From Our Guardians

The guardians and family members of our residents and Achievement Center attendees recognize that NCFL is the unrivaled leader in the support of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in New Jersey. 

“When our 26-year-old autistic son first arrived at New Concepts for Living (NCFL) he was very withdrawn, underweight, not speaking or sleeping well and scared.  We had the impression he was suffering from some sort of PTSD.

Since Michael has been at NCFL, he has improved dramatically! He is now putting on weight, speaking, sleeping, and engaging with his fellow residents! He has really come out of his shell and enjoys the activities that they have him participating in. The staff at his Community Residence and at Day Program show a lot of compassion and patience with him.

My wife and I are now finally sleeping nights knowing he is being taken care of properly with the dignity he deserves.”

Michael J. McCarthy

“My wife and I adopted three young children with special needs many years ago. We had been looking for Group Homes for several years. We knew that someday our now adult children would need to be placed in a ‘Forever Home’. My daughter Felicia (Fefe) requires complete care. After my wife passed, I realized that if something happened to me, there would no longer be anyone at home to care for Fefe. That was a difficult and frightening realization, but I knew it was time to make that choice.

Even though it was one of the hardest decisions in my life, I am so grateful and relieved to have found New Concepts for Living! Fefe is doing extremely well and thriving in her new home. The House Manager keeps in constant contact with me, which made this transition easier for both of us. I am so happy with NCFL and the care they provide for my daughter. I can rest easy knowing she is in good hands for the remainder of her life.”

Roger Philbrook

“Huge thank you to all of NCFL! To all the behind the scenes people and the DSP’s that make this awesome place home for our daughter! We couldn’t be more blessed to have found you! Now we know our daughter will be safe, happy, healthy and thrive – living her best life! You all are amazing! Saying thank you just doesn’t seem to be enough! God Bless! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!”

Liz Filipovsky

“My son Michael has been with New Concepts for Living (NCFL) in Park Ridge for 5 years. It was a difficult decision having him move into a Community Residence, since he was never anywhere else other than our home. It was the best decision!

The staff have been taking great care of him. Rebecca is a wonderful, caring manager. She knows Michael so well. It’s great to go to the house and see him so happy and comfortable being there. They go on lots of community outings, which he loves! I would highly recommend NCFL for your loved one!”

Flo Anton

“Moving my daughter from her previous agency and home into NCFL’s Haledon home was the best thing I ever did. Jessica had become inactive, un-cooperative and very unhappy. She had gained so much weight that she could barely walk. I began to believe that she was being abused. When she landed in the hospital, with a third degree burn that no one in her previous agency could explain, I knew I had to do something! Once her burns healed, I refused to send her back to her previous agency. However, because she was labeled ‘Behavioral,’ many other organizations would not accept her into their programs. Thankfully, NCFL gave her a chance! They knew that with the right care, Jessica might show another side. Since transferring to NCFL, Jessica has lost weight. She takes part in programs and activities, has made friends and is happy and easygoing whenever I see her. She not only walks now but often excitedly and happily “jumps around”! I can rest easy knowing that Jessica is safe and thriving. I will always be grateful to NCFL for giving my daughter a better life.”

Jocelyn Manzueta

“Having a special needs child is one of hardship and joy for parents. Bringing up Sean and knowing that one day he would be alone in this world, as we have no other children, was frightening. Finding what we believe was a suitable group home was a time-consuming experience. Then we found New Concepts for Living. Still a little leery, we decided it would be the best situation for Sean. We now know it was the best decision we ever made. We would like to thank the New Concepts staff for all the care and comfort they have shown Sean. Both of us thank you from the bottom of our heart, and if he could, Sean would also thank you. I also want to take this opportunity to recognize Chris (his House Manager). Chris treats Sean like he was one of his own and I know he has a place in his heart for him. His leadership has, in our eyes, transformed the Teaneck community residence into the best in the state, barring none. In closing, our thanks to New Concepts for Living for allowing us one day to go to our grave knowing that Sean is in the best hands he could be in.”

