Our Organization

Dr. Costello administers David's ear exam with nurses Erica and Rhonda

About Hope Christian Services

Hope Christian Services provides care, programs, and resources for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, ensuring that each resident reaches their full potential. Our organization addresses every aspect of life—medical, residential, social, educational, vocational, recreational, and spiritual.  

Hope Christian Services opened as Eastern Christian Children’s Retreat on December 4, 1972 as the only facility of its kind in the state of New Jersey. ECCR expanded into the community in 1986 with the development of community-based group homes, where residents enjoy supervised,  supported living. In 1992 ECCR advanced its philosophy of providing a home-like setting for residents with the construction of on-site lodges.


Today, we operate 15 group homes in Bergen and Passaic Counties in New Jersey, where residents enjoy supervised, supported living.

We currently have three more group homes under construction which will enable us to serve more people as we strive to recognize and address the needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Hope Christian Services addresses the need for vocational training and life skills through our day program, RAVE, which was established in 1986. The program is open to residents of Hope Christian Services and people in our surrounding community ages 21 and up.  

Our respite care services provide a home away from home for people with disabilities while their family is taking a well-needed vacation or cannot care for them due to temporary, extenuating circumstances. 

The organization retains a professional staff of over 300 dedicated people providing 24/7 care for residents. A volunteer Board of Directors, elected from the community, governs Hope Christian Services.

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Guided by our Christian calling, we serve individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities by providing a life filled with hope and love.


A world of inclusion for all people by showing the hope and love of Jesus.


Hope Christian Services continues to carry on its tradition of trusting in God and honoring the Christian commitment of its founders. The organization will continue to support persons with developmental disabilities throughout all stages of life, assuring that each person shall realize his/her full potential as a child of God.

From its origin in 1965, one simple principle has guided Hope Christian Services (Formerly known as Eastern Christian Children’s Retreat): to serve individuals with disabilities so that they can reach their greatest potential. Our rich history in the community is a cherished story of how we began. It’s an essential part of who we are as an organization.

Founder Theresa "Tret" Bushman and her nephew,Board member, Bill Bushman

Miss Theresa Bushman

Miss Theresa Bushman of Wyckoff was the driving force behind the founding of the Eastern Christian Children’s Retreat, the first private residential facility for people with developmental disabilities in the state of New Jersey. She and a fellow nurse, Ann (Minnema) Morgan, founded the Retreat in the early 1960s. 

Realizing the Need for a Residential Facility

As a maternity nurse at Paterson General Hospital in the 1950s, Miss Bushman saw firsthand the need for a residential facility for disabled children. At the time, there were no local facilities that provided a home-like setting for the care and treatment of children with mental and physical disabilities. Compelled by their Christian belief of caring for those less fortunate, they organized hundreds of volunteers from the community to finance and construct a residential facility–an idea that seemed formidable at the time. Ultimately, they approached the Christian Sanatorium in Wyckoff. The Sanatorium, now known as Christian Health, agreed to sell ECCR 10 acres of land on which to construct the facility for $1.

With support from the community, the appeal began in 1962 with $40 in the bank, Vigorous fundraising activities slowly propelled the project along. In 1971 ground was broken, and in 1972 the Eastern Christian Children’s Retreat became a reality. The residential facility welcomed its first residents on December 4, 1972.

Christopher is getting a physical therapy treatment from Andy and Marcia

When we built the Retreat building, I pinched myself–and I still do each time I come up the road.

The Retreat currently serves over 120 people with a broad range of disabilities in homes on our Wyckoff campus and in community-based homes. Miss Bushman served as president of the Retreat’s Ladies Auxiliary for many years.

Miss Bushman passed away on November 16, 2016.  She was a woman who gave so much of herself to help others. She is an example of compassion and an inspiration to many. She will be missed but her legacy will live on.


