Hilltop Lutheran Neighborhood Center


February 2024

Hilltop Lutheran Neighborhood Center’s Annual Report 2023

2023 was a year of success for Hilltop Lutheran Neighborhood Center. We were able to maintain enrollment, retain and hire new staff, increase pay and provide bonuses for staff. We also provided bonuses for staff who retired with 20 years or more of service again this year. We began a capital improvement campaign to provide additional classrooms, meetings spaces and a full-size gym. Several staff enrolled in higher education through The Early Childhood Innovation Center (ECIC) program at Delaware State University. 

The Reverend Clarence and Helen Pettit Scholarship Program continued to thrive. Three recipients received scholarships totaling $5,000. Kiah Spinks, a former Hilltop participant, became a judge in Virginia. Dr. Daman Harris, former Hilltop participant, wrote a book and is scheduled to have a book signing at Hilltop in March 2024. Our deputy director was named the Community Father of the Year by Every Man Counts Foundation. Our executive director successfully defended her dissertation.

Health and mental health were big topics at Hilltop in 2023. A certified clinical health coach and a licensed massage therapist were brought in bi-weekly for staff. A wellness room was created for staff and families. Mental health was also incorporated for our early childhood education participants. This was done through a Music, Movement, and Mindfulness program that was instructed to give children the tools to handle BIG emotions.

We would not have been able to achieve the 2023 successes without the ongoing and increased support received from various donors and sponsors. The State of Delaware through Purchase of Care, Department of Education - State Funded Early Care and Education (formerly known as ECAP), New Directions Early Head Start (University of Delaware) and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) continued to be major contributors to agency operations. Our long-standing partnerships with New Directions Early Head Start (NDEHS) and the Department of Education- State Funded Early Care and Education (formerly known as ECAP), allowed us to continue providing comprehensive services to participants from infant to five years old and their families. Funding from the United Way of Delaware and Grant in Aid continued to support and enhance our after-school and evening programs and services for youth. Programs included literacy, free haircuts, DJ workshops, cooking and percussion classes and Vacation Bible School. 

Funding from the Lutheran churches continued to enable us to provide medical benefits for full-time staff and assistance to families in need. Lutheran church members provided more than 300 Thanksgiving baskets for Hilltop staff, families, and greater community, as well as Christmas gifts for all Hilltop participants. Funding from Herb and Marie Bollman continued to be vital to programming offered at Hilltop in 2023.   

We look forward to continued success in 2024. 


Michelle J. Williams, Ph.D.

Executive Director

Looking Ahead to Thanksgiving