The safety of our team and our students is of the utmost importance to us. Click here to read a letter from our Executive Director addressing COVID-19.
Renée graduated from Dover Business College, and prior to her employment at Little Hill Foundation, she was Director of Publications at Kinsley Associates, Inc.
Renée began her career with Little Hill Foundation in August of 2004 as the Development Assistant, was promoted to Director of Philanthropy in 2011 and obtained her CFRE (Certified Fundraising Executive) credential in 2022. Her duties include donor relations, overseeing philanthropic support through implementing the annual fundraising plan, major gifts, grant writing and special events.
She enjoys interacting with alumni, families, and donors to build relationships that create meaningful change. “No act of kindness is too small.” ~ Aesop
Bill is a licensed clinical social worker having earned a master’s degree from Columbia University’s school of social work in 1996. His early career began at The Educational Alliance in New York City as a staff therapist and later director of a residential treatment program for adults suffering with substance use disorders (SUD). During this period Bill opened his own private psychotherapy practice specializing in treating individuals with SUD’s, as well as anxiety and depressive disorders. Bill eventually left NYC and after a brief time of working in an intensive outpatient setting here in NJ, joined the clinical staff of Alina Lodge in 2012. After working with our men’s clinical team for 7 years he was promoted to Executive Director in January 2019. Bill has been married to his wife Laurie for 20 years and they have two adolescent children, Kayin and Annika, as well as a household of pets.
“There is nothing more meaningful than to be a part of someone’s journey from the despair and loneliness of active addiction to the joy and connection in recovery.”
Kimberly received her BSW in 2017 from Shepherd University in West Virginia. She received her MSW in 2018 from Rutgers University.
Kimberly joined the Clinical Team at Alina Lodge in July of 2021. Prior to coming to Alina Lodge, Kimberly worked as a therapist specializing in addiction at Kwenyan Professional Health Services. Her interests include substance abuse, eating disorders and cognitive behavioral therapy.
Aaron has over 30 years of experience in marketing, strategy, leadership and business development . Aaron is an energetic and results driven marketing professional with the experience and qualifications to lead sales, marketing and business development activities. Skilled at developing and executing sales and marketing strategies as well as recruiting, training and motivating high performing sales teams.
Aaron spent the first 20 years of his marketing career in financial services as a Senior Vice President of Strategic Marketing with Sovereign Bank. He traveled the country for 10 of those years working as a banking consultant teaching large banks how to acquire new customers.
In 2010, Aaron transitioned into behavioral health with Caron Treatment Centers. At Caron, Aaron was the Corporate Business Development Director responsible for creating national visibility substantiable revenue growth and training of the business development team. Aaron was also a member of the Senior Leadership Team at Caron Treatment Centers.
Aaron joined Alina Lodge as the Director of Marketing and Business Development in August of 2020.
Fun Fact: Aaron enjoys spending time vacationing at the beach with his wife Holly and their three sons and he enjoys fitness and coaching football.
Eileen started working at Alina Lodge in 2003. She was first a facilitator, and then a driver. In 2007 she worked at Haley House as an Resident Assistant for two years. As a driver, she enjoyed talking with the students one on one and decided to go back to school to finish her BA in Sociology and her LCADC. After leaving Haley House for two years, she started working on her Masters in Pastoral Counseling. She returned in 2011 as an eating disorder counselor. When she graduated with her MAPC in 2013, Michael Hornstein asked her to be a Primary Counselor for the female community. Alina Lodge sent her to Eating Disorder Conferences at Renfrew ED Treatment Center. She was also given the opportunity to become a Certified Trauma Therapist through the Spirit to Spirit program with Judy Crane at The Refuge in Ocala, Florida. She worked as a Primary Counselor at Alina Lodge until 2021 when she decided to retire. Recognizing that she would not be happy being home all the time and not seeing her colleagues, she has been working part-time as a trauma and eating disorder counselor for both the Men and Women’s communities.