The Eastern Christian Children’s Retreat was incorporated as a non-profit organization under the laws of the state of New Jersey. Fundraising began with a $40 bank deposit.
December 4, 1972
The Retreat officially opened its residence to serve 85 children and young adults with developmental disabilities.
June 1984
Major renovations to main residence with an addition of East dormitory, which included classrooms and living areas to accommodate growing needs.
August 1985
ECCR Special Needs Adult Day program started.
September 1987
The first community based group home is opened in Midland Park to accommodate 5 men.
May 1990
A second community group home in North Haledon is opened to accommodate 5 adolescents.
January 1992
A third community based group home is opened in North Haledon to 5 women.
January 1993
Two new on-site group homes adjacent to the main building are opened.
March 1994
The Retreat receives state approval to provide respite (short-term) care to families of individuals with disabilities.
January 1998
A third on-site group home is opened.
June 1999
A fourth group home is opened in Hawthorne in partnership with the Christian Health Care Center.
May 2000
A fifth community-based residence is opened in Midland Park for two women.
June 2001
The Retreat names the main residence in Wyckoff, The Bushman Building, in honor of co-founder and long-term supporter, Theresa Bushman.
January 2002
ECCR opened its first community-based adult day program in Prospect Park.
August 2009
A community-based group home opened in Midland Park for four women.
October 2012
Grand Re-Opening of Hilltop Group Home in North Haledon.
May 2014
Groundbreaking for the ECCR Mountain Ave Group Home in Wyckoff.
September 2014
Groundbreaking for the ECCR Waldwick Group Home.
December 2014
Groundbreaking for the ECCR Crescent Ave Group Home in Allendale.
April 2015
Ribbon Cutting for new Mountain Ave Group Home in Wyckoff.
May 2015
5 residents moved into newly constructed Mountain Ave Group Home in Wyckoff.
September 2015
Ribbon Cutting for the new Waldwick Group Home, home for 6 women.
November 2015
Renovations to Willow Lodge complete.
May 2016
Ribbon cutting for new Crescent Ave Group Home, home for 5 women.
September 2016
Groundbreaking for new Rockledge Group Home in Hawthorne, NJ.
November 2017
Ribbon Cutting for new Rockledge Group Home, home for 5 men.
September 2018
Groundbreaking for new Hamilton House Group Home in Allendale, NJ.
December 2018
Renovations to Oak Lodge complete.
October 2019
Ribbon Cutting for the new Hamilton Group Home, home to 5 men.
October 2020
Reopening of Oak Lodge.
January 2021
Groundbreaking for the Sweetman Group Home in Wyckoff, NJ.

Verse of the Day

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Felipe Val’le Ly

Chief Human Resources Officer

Felipe Val’le Ly currently serves Hope Christian Services as the Chief Human Resources Officer. In this role, Felipe advances the development and execution of human resource strategy in support of the overall business plan and strategic direction of the organization, specifically in the areas of succession planning, talent management, change management, organizational and performance management, training and development, and compensation. 

Felipe has a mission to ensure that our workforce across Northern New Jersey has access to professional development opportunities, staff wellness and support services, premium employee benefits and equitable compensation. He is also committed to cultivate employee relations and continues to help strengthen our culture of care and recognition to enrich each person’s work experience and increase the organization’s capacity to attract and retain people who have a desire and passion to serve others. 

Felipe holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Leadership from Arizona State University; is a member of the Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society and continues to seek academic advancements. Earlier in his career, Felipe worked at Zufall Health Centers and Emergency Response and Community Development. 

In addition to his work at Hope Christian Services, Felipe has served on the board of directors of Dover Seventh Day Adventist and is a current member of the HR Advisory, Powered by Bennie Health, Inc.

Tribute Gift

A wonderful way to acknowledge a loved one or a milestone moment while support the programs and services at HCS. 

Memorials—A gift made in memory of someone.

Honorariums—A gift made in honor of someone, a milestone or a special event.

