren Williams

Michael Fondacaro

Francine Ford-Smith

Valerie Frink

Katherine Gabry & Family

Geri Galvin

Laurie Galvin

Dorothy Genoni

Eilleen Goff*

Alan Gold

Marily Gonzalez*

Patricia Guy

Mary Jo Hackett

Jeffrey Hamalian

Alice Hamburg

Harries Family

Alfred Harvey

Elizabeth (Bojane) Heap

Eusebia E. Heckel

Susan Hepner

Rhea Hess

Susan Hepner

Richard Hodgman*

Henry Hoff, III

Linda Horvath

Kenel Hyppolite**

Janet Jones

Michelle Jones

Timothy Kerr

Naqui Khouzam

Edwin Kindermann

Clark King

Joan F. Klug*

John Koch*

Lorena & Ana Kos

Adam Krass+

Zoraida Krell

Diana LaForge*

Tammy Lane

Jeanne Laraia

Virginia L. Laughlin

Louise Lee

Sussan Lee

Diane Lennon

Marion Levine

Chili Li*

Gloria Lieberstein*

Judith Liebman

Roy Lippin*

Anita Lisica

Diane Love

Lisa & Jorge Loza

Margaret Lusch

Joyce & Leonard Malech*

Mariana Martinez

Joan Martorella

Gracie & Sophie McCain

Gary McConnell

Gail Frazier McFadden

Joseph D. McGovern

Brian McGrath

McMahon Family

Dora Meler

Ann Melone*

Abby G. Mesce

Dr. Frances Meyer*

Joseph Molee

John J. Mulholland

John Mulholland

Bob & Martha Mulligan

Madeline Murray

Anna P. Navatta+

Morgan Neumann

Yin Ni

Leonard J. Nicolosi, CEO,+

No. Jersey Friendship House, Inc.

Hyacinthe Nkuunziza

Mario & Jorge Olivares

Beatrice Olivetti

Gloria Ortiz

Sonja Noel

Jennyfer Paniagua

Margaret Papageorgioiu

Chris Paraskevacos

Alejandro Paredes

Richard Pietrzak

Marianne Pigoncelli*

Dr. Sandra Pinkerton

Nhevys Pinto

David Popiel

Jennifer Preciado

Mayra Preciado

Anne Marie Predergast

Noel Prussack

Cecelia Ragland

Joseph Revello

Carmen Reyes

Cruz Rodriguez

Richard Rosencrans

Ryan Roy

Beverly & Richard Ryan*

Lucio Sanchez

Mary Sanfilippo

Marie Sawyer

Jesse Schwartzman

Stephanie Seid

Doug Simon

Chandravati Singh

Donn Slonim*

Lynn Smith

Maria Smith

Michael Smith*

Dana Solomon

Jeffrey St. Germain & Family*

John Stanik*

Debra Tester

Mary Thornton

Janet Tolliver

Amanda Trott

Thomas Tuzzio

Angela Tzakis

Danny Vaca

Jane & Joseph Valenti

Marianne Valls

Angelissa Vazquez

Carol Viceconte*

Ron Vida

Anne Burton Walsh*

Paula Webber

Philip & Linda Webster-Cennerazzo*

Jean & Richard Wechsler

Janice Willett*

Sharon Womack

Carolyn Woodward*

Anthony Yorio*

Anthony & Mary Yorio*

Allen & Barbara Young

Alan Zimmerman

Cindy Zirkin

Maureen Zurlo


Corporate +

Life Member *

Deceased **



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


We Mourn…

Our hip family lost the following people in recent months:

Kennel Hyppolite

Anne Ciavaglia McMahon

The hip family and the community of people with disabilities lost a true champion of the Independent Living movement with the passing of Anne. She built a phenomenal career in public service with the State and Bergen County as well as working in the private non-profit sector.

When she retired, she founded Our New Journey, which established a foundation within hip to offer support for people with disabilities and their families Anne will be remembered as an activist, innovative administrator and mentor to many people throughout New Jersey.

For Anne’s full obituary, visit www.northjersey.com/obituaries/ber113514

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