Tom and Cathy Shanahan

“As parents, you want to know you are doing the best you can for your child, especially when his or her needs may be more than others. We decided to move our son, Justin, somewhere he could meet friends and have some independence yet still be well-cared for and safe. New Concepts for Living has provided Justin with that and more. His housemates and the staff at his Community Residence have become like family. He is thriving and happy and I know that everyone at NCFL has Justin’s best interest at heart – always. I am thankful to the direct care providers, Justin’s House Manager, and the leadership team for providing me with peace of mind and helping Justin to live a fulfilled life.”

The Petersens

“Since January 2021, we were looking for residential placement for our daughter and by June had interviewed eight group homes, none of which seemed remotely appropriate for her and her needs. Then we were recommended New Concepts for Living and from the first interview with the NCFL team it seemed we found what we were looking for. Everyone was extremely helpful during the application/interview process, answering questions and giving us all the details that we needed. Our daughter moved into one of the NCFL Community Residences in August. It is a beautiful home, close to us, with great staff and an open-door policy. She went through the transition better than we expected and that is in part due to the staff working with her. Our daughter loves her new home and her roommates, and she is always happy when we talk to her. At the end of the day, we are very pleased with her care. A big ‘Thank You’ to the entire staff at NCFL for making this possible.”

Adriana Kramer

“Our daughter, Elaine, has been with NCFL for over thirty years – almost from its inception. She has developed to her highest capacity! NCFL makes a point to provide amenities that their residents would have in their family homes and ensure they reach their highest potential. We have seen some residents come from State Institutions and after six months to a year they are feeding, dressing and bathing themselves (where they were not prior). When Elaine visits us she wants to go back to her ‘other family’ saying ‘They need me’.”

John S. Schlenker

“NCFL staff and management are so compassionate and caring toward the clients and families. They are always smiling, pleasant and willing to help whenever needed. The Day Program has very meaningful and engaging programs and activities and it is definitely not just filling time. My son, Christopher, has commented so many times how he so enjoyed a particular outing or activity. NCFL always keeps a client’s particular needs and interests in mind when planning programs and activities; it’s definitely not a one size fits all program. Management and staff are always available to brainstorm solutions if a particular program, service or situation isn’t working. This is a day program with a caring heart at the heart of all that they do. One could not find a better day program anywhere!”

Susan Busche

“NCFL has had an amazingly positive influence on my brother’s emotional growth and independence. Over the years, he has become much more outgoing and self-assured. The personal care and constant attention has done what I could never do by myself. We waited for a long time to get my brother a spot in an NCFL home and can honestly say that we made the right decision. Thank you for everything you have done for us!”

Oleg Satanovksy

“My brother, Walter Brown, has been with NCFL since the very beginning, in their first house in Hillsdale, NJ! My parents wanted to make sure Wally was taken care of after they were gone and not a burden to his siblings. I am grateful for their foresight because under the best of circumstances, my ability to care for my brother on a daily basis is very limited, since I have my own family. After the recent passing of my father (2 years ago), the staff at NCFL, especially Yasminah King, have been taking complete care of Wally, making sure he makes all his dialysis appointments, doctors’ appointments, and the like. Yasminah keeps meticulous health records and knows every doctor, prescription and appointment in those records. She keeps my brother Ed and I updated with all of those appointments, as well as any problems that occur within the house, which isn’t all too often. The fact that the problems are at a minimum is a testament to the staff, as they are well equipped to handle what comes their way when it comes to Wally. I can’t say enough about NCFL and the care Wally receives and has received at the Hillsdale house. Wally moved in when he was 35. He is now 60 and taken well care of. I have no worries when it comes to Wally’s care and that is due to Yasminah and her competent staff in the Hillsdale house.”