Community Expansion Fund

Donations to this fund are designated to use for expenditures related to the HCS Community Expansion Project. HCS currently operates 15 facilities. Gifts for use in the new homes are accepted in this fund.

Facilities and Fleet Fund

Donations to this fund assist with maintaining 15 facilities and 33 vehicles.

Resident Fund

Designate your donation to be used for activities, equipment and expenditures for the residents of HCS.

Daryl Rogers

Chief Executive Officer

Daryl Rogers is responsible for the strategic direction, vision, performance and growth of HCS. His passion for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities grew when he served on the Board of Directors of Hope Christian Services (then Eastern Christian Children’s Retreat) from 2011 to 2017. Daryl was also the Chairman of the HCS Human Resources Committee and served on a variety of other committees. 

Prior to his tenure at Hope Christian Services, Daryl was the Director of Professional Services and Business Development at the Atlantic Health System in Morristown, NJ.  As a Registered Respiratory Therapist, Daryl has lectured across the country on clinical leadership in healthcare settings.  He authored “Respiratory Care in Alternative Settings” which is published in Egan’s Fundamentals of Respiratory Care.  He is also the Past-President for the New Jersey Society for Respiratory Care and currently in the House of Delegates for the American Association for Respiratory Care.

Daryl received a Bachelor’s of Science in Allied Health from Montclair State University.  He obtained a Master’s Degree in Administrative Science from Fairleigh Dickinson University and holds a Certificate of Specialization in Leadership and Management from Harvard Business School.

Laura Lupica

Chief Operating Officer

Laura Lupica currently serves as Chief Operating Officer of the Hope Christian Services.  As COO, Laura is responsible for the daily operation of the Bushman Building, the Lodges, the RAVE day program, and the Community group homes. She also ensures compliance with licensing standards at these locations through regular monitoring. 

Laura ensures quality of living and normalization for all residents by providing ongoing advocacy for residents’ rights.   Laura also ensures a safe, and healthy environment for the residents and staff.  

Laura became interested in working with Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities at a young age because she had a close relationship with her cousin who lived in a group home in New York.

Laura started working at HCS in July of 1987 in the Recreation Department while attending William Paterson University.   Since her graduation, Laura has worked in different capacities at HCS before moving into her current role of Chief Operating Officer.

Laura graduated from William Paterson University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology in 1989, and Masters’ Degree in Psychology in 1998. 

Dr. Gregory Costello

Medical Director

Dr. Costello has been working with people with disabilities for over 40 years in various organizations as a volunteer as well as in his work. In addition he has served on the Board of Directors of multiple organizations including The New Jersey Institute of Medicine and Public Health, Eva’s Village, Friends of the Word,  Paterson Eye and Ear Clinic, and The American Special Children’s Pilgrimage Group  to name a few. 

His efforts for the victims of hurricane Katrina in 2007 earned him a Senate and General Assembly Citation from the State of New Jersey as well as a Certificate of Commendation at the county level. Dr Costello continues his active membership as a Medical Officer in the United States Disaster Medical Assistance Team for the Federal government’s Department of of Health and Human Services and National Disaster Medical Systems 

Ever since he was a teenager, Dr Costello’s goal was to become a physician and work with people with disabilities.  Dr Costello has now been the Medical Director at Hope Christian Services for over 20 Years. He believes that his history of volunteer work, education and administration has always been a path leading to his arrival at HCS. 

After completing his Master’s degree in Microbiology from Fordham University, Dr Costello graduated from medical school and completed his Residency through the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey / Seton Hall University Program in 1997. Some of Dr. Costello’s administrative background includes Associate Director of the Family Medicine Department at Saint Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, Associate Medical Director at Barnert Hospital, and Medical Director of Passaic County Jail, in New Jersey.

Janet Meier

Chief Financial Officer

Janet Meier currently serves as the Chief Financial Officer of the Hope Christian Services.  As CFO she is responsible for all aspects of Finance for the organization that include Budgeting, Financial Reporting and Audits as well as day-to-day transactions.   