Canine Assisted Therapy: CAT TEAM
Donna received her Master’s in Addictions Counseling from Marywood University in Pennsylvania. She has been passionate about working in the field of Mental Health, Addictions and Family Therapy for over 30 years. Donna was the Director of Family Services at Alina Lodge for the past 21 years and although officially “retired” today is part of our clinical team with her Canine Co Counselor and partner, Jackie O.
Donna’s love of working with animals extends back many years to when she grew up training and showing horses in her local 4H Chapter and nationally. She is certified as an Animal Assisted Therapist and is excited to help spread awareness on the benefits of animal-assisted therapy and support more people than ever before through programming, outreach and community engagement.
Jacqueline Kennedy, Jackie O, is a 3 yr. old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Jackie received her Canine Good Citizen Certification from the AKA and is a Certified Therapy Dog. Jackie O graduated from C.A.T.dogsinc a premier pet therapy organization in Ft Lauderdale dedicated to improving the lives of those in need. Jackie O has provided companionship to assisted living facilities, addiction treatment centers, veterans’ groups and holds a special place for her work at Holy Cross Hospital Cancer Infusion Center. Donna and Jackie are certified as a Canine Assisted Therapy Team CAT team and Mental Health and Trauma Response (MHTR) team.
Michelle came to us in February of 2022 after she relocated her residence from Bergen County. She has been working and serving in the addiction field for over 12 years. Her roles include – Lead Detox Counselor at the largest detox hospital in the State of New Jersey (New Bridge Medical Center – formally Bergen Regional) – Patient Care Tech at Bergen Regional Medical Center’s emergency room and psychiatric unit – Private Sober Coach (Mahwah, NJ). She has assisted the launch of New Jersey’s Certified Peer Recovery Specialist Program by being one of the first to be trained and certified to work alongside the Bergen County Police Departments to meet overdose victims and families at the emergency room. She and her husband share a passion for people suffering from substance use and work alongside a street ministry called “Desire 4 Hope” which addresses addiction and homelessness on the street with a “boots to the ground” intensity. Michelle earned her CADC Credentials at Bergen County Community College. She is proud to be part of the team at Alina Lodge.
Jane received her master’s degree in Clinical Counseling from Centenary University in 2022. While attending her master’s program, she worked with substance use disorders at the partial-hospitalization and intensive-outpatient levels of care prior to completing a five-month clinical internship at Alina Lodge. She joined the clinical team as a full-time counselor in June of 2022. Prior to her transition into the field of counseling, Jane worked for 10 years as a licensed massage therapist. Her first career was in animal training and behavior following her bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from the University of Connecticut in 2008. Jane strives to combine her knowledge and experience from her prior careers and education to provide the highest level of care to Alina Lodge’s students and families as a member of the clinical team.
Becci has been working in the addiction treatment industry in both the financial and operational areas for almost 20 years. After spending 7 years in public accounting and the private sector, Becci joined Richard J Caron Foundation as their Controller in 2000. She earned a Master’s in Business Administration concentrating in Executive Medical from Alvernia University in 2004 while working as Caron’s Corporate Director of Finance. Later, she became the Vice President of Finance for Caron and earned the Certified Healthcare Financial Professional designation through the Healthcare Financial Management Association, of which Becci is an active member.
In 2017, Becci formed her own consulting firm, Shaak Consulting LLC, and began providing financial and operational consulting to several addiction treatment clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. It was at this time Becci became affiliated with Little Hill Foundation in August of 2017 as its acting CFO. While maintaining this relationship, Becci took on the role of EVP of Operations from January 2018 to July 2019 for Pennsylvania Adult and Teen Challenge. In October 2019, Little Hill Foundation named Becci Shaak Chief Financial Officer. In 2020, Becci became licensed as a CPA through the Pennsylvania State Board of Accountancy.
Carol is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC) specializing in the treatment of persons with substance use disorders. She serves as the Director of Family Services. In that role, she works with family members to help them understand the role they play in the recovery of a family impacted by addiction. She believes that family members have the biggest influence upon the student’s efforts for sustained recovery.
Carol presents regular lectures to the community, focusing on integrating concepts from the science of addiction, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Al-Anon, and Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention with the student’s 12-step recovery efforts. She hosts weekly Zoom sessions with the family members of current and past students to help normalize their experiences and to provide a space where group members share their experience, strength, and hope. Carol also facilitates the multi-day Family Intensives Program for family members and students who demonstrate change and commitment to recovery.