Maureen Locke

“I am writing to extend a special thank you to your staff at Andy’s house. Rebecca has been exemplary in her management of the staff and your clients. In such an unprecedented, dangerous time she has risen to the occasion and gone above and beyond. The fear and unknown of how to manage this situation are harrowing for all of us. As a parent of a son with very high needs, residing in a group home setting on lock-down, the anxiety is overwhelming. I am relieved that New Concepts for Living has taken every precaution, and all steps necessary for the health and safety of our loved ones and their own dedicated staff. Rebecca has always been there to support Andy in so many ways. It has been a particularly frightening time for us recently with his new medical issues. She has always been very professional and very caring. Her strong guidance, reassurance and kindness have been such a comfort. Special thanks to your selfless front-line workers, Wesley and Mike, for their round-the-clock-care. And of course, special thanks to Owen who clearly cares a lot for Andy. Their devotion and dedication, working consistently with Andy, has certainly made a difference in his life and is not without my gratitude. Heartfelt thanks and gratitude to NCFL and ALL your staff, especially those from his Community Residence – Rebecca, Owen, Wesley, Mike, Emma and Jason. And I don’t want to forget Carlton, Babatunde, Obe and Benjamin’s hard work and TLC.”

Kim Elphick

“NCFL’s community residence has helped Larry become more independent. Larry likes his home and transitions easily after visiting with his family. He enjoys independent living and has adjusted well to his environment. He enjoys NCFL’s activities and trips to restaurants and parks, etc. I don’t need to worry because I know that Larry is being taken care of, which I know would not always be possible for me. He is happy and his happiness is very important to me.”

Jeanette Warhol

“I am the guardian to my aunt, who has been living at New Concepts for Living in Emerson, NJ for six years. Although it is an independent living arrangement, she has always required supervised care. She recently declined and was hospitalized for approximately five weeks. NCFL allowed her to return home to Emerson, where she was then placed under hospice assistance. The NCFL staff has cared for her 24/7 without hesitation, as she has declined. Each and every individual has gone above and beyond their job description to support and keep Grace comfortable. My family and I are so impressed and thankful to them for making a difficult situation much easier to handle, helping to maintain her quality of life during this period.”

Cathy Cunningham

“I am so thankful to the staff at New Concepts for Living. My daughter, Rebecca, has been a resident of NCFL for three years and is now attending their Adult Achievement Center as well. The staff that work with her in her home treat her as if she is one of their own – and this is the greatest gift a parent can receive! The house manager, Janet, cares for Rebecca like she does her own daughters. Who could ask for more? Rebecca loves going on all the trips and outings every week and enjoys attending the day program very much. Whenever we see Rebecca, she is shining from the inside out and we are forever grateful for the care she gets. From the top down, everyone I come in contact with is loving, caring and kind. The respect for Rebecca and her well-being at NCFL is how I can peacefully sleep each night.”

Laurie Singer

“Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to share how grateful we are for the excellent care you are giving to our daughter, Amy. It truly amazes us how you can individualize the living situation at the home and the day program to best suit her needs and interests. The staff are equally gifted at being caring and professional and the medical care is top notch. NCFL runs a very tight ship and we feel fortunate that Amy is in your care. She is well taken care of and enjoys the many outings. Thank you again!”

Julia Linder

“I don’t even know where to begin with my praise for NCFL. My sister, Sandra, has been a client for many years. Prior to that she was on a waiting list at a State Institution. Her first “real home” (in many years) was in Park Ridge, where she was able to take advantage of everything NCFL offered! She worked, shopped and enjoyed many social events and outings. Sandra is now significantly older and with much greater needs. She currently resides in the Northvale Community Residence, which she loves, and has an “Angel on Earth” as her manager – Janet Spence. She is also assisted by Mana and Celianise. I would highly recommend New Concepts for Living to anyone who has a loved one with special needs. God Bless you all!”

Karen McDonald

“My sister joined NCFL in February of 2021. She resides in one of their homes and attends the Day Program. The application process was efficient and smooth thanks to the open communication and guidance from the administration. Staff worked with me tirelessly to ensure a smooth transition for my sister into her new home.

The support did not end after my sister was accepted by NCFL. Communication between staff and me continues to be strong. I am kept informed if anything unexpected happens during my sister’s day. The staff in the house and at the program provide my sister with the care and attention she needs to thrive. She enjoys the various activities and events her house and the Day Program partake in. Her special dietary needs are met, which was a main concern for my family. Although my sister misses living with family, I can tell she is happy in her new home. Within months, she began learning new skills and the staff helps her achieve her goals.