In the 9 years that Janet has been with Hope Christian Services Finance has gone through a major transformation with the transition to Fee for Service and the opening of 5 group homes in that last 6 years.  She is a key player in the future of Hope Christian Services as it continues to expand.

Janet started her career in healthcare finance 33 years ago with her first job at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. Her career in the non-profit sector started 29 years ago at Village Care of New York a Healthcare facility in Manhattan starting as a Junior Accountant and ending her career there as the Controller. 

Janet earned her bachelor’s degree from Baruch College, City University of New York.

Kimberly Salles

Director of Development and Technology

Kimberly Salles currently serves Hope Christian Services as Director of Development and Technology.  She began her career at HCS in 2003 as the Community Relations and Volunteer Coordinator.  Her responsibilities have increased during her tenure and she now serves as the Director of Development and Technology.

In her time at HCS, Kimberly has overseen the growth of the Development Department. Donor cultivation and retention, grant applications, event planning and execution, strategic fundraising and social media all fall under this department. She continues to diversify the donor base, create fundraising opportunities and maintain financial growth.

The Technology Department has formed under Kimberly’s leadership. Understanding the technology infrastructure and networking needs of HCS has brought on the growth of this department.

Kimberly has served in various board and volunteer positions. Her professional career has been in nonprofit leadership for the past 30+ years. 

She attended the University of Rhode Island for her Bachelors of Science degree in Human Science and Services and Nyack College for her Masters of Science in Organizational Leadership.

Lorraine Balestracci

Director of Operations

As Director of Operations, Lorraine helps ensure the quality of living for all who reside in community residences by regularly monitoring all aspects of programs to confirm compliance with community services licensing standards as well as assisting the Chief Operating Officer to set up and open new group homes as they continue their mission into the future. 

Lorraine was first introduced to Hope Christian Services through a work study course while pursuing her bachelor’s degree.  She began her tenure at the organization working in the RAVE day program as an aide.  After receiving her Bachelor degree, Lorraine moved to the role of Instructor in the department and continued to gain experience working closely with the residents.  Throughout her years of service, Lorraine has developed many close bonds with the residents and their families. With the state mandate to move the residents into more community based settings, additional group homes were planned to be added to the five existing HCS community group homes.  It was at that time in 2015 that Lorraine transitioned to work closer with the community residences as the Assistant Residential Director, eventually transitioning into her current role as Director of Operations.

Lorraine has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology with a minor in Psychology.

Jen Tuttle

Director of Nursing

As Director of Nursing, Jen oversees the nursing operations for the HCS programs.  In this role, Jen ensures coordination of medical treatment and care for the residents.  She also oversees and ensures state regulations are being met. Jen’s main goal is both the quality of care and quality of resident’s wellbeing. 

Jen has worked in community healthcare, psychiatric, and substance abuse programs.  Jen’s career has been focused on the underserved population throughout non-profit programs. 

Jen has been a registered nurse for over 2 decades. She had graduated from Dominican College with a Bachelors in Nursing.  She is currently doing her graduate work at Wilkes College to obtain her Master’s in Nursing. 

Melissa Camille Doyle

Director of Adult Training

As the Director of Adult Training, Melissa oversees the overall operation and maintenance of the adult day program. 

During her time at Hope Christian Services, The Adult Day Program has expanded the population serviced. This expansion now encompasses the medically needy as well as the developmentally disabled. A new, more inclusive curriculum has been implemented and the results have been very positive. The adult day program at Hope Christian Services prides itself on the diverse care and consideration it puts into every specific resident. Community inclusion is what the Adult Day program strives for.

Melissa has over 11 years’ experience working within the social service field. Prior to coming to the retreat, Melissa worked for the New Jersey Department of Child Protection and Permanency. She also has experience working with the adult mentally ill population. 