Carol received her BA in Management and Marketing from Montclair State University. After many years in the private sector, she changed the focus of her life’s work after a significant event occurred that affected a close friend. She obtained a Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology from Centenary University and has pursued further training in ACT, MBRP, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Carol also has received certification as a New Jersey Disaster Response Crisis Counselor (NJ-DRCC).
Anthony has been a counselor on the men’s counseling team since 2019. Anthony received his Master’s degree in Social Work from Rutgers University. Before joining Alina, Anthony worked as a peer specialist for Rutgers University of Behavioral Health Care with a program called Vets4Warriors, helping military, veterans, and their families. Anthony is both a Licensed Social Worker (LSW) and a Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC) with the state of New Jersey. Anthony is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) trauma therapy and is currently working towards his certificate. Anthony co-facilitates the Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) and coherent breathing meditation. Anthony is also an Army veteran who served overseas in Afghanistan.
With a heart for helping others, Leila comes to us with over 6 years of experience working in the treatment industry. Leila holds a BA in Communication from Auburn University and has held a variety of roles in a few different substance abuse facilities over the years. These roles include Volunteer Coordinator, Patient Technician, Resident Advisor, and Admissions Coordinator. She has held these positions in different levels of care such as detox, short term residential, long term residential and women’s transitional living facilities.
Of the time she has worked in the industry, more than half has been dedicated to Admissions work, which is where she excels. Leila’s deep empathy for those suffering from substance abuse and co-occurring disorders, as well as her compassion for their family members and loved ones, is the motivating force behind her work. She understands that taking that next step is a difficult one and welcomes guiding others on this journey.
As a professional in the treatment field for over 32 years and a person in long-term recovery for over 40, Joi Honer is committed to providing support services for those who seek recovery from the impact of substance use disorder. She holds certifications in addiction and co-occurring disorder counseling and a bachelor’s degree in addiction studies. Joi’s first 17 years of practice were devoted to clinical work, research, and clinical leadership, but over the last several years she has focused on cultivating alumni and family engagement. Her experiences include development of niche support groups, spiritual retreats, Alumni apps, recovery toolkits, wellness workshops and public recovery advocacy. In addition to providing life-enriching programming, she recognizes the importance of providing opportunities for those in recovery to express their gratitude by giving back to others, the gifts of recovery they have received. Joi’s goal is to support our alumni and community by offering resources for connection, personal growth, fellowship, and fun!
The Spirituality Program at Alina Lodge is led by The Reverend Robert Griner. Robert received a degree in Psychology from Drew University and studied Theology at the University of Oxford before completing a Master of Divinity degree at Yale University. After 911, Robert was hired by FEMA as a Crisis Response Counselor. He also held the position as Director of Psychiatric Services in a Jersey City Center. He has been serving as a parish priest for over 30 years.
Robert’s goal is to help our students develop skills through meditation and prayer to cope with where their lives are, find moments of grace in their lives now and to change their perception of the future where hope abounds. He strives to show them that spirituality can elevate the joy of living.
“Recovery is hard. We all need assistance and there is a wellspring of help through the maintenance of a spiritual relationship.” -~Robert Griner
Deb has over 30 years of experience in the addiction field including marketing, business development, admissions, and as an operations consultant to addiction treatment and healthcare organizations. Formerly, Deb was the Chief Sales and Marketing Officer and executive responsible for marketing, admissions, and research for two of the nation’s most respected addiction treatment providers. In these positions, she was responsible for creating national visibility, substantial revenue growth, a positive shift in payer mix, and establishing a sales force.
Deb’s involvement with both non- and for-profits organizations on both the East and West Coasts gives her a knowledge of treatment and options around the country. Her passion is helping clients and families find the best treatment options to meet their individual needs as they embark on their journey to long-term recovery.
Fun Fact: Deb loves spending time with her family and enjoys her six-year-old grandson Travis and welcomes travel whenever the opportunity arises.