If you are looking for an agency to care for your loved one, I recommend NCFL. Right from the beginning, you will sense how the agency cares about their clients and truly wants what is best for them. Your loved one will be in great hands.”

Shakeelah Asghar

“My sister, Jackie, moved in to NCFL’s Emerson supervised apartments. Her roommate has become a close friend and Jackie has shown improvement in her own social skills. She has gained more independence with her daily living skills. We also recently switched Jackie into NCFL’s Adult Achievement Center, and she has been enjoying more community integration (local trips and outings) with her peers – something she never had the opportunity to do prior. She especially loves the “Women’s Group,” where one of her favorite activities is getting her make-up, hair and nails done!”

Nadeen Altieri

“In mid-July 2021, I faced the critical issue of relocating my brother from one agency to another as the first had no ability to meet his challenges. Then a miracle happened. A friend had given me names of two agencies in Bergen County and the first was New Concepts for Living. I called on the 13th, met with their administrators on the 14th, checked out the available spot the same day, and he was accepted on the 15th. That in itself was a miracle, but then added to it was the coordination between the prior agency, the rehab, and NCFL that made it possible for my brother to move, exactly two weeks after our first meeting.

Since then, I have been blown away by the care and attention he has received. His level of need is quite high and NCFL has exceeded all expectations. The staff is utterly amazing — every single person involved in his care has exceeded my hopes. My sister visited recently and is totally blown away.

One point I think speaks MOST strongly is the way staff speaks about other staff. I have NEVER listened to co-workers speak so highly of each other. To quote one conversation, I was told ‘We each have our own strengths. I’m more gentle with him, “X” is strong and able to do things I can’t, but ‘”Y” is the whole package! She can do it all for him.’ JUST WOW. The team support is as strong as the personal support my brother receives and I could not be happier with this gift for my brother’s remaining time.”

Deb Suta

“New Concepts for Living was a lifesaver. During what was the most devastating time in my family’s lives, this program was the light at the end of the tunnel. My brother lost the one person who he counted on the most, my mom. While I tried my best, this difficult change was not easy for him. My brother struggled to understand what was going on and what had happened as his life was turned upside down. The structure and security he once knew was stripped from him and he needed to learn how to cope with the loss of a parent. My brother needed a place that could provide him with the structure, time, and care that he needed to feel safe. NCFL did just that. The program and the people who work there were understanding of our circumstance and provided my brother with an environment that helped him find security, independence, and happiness.”

Jessica Castillo-Garcia

“New Concepts is truly the “home away from home” my parents envisioned for my sisters. Marian has grown tremendously since living in her independent apartment setting and Paulette thrives in her more traditional group home right in the town that she grew up in. The 24-hour staff are uniformly incredible, courteous, kind and compassionate individuals who treat my sisters and their house mates with dignity, respect and understanding. The professional, customized care my sisters receive at New Concepts for Living is invaluable to the Maguire family and we are deeply grateful to all who continue to support this wonderful agency.”

Patrice M. Scott

“My family is so grateful to have been connected with NCFL from its inception until the present. In the late 1970s, my grandmother was involved with a group of other concerned parents who were looking for supportive housing for their developmentally challenged children. Shortly thereafter, my two uncles went to live in the first house developed by NCFL. Now my brother has been in that very same home, living and receiving services. The staff there have been amazing, teaching and assisting him with developing life skills, while helping him achieve greater levels of independence. Through the years, the staff have developed a strong rapport with my brother and our family; they are attentive to his specific needs and preferences. We are so lucky this program is in existence and feel peace of mind having him at NCFL.”

The Carney and Burke Family

“For nearly 25 years, my son has called New Concepts for Living his home. His housemates have become a second family. The five men who reside in his community residence have a truly unique and special bond. All NCFL staff work together to address Ricky’s behaviors and have implemented a behavior plan to effectively manage them. As a parent, it is comforting to know he is safe. We are also happy to see Ricky enjoying the activities and outings he and his housemates go on and especially those occasions where he can dine at Charlie Browns! My wife and I are truly thankful to have found and chosen NCFL so many years ago.”