Melissa graduated from William Paterson University with a BA in psychology and a double minor in biology and sociology. 

Yohan Lee

Lead Chaplain

As Lead Chaplain, Yohan and his team ensure that the residents and staff at HCS have access to spiritual content that edifies and encourages them.  During any given week, HCS chaplains can be seen leading worship services, sharing Bible lessons, praying for residents, engaging in activities, or just spending time with the HCS community.  The chaplains also network with outside faith organizations and recruit volunteers so that our residents can experience God’s love from a variety of sources in their neighborhoods.  

Prior to coming to HCS, Yohan served in pastoral ministries at various churches for almost 10 years.  He also has a background in engineering and construction, which he did before becoming a pastor.  Yohan received his master’s degree in Bible from Cairn University and an undergraduate degree in engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.  

Joan Walsh

Quality Assurance Analyst

Joan Walsh began her career at ECCR in 1981, thanks to her High School Guidance Counselor who suggested she knew of a great place to work.  

Since joining ECCR in 1981, Joan worked as a Daily Living Assistant, a Counselor in the Summer Recreation Program, and as an Inclusion Coordinator for the Life Skills Department. 

In 1996, Joan left ECCR to further her education and spend time with her triplet nieces and nephew.  

In 2017, Joan returned to ECCR as the Quality Assurance Analyst.  As the Quality Assurance Analyst Joan is responsible to identify areas in need of improvement and highlight areas of excellence. Joan’s focus is making sure that each resident has a loving, and safe home, as well as best quality of life possible. 

Joan has over 41 years of experience working with Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.  While working at ECCR in the 80’s, Joan also worked for the Paterson Public Schools from 1985 until she retired in 2016. 

Joan graduated from William Paterson University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Women and Gender Studies. 

When not at work, Joan loves spending time with her family, relaxing by the water, and kayaking.

John Vanderzee

Director of Facilities

John Vanderzee currently serves Hope Christian Services as Director of Facilities. He began his career at HCS in July 2022 and his responsibilities include the effective oversight of new construction and maintenance of our 14 group homes as well as facilities projects and daily activities at our main campus. John also oversees the use, repairs and maintenance of HCS vehicles used by our staff.  

With his team, John works hard to keep the facilities clean, safe and organized in order to optimize the quality of life for our staff and residents. He has overseen the renovations, repair and regular maintenance at Hope Christian Services and he uses technology and networking whenever available to meet the needs of the organization. John is always eager to help with fundraising opportunities and understands the importance of financial growth of the organization.  

John has a cumulative knowledge of mechanical and electrical systems as well as infrastructure repair and maintenance which is required in each project. John has a total of 15 years experience in the automotive industry and 10 years experience with infrastructure, plumbing, buildings and grounds.  

John graduated from William Paterson University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Business Administration.  

John is looking forward to many successful years here at Hope Christian Services. He works every day to grow the organization and to support HCS’s mission the community. 

Michele Harris

Director of Lodges

As the Director of the Lodges, Michele helps to ensure the quality of living and normalization for all residents, ensure a safe and healthy environment as well as maintain relationships with their families and friends. She also regularly ensures the Lodges follow HCS’s Policies and Procedures, as well as ensures compliance with licensing circulars/standards as well as maintaining Community Care Program standards.

Michele began her journey in 2009 as a RAVE (Now The Possibility Center) Instructor, then Team Leader before making the transition to Case Management. Throughout this journey, Michele gained knowledge of the residents in the Bushman Building as well as those living in the Community and Lodges. August of 2022, Michele made the transition to work in her current role as the Director of the Lodges.

Michele graduated with her Bachelor of Sciences degree in Sociology from William Paterson University in 2002. 

Annual Fund

Donations to the Annual Fund are used wherever HCS needs them most. These important gifts provide HCS with an ongoing source of income that allow us to provide extraordinary care to our residents.