Benny entered the field of addiction in 2009 as a Residential Aid at Straight and Narrow in Paterson NJ. In 2011 he accepted a position as Residential Aid at Endeavor House North in Kearney NJ, where he was promoted to Senior RA Supervisor. In the years that followed Benny accepted a supervisory role where he trained Lead Behavior Health Technicians at Serenity at Summit, before transitioning to an Intake Counselor position and obtaining his CADC, which opened the door for him becoming a Primary Counselor. In 2020 he became a Clinical Manager with Brookdale Recovery Center and in 2022 accepted his current position as Primary Counselor at Alina Lodge.
Matthew’s background is in logistics operations, coordinating the storage, transportation, tracking, and distribution of goods, as well as maintaining compliance standards. Today, Matthew has found his passion working with the people and professionals at Alina Lodge.
Starting as a Facilitator at Alina Lodge in 2011, Matthew became the Supervisor of Facilitation several years later and then became the Assistant to the Executive Director in 2017, and the Emergency Management Officer in 2018. Matthew served as the Director of Operations beginning 2019 until 2022; overseeing many departments and processes key to the routine operations of the facility, while continuing to serve as the liaison to the Board of Trustees.
After falling ill during the pandemic and recentering his life around his three children and family, Matthew has resumed the role of Facilitation Supervisor where he began his career at Alina Lodge, and he couldn’t be happier doing what he loves to do the most; engaging with and interacting with our students and seeing to the needs of their daily lives in treatment here at Alina Lodge.
Having graduated from St. John’s University in 1990 with a BA in Psychology, Jackie began her career in Human Resources and Office Services/Training. She had a strong desire to help others and work with people. Her journey led to a change in the industry, and Jackie began her career at Haley House in 2011 as Resident Advisor. She was promoted to Resident Advisor Supervisor and Counselor in 2013.
In 2017, Jackie accepted the position of Program Director. Her positive approach focuses on providing appropriate and specific services, keeping the needs of each individual in mind. She has a passion for helping women in recovery and has her BA, CCTP (Certified Clinical Trauma Professional), her CADC (Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor) and Anger Management Specialist, Level 2. She is currently working towards her Master’s Degree in Clinical Counseling and LCADC.
Babette received her Bachelor of Science degree from the College of Saint Elizabeth. Babette recently joined the Alina Lodge team. She brings with her 25+ years of experience working in the mental health field including eating disorders and substance abuse.She is passionate about the importance of nutrition during recovery, overall good health and for relapse prevention. In addition to seeing students individually she provides monthly nutrition lectures and shares up to date nutrition information to enhance the quality of life of our students.
Jennifer has been a Registered Nurse at Alina Lodge since 2015. She assumed the role of Director of Nursing in 2018. Jennifer brings over 25 years of nursing experience to the Lodge ranging from public health to corporate health.
On a daily basis, Jennifer covers many roles within the nursing department, none more important to her than the health and well-being of each and every student.
Dr. Alexander Kudryk is a graduate from Manhattan College in Biology and St. John’s University in Pharmacy. Dr. Kudryk completed his residency, was Chief Resident and instructor in Internal Medicine at St. Barnabas Internal Medicine Residency Program. Currently, he is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and is active in General Internal Medicine, ICU coverage at Robert Wood Johnson/Barnabas Health/Somerville campus.
Dr. Kudryk is also an Urgent Care Physician for Atlantic Health Group and holds an American Board of Addiction Medicine certification. He has been the Medical Director at Alina Lodge for more than twenty years.
Bill began his Alina Lodge career in 2011 as a Facilitator and decided to pursue a CADC after seeing Students’ lives transformed over the course of their stay in treatment. As part of his internship, Bill also worked at The Center for Prevention and Counseling in Newton, New Jersey. There he was tasked with overseeing their Intensive Outpatient Program as well as providing classroom instruction for the Sussex County Intoxicated Driver Resource Center program, a court-mandated class for DUI offenders. Bill is currently completing the final requirements for CADC licensure.