Dr. Jerome Margolin

“New Concepts For Living has been an answer to our family’s prayers. It has opened up Tiffany’s world to new possibilities and experiences. The house staff are very competent and compassionate to the residents and Tiffany is very happy. The medical/nursing staff are very informed about Tiffany’s needs and we are kept up to date on any change and doctors’ visits. I was very impressed with the safeguards they had in place and how successfully they kept everyone safe and healthy during COVID. We are so pleased with her new beautiful home and are so grateful!”

Erin Wacha

“NCFL has provided our son with opportunities he would not otherwise have had. Choosing your Adult Achievement Center (Day Program) twelve years ago turned out to be one of the best decisions we’ve made. Despite being wheel-chair bound, Dennis is constantly getting out into the community and going on trips to wonderful places like the Point Pleasant Boardwalk, Great Adventure and The Liberty Science Center. NCFL Staff is both caring and supportive – even literally – making it a point to get Dennis up and walking with them regularly. Dennis’ communication has improved but even without words, we can see his consistent smile and genuine happiness! We at the Emich household are so thankful for all you do and proud to be a part of your family. Thank you NCFL!”

The Entire Emich Family

“New Concepts for Living has provided an enriching environment for my brother since 2016. The Adult Achievement Center (day program) and house staff consistently provide him opportunities to expand his abilities and develop higher levels of independence and self-sufficiency. Their commitment to his growth, and both physical and emotional well-being have been greatly appreciated, and continue to confirm that NCFL was the best choice for our family.”

Karen Diverdi

“New Concepts has always taken excellent care of my brother, Eugene, whether it be at the workshop or at the group home. The staff, in either case, has always shown genuine caring and real concern for my brother’s well-being. He can be very difficult at times and I always appreciate their patience and understanding. I can’t thank New Concepts enough for all they do for Eugene. And as his brother, I thank you.”

Edward Pickhardt

“Joey has been attending the Day Program for 15 months now after his school graduation. For him it’s been a great adult transition. It is wonderful as parents to know he is safe and happy creating wonderful memories each day. I see this each afternoon at pickup time when his friends assist the staff in leading Joey out of the workrooms, all telling me about their day! The bond he’s created with other clients is amazing. Even during this crazy time of Pandemic lockdown, his friends still kept socially connected through phone calls and NCFL’s virtual day program. It warms a mom’s heart to hear other clients and staff cheer his name as a greeting. We love the opportunities he’s had in the community with the numerous outings throughout the weeks and the accessibility of wheelchair vans always available for him. With a full time nurse at the program to attend to Joey’s medical needs, it adds to the reassurance he is in good hands. As a family, we always feel welcome at NCFL’s many events. A full calendar of activities for sharpening life and academic skills, as well as art, dance and music days, keep him well rounded. We are blessed to have the NCFL family be part of ours.”

Kim Catalfamo

“My sister, Margarita, moved Into NCFL’s Haledon home a few years ago. She already knew one of the residents there and that certainly helped her transition, but the staff have also made a definite impact. Margarita’s behaviors have decreased significantly because she is consistently monitored and encouraged. The direct care professionals who work with her have made her feel safe. My sister is always smiling and laughing and loves to participate in all the outings the Day Program and Group Home plan. Her favorite activities are when she gets her nails and hair done. She just loves the pampering! I am grateful to NCFL and the incredible staff for helping my sister feel happy and secure!”

Elena Grullon

“Our family is very pleased with the care that my sister has received as a resident in one of the Community Residences (group homes) at New Concepts for Living. The attention, kindness, and love that the entire staff has shown is truly outstanding. We cannot thank them enough for putting us at ease and knowing that our loved one is in such great hands. We feel that NCFL is like a second family. Thank you for everything!!!”

Jessica Wu

“The Gordon Family wanted to send our very grateful acknowledgment to all our friends at New Concepts for Living. As our Nicholas has been part of the NCFL family for 10 years, we are constantly reminded how fortunate we are to have your fine organization overseeing the care for our son. We have watched how completely you all make sure his special needs are met and your sincere interest in his well-being at every level. The entire Gordon family wanted to thank you so much, as this would not have been possible without your continued, thorough involvement and the dedicated interest in the quality of his life!”

