Hilltop Lutheran Neighborhood Center



Earth and Green

“Earth and Green” was the theme at the Hilltop Lutheran Neighborhood Center during the month of May with an emphasis on recycling, living seas, and into the wild!

Center Youth Services Coordinator, Teresa Allen tells us it was a great learning experience for the children.

“We learned that recycling reduced the amount of waste that filled our Landfills. Reducing the amount of paper waste helped to save our trees, and reusing certain items help to curve consumer spending which also leads to greater landfill waste. We emphasized,” Teresa conLnued, “how important recycling is, by making a poster that required us, to separate recycling items from non-recyclable items. This exercise showed how individually we can help to leave a smaller imprint on Mother Earth.”

For “Living Seas,” Teresa says the children learned about sea creatures. “We studied the Crab, Sea Turtle, Starfish, SLngray, and the great White Shark. We learned how many species of Crabs there are (4,500), where Sea Turtles like to lay their eggs, that starfish really aren’t fish at all, SLngray are related to sharks and do not have bones, and Great White Sharks can jump out of the water while chasing prey.” Then, “each student chose what sea creature they wanted to do a poster on and highlighted different facts about the sea creature they chose on their poster.”

Finally, Teresa explained that the kids learned about the wild! “We learned there is a difference between a Rainforest and a Jungle. Not only are the animals different in a Rainforest and a Jungle, but the atmosphere is different: the rainforest is wet and humid while the Jungle is dry and humid. Youth participated in cooking activities like “smore pops” and ‘dirt cups.’ Youth were excited to eat their culinary creations.”

With the end of the school year fast-approaching, May was also a time for celebration and recognition. Center Deputy Director, Brandon Furrowh, says it all started “with Staff."

Appreciation Week, a week-long series of snacks, gifts, and meals to thank our teachers for all of their hard work and dedication to the organization. Following, we celebrated our Hilltop mothers for Mother’s Day with Muffins with Moms. This event engaged mothers, grandmothers, and aunts in a light breakfast and quality time with their Hilltop student in a fun activity.”

The end of the school year also means advancement for our preschoolers. Center Executive Director, Michelle Williams tells us “the preschoolers visited kindergarten classrooms at Lewis Elementary on May 10th . They were so excited! They sang a song in the music wellness class and saw some of the students in the music, gym, art rooms. They also toured the cafeteria and were able to see how the lunch line works.

Here's to a great summer!

Eric F. Mease Member, Board of Directors Hilltop Lutheran Neighborhood Center

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