Bill attended Boston University and is a veteran of the US Air Force. Besides his passion for Recovery, Bill has a love for music performance, and he is delighted to bring musical ensembles to perform at the Lodge for staff and students. Bill’s favorite quote: “The meaning of life is to find your gift, and the purpose of life is to give it away.”
Megan received her BA in 2006 from the University of Mary Washington in Virginia. She received an MA from Montclair State University in 2007 and an MSW from Monmouth University in 2012. Megan is a Licensed Social Worker for the state of New Jersey.
Megan has been a member of the Alina Lodge family for many years, serving as an intern in 2011, and joining the Clinical team full time in January of 2012. Prior to coming to Alina Lodge, Megan was the Senior Case Supervisor for Passaic County Court Appointed Special Advocates.
Gerry is an LCADC (Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor) and the Senior Clinical Advisor to the Clinical Director of Alina Lodge. He brings more than thirty years of counseling experience to the clinical team, the students, and their families. Gerry began his career with Alina Lodge in September of 1983 and most recently served as Clinical Director.
Gerry worked under Geraldine Delaney for many years, learning first-hand the formula of success for addiction treatment that has made the Lodge a leader in treatment for more than 57 years. He passes on the time-honored traditions of Alina Lodge: self-discipline, spirituality, surrender, family education, the 12 steps, and the tincture of time, as well as helping to guide a team of credentialed clinicians with vast experience in addictions and co-occurring issues. Gerry participates in family interventions, educating families in helpful methods that support the recovery process, strengthening and uniting them in this process.
Thérèse is now the Clinical Director at Alina Lodge. She has been a counselor on the women’s team at Alina Lodge since 2014. Thérèse received her Master’s degree in Counseling from Montclair State University in 2013 and holds a post-Master’s certificate in Advanced Counseling from Montclair State University. Before joining Alina lodge, Thérèse completed a year-long internship at New Jersey AIDS Services in Morristown, New Jersey where she worked with HIV/AIDS clients who presented with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. Thérèse is both a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and a Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC) with the state of New Jersey. In addition, she is a Grief Recovery Specialist® and a Nationally Certified Counselor. Thérèse currently facilitates the Grief and Loss, and Sex and Relationship specialty groups offered at Alina Lodge.
Prior to changing careers into the counseling field, Thérèse worked in the investment and securities field for over 20 years in sales, management and compliance, and supervisory roles.
Jaime was raised in El Salvador before moving to Westfield, New Jersey. Jaime has a Bachelors Degree from Rutgers University. He has been in the treatment field for over 20 years and takes pride in helping those who struggle with addiction. In 2017, Jaime was awarded the New Jersey EAP Addiction Professional of the Year award, and has a well-respected name in the industry.
Heather Ferris began working in the mental health field in 1997. She started out at a non-profit psychiatric facility where she was involved in residential services, crisis unit, and detox services. After obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from FAU she assumed the role of case manager where she excelled in working with the dual diagnosis population.
Heather transitioned into the substance abuse field in 2012 where she began her career in referral relations and the admissions aspect of the industry. She has also trained in several models of intervention training and education over the last 8 years and has been a candidate member of the Association of Intervention Specialists since 2012. Heather is currently pursuing her CIP through the Pennsylvania Certification Board.
Mark’s own experience helps foster empathy and trust for reassurance in the early stages of recovery while coaching and mentoring around sensitive subjects. His deep understanding of addiction, sexuality, and the addictive cycle as a whole gives him the ability to understand buried anger, pain, fear and shame, as well as the disruption they bring to every aspect of a person’s daily existence.
Mark brings his expertise to Alina Lodge on a regular basis to work with the men’s community on topics which at the best of times can be hard to discuss even in the most determined relationships.
Caroline Smith holds a Master of Arts degree in Professional Counseling from Ottawa University. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist-Supervisor, and a Certified Multiple Addiction Therapist. Ms.Smith is the Director of Addiction Services at Pine Grove Behavioral Health Women’s Center.
She is EMDR trained and holds clinical expertise in the areas of trauma resolution, relationship attachment patterns, addiction interaction disorder, and the two most primary process addictions, food and sex. Caroline Smith brings her expertise to Alina Lodge on a regular basis to work with our women’s community.