Kate and Gary Gordon

“I have the pleasure of not only serving on the Board at NCFL, but also being the mother of a resident and recipient of their programs! My son, Tom, has been part of the NCFL family for nearly twenty years. He loves his house mates and the staff at his home, and they have certainly become family. I am grateful for the care he receives, as well as the abundance of activities and outings at the adult achievement center (day program) and while at home on the weekends. He is kept busy and he has made many friends. NCFL is fastidious in the maintenance of their homes and in the staff that they hire, and it has certainly made a difference! From a professional and personal perspective, New Concepts for Living is a premier agency and I would not want Tom anywhere else.”

Mary Ellen Rohon

“I am grateful to have found a new home for my daughter, Jessica, with New Concepts for Living. When Jessica first moved into NCFL’s Park Ridge home, I was very nervous about the transition. This was Jessica’s first experience living in a community residence and I was not sure how she would respond. I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised by the transition. Jessica acclimated well with the other residents in the house, as well as with staff. When I look back on her placement, I think I had a more difficult time with the transition than she did.

It is evident that Jessica is well taken care of in her new home at NCFL. I have noticed significant changes in Jessica’s ability to verbalize her needs. She has also become more independent regarding her daily living activities. When I visit Jessica, she is always well-dressed, happy, and looking forward to the next community outing.

Staff are extremely kind, patient, and work well together to meet Jessica’s needs. I could not be more grateful to NCFL for providing my daughter with a warm and heartfelt environment. Many thanks to the staff and management for her great success!”

Elena O'Connell

“My brother, Leslie, is living in the Park Ridge group home for over 20 years. All the counselors and directors have always displayed the highest quality care and sincerity in their positions. The care they provide for my brother is more than I would be able to provide. Leslie is a very happy and easy going individual, but can be very stubborn and difficult to handle at times. I have personally witnessed how they handled the most difficult situations. I cannot give enough praise and sincere appreciation to the counselors and directors that care for my brother. I know Leslie would not be happy anywhere else.”

Lee and Deborah Bigbee

“The NCFL staff is very professional, capable and dedicated to caring for their clients on a daily basis but especially in this recent pandemic. They have taken proper precautions to avoid having anyone in their care become infected with the coronavirus while, at the same time, keeping everyone engaged in daily projects and activities so that they feel included in the NCFL team. Our family feels very blessed and grateful to have our Angela cared for and supported by such capable staff. The organization is to be commended for their handling of this unprecedented health challenge.

Thank you to each and every member of the NCFL community.”

Kathryn Guarino

“My nephew, Richard, had been in Woodbridge Developmental Center since he was 12 years old. I moved him to a group home when they closed. The home was not what I expected, and neither was the workshop (day program). I moved him to New Concepts for Living shortly after. He is now in a community residence (group home) there and NCFL’s Adult Achievement Center Day Program. I cannot tell you how happy I am. He looks wonderful and is taken such good care of. He is happy and always smiling, which he was not before. They were so helpful, finding wonderful doctors for him. The staff are all understanding and patient and kind. At the day program, he seems very happy. He is always going out and does things that he never did before. As his aunt and guardian, I am so happy that he is a client of New Concepts for Living. They take care of all his needs. The staff there keep me posted on everything that involves him. Thank you NCFL!”

Anne Brinkers

“At around six months old, my daughter, Nefertari, started to have fibroid seizures that lasted until she was four years old. Due to the seizures, Nefertari lost 20 percent of oxygen in her brain, which left her with a disadvantage to communicate clearly, using speech. Nefertari has encountered a few extremely difficult obstacles in her life outside of the ordinary challenges. With the help, support and structure that New Concepts for Living provides, along with the staff who has been so understanding, Nefertari has been able to overcome some of these challenges. This program has been a blessing, not only for Nefertari but for our family. New Concepts for Living has given her a sense of freedom, a new confidence and love of herself by allowing her to continue embracing her true self as she continues to evolve into the woman she is meant to be. With the help and support of NCFL, Nefertari has found that beautiful smile that she once lost. Nefertari is a sign of true strength and love. She has taught her family no matter how hard life knocks you down you still can find the strength within and smile to face the next day.”

Marcia Fernandez

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