About Us

At Nick’s Place, we save lives. Our structured Recovery Residence provides young men ages 20-26 with a safe, sober, and affordable home with life-management programs to support their recovery from the disease of addiction.

Nick's Story

The Nick of Nicks Place

Nick’s Place was founded in 1999 in memory of Nicholas Cristarella. Nick loved to make people laugh. As a child he loved dinosaurs and natural disaster stories. He was a good dancer and was popular with the girls. His favorite holiday was Thanksgiving when he could play games with his cousins. He loved his family and felt bad about the heartache his disease caused. Although Nick went through several treatment programs, he was never able to maintain recovery for any length of time. Nick’s life ended as a result of the disease of addiction and alcoholism. Like so many young people he struggled with his addiction from his early teen years until his death at age 22. Nick’s Place is in his honor… to help other young men in their journey through recovery from this disease.

A Message From: Rhea McVicker, Nick's Mom, Founder, & Board President

After Nick’s last treatment he decided to go to a halfway house. Although I wasn’t sure what to expect, it was something he felt he had to do if he was ever going to “get” recovery. One complaint he had was that there was no one there his age. After his death, I literally prayed for meaning for his life and my own. Remembering his words, the vision was created: bringing young men together who all have the same goal. My husband, Barry embarked on finding the home that would lovingly be known as Nick’s Place.

We opened our doors in October of 2000 and have since served over 250 young men and their families. My husband, Barry, and I continue to be enthusiastic about Nick’s Place and feel great joy seeing the progress that our alumni have made: getting married, having children, building careers, and giving back to the community. These young men are family. I would always tell residents and parents about Nick, his struggles, and ours, so that they understand that we have lived their lives and shared their fears. It is important for them to know that, even though their child is struggling now, there is hope for a happier, healthier life.

We encourage them not to give up hope.

Nick’s Place is now in the hands of our Executive Director and Alumnus, Andrew Malone who does an outstanding job of maintaining the original vision and expanding the program to best serve our residents.

Being able to provide a clean, safe, drug- and alcohol-free home to these young men is a blessing. It was certainly not without its challenges, but the rewards are worth it. Barry and I remain grateful that Nick’s life and death have provided so much opportunity to the lives of other young men.

Our Team

Rhea McVicker

Rhea McVicker

Founder, Board President, & Nick's Mom

Rhea served as Executive Director of Nick’s Place for 19 years. Her education, knowledge, and experience working with young men in early recovery helps Nick’s Place deliver a quality home and service to its young residents. Rhea is active in guiding the staff and board to continue our mission.

Rhea also has over 20 years of experience in direct mail fundraising and database management sales. While employed with Merkle, she served as an Account Executive for some of the country’s largest charitable organizations.

In 2014, Rhea addressed the local National Alliance on Mentally Illness (NAMI) on the topic of young adults in recovery and co-authored an article for the Addiction Professional on-line publication on the same topic. In 2010 Rhea was awarded the Bank of America local hero award for her service to the community.

Rhea is partially retired and enjoys swimming, golfing, billiards, yoga, and meditation. Rhea and Barry have recently adopted Bruno, who is the cutest little dog you have ever seen. All three of them enjoy walks together and doggy dates with his puppy posse from the neighborhood.

Barry McVicker

Barry McVicker

Founder and Board Member

Barry is the co-founder of Nick's Place. He played an integral role in securing the house that became home to hundreds of young men.

Barry worked for the Washington Post as a printer for 30 years. He retired shortly before Nick's Place opened and was chauffeur, job seeker, cook and mentor for many of our early residents. Both he and Rhea were daily fixtures at Nick's Place for 18 years.

To this day nothing makes him happier than to hear from and hear about the lives of our residents.

Barry enjoys playing golf and pool in his community in Delaware.


Andrew Malone

Executive Director

Andrew is a person in long term recovery and former resident of Nick’s Place. He is a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (CPRS) and a Registered Peer Supervisor (RPS). Andrew began with Nick’s Place as the Program Coordinator in 2014, advanced to Program Director, and in 2019, he took on the role of Executive Director. He is responsible for all day-to-day organizational administrative responsibilities including staff management, financial responsibility, and oversight of the programs. He brings strong administrative skills from his previous position at The Overhead Door Company of Washington DC and has a deep understanding of our program through his personal experience and involvement since 2007.

He embraces recovery and always puts Our Guys first. Andrew has an amazing ability to find out “What’s really going on?” with our residents, and help them find the solution that best fits their needs. His patience, empathy, and compassion to help others truly shows in his daily interactions with residents and staff. 

Andrew lives in Crofton with his wife Cristen and two daughters; Mila Jae and Trinity. He loves playing disc golf, ice skating, and drinking soda pop (Pepsi Cola or Coca-Cola Classic). Family is a cornerstone in Andrew's life. They enjoy going to the pool, hikes, family parties, and hanging out with other families in their neighborhood. 

He believes that the Scion tC is the best car ever, but it has to be "stick shift".


Tyler Bushey

Program Coordinator

Tyler, a former resident of Nick’s Place and person in long term recovery, began his recovery journey in 2014. Having first hand experience living at Nick’s Place, combined with his knowledge and drive for recovery, Tyler brings the amazing ability to connect with and encourage Our Guys. He joined our team in July, 2023 and is currently taking classes to become a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (CPRS). Tyler previously worked in sales and as a garage door install mechanic. 

He has a dog named Bebe and enjoys playing video and board games with other alumni and recovery friends. Tyler also enjoys working out, practicing jiu jitsu, and going to concerts, especially Coheed & Cambria.

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Michelle Shaivitz

Chief Advancement Officer

Dr. Michelle Shaivitz is an achiever in every sense of the word. A non-profit Executive, national speaker, author, and community activist, she attacks any problem in life with passion.

She is a Doctor with more than 20 years of experience in education, non-profit, and organizational leadership. Dr. Shaivitz has a long history of working to improve the lives of others.  

She has embraced leadership roles, both foreign and domestic, in the public and private sectors, winning the coveted Medal of Achievement for Civilian Service, a Commander's Award given by the Department of the Army.  

Michelle lives in Maryland and is a wife and mother of two. She is a lover of all animals, good food, great coffee, and all things recovery!

Nick Silva

Nick Silva

Development Coordinator

Nick is a former resident of Nick's Place and joined the team in January 2021. As a person in long term recovery, he brings a passion for working with young men and a strong background in technology. Nick has studied mathematics and earned his Bachelors of Science in Simulation and Game Design from the University of Baltimore. His experience living in the house gives him an amazing ability to relate to Our Guys. Nick was a Project Manager at The Overhead Door Company of Washington DC before transitioning to a Sales Representative position in the food industry.

He lives in Gambrills with his girlfriend, Alyse. They have three cats: Luna, Lydia, and Charlie. He enjoys playing video games with several alumni of Nick's Place, photography, digital art, and recently began painting. 

Joey F

Joey Ford

Weeknight Manager

Joey started his recovery journey at Nick’s Place in 2015, staying for a full year, and has been in long-term recovery ever since. He began working as a weekend manager and has been promoted to weeknight manager in January 2024. His knowledge of recovery and first hand experience in the house gives him an excellent ability to meet our guys where they are at. When not working with us he works as a city employee for the Laurel Parks & Recreation Department.

He loves playing guitar, making music, getting tattoos, hiking, skateboarding, and concerts, especially if it's The Black Dahlia Murder. Joey enjoys playing video games, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Magic: The Gathering, & board games with alumni and other recovery friends. He lives in Elkridge with his two cats; Dahlia and Lilith.


Jase Friedman


Jase, a former resident of Nick’s Place has been working as our chef since March 2023. He started his long term recovery journey in 2007. While he is cooking he takes the time to teach Our Guys about cooking and safe practices in the kitchen. Oh, and his food is amazing!

He has experience working as a park ranger, state certified in search and rescue operations, as well as having first aid, CPR, and AED certifications. Also, he is studying beginner mycology and is an intermediate forager. 

Jase recently bought his first house in Columbia, MD and lives with his cat, Mika. He embraces the outdoors, regularly hiking and snowboarding. When he's not out exploring he likes to relax with video or board games and trying new fine dining restaurants.

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Jon Sweeney

Weekend Manager

Jon was a Nick’s Place resident beginning in 2017 and has been on his recovery journey ever since. His road started out bumpy, but through continuing in the program Jon was able to realize that life was getting better. Jon works in the  landscaping field where he recently got promoted to be a manager. He has been working weekends for us since February, 2020. 

Jon enjoys watching TV, playing with his Meta Quest VR Headset, and playing softball. He got married in 2021 to his now wife, Crystal. They bought a house in Anne Arundel County with their two kids; Eternity “TT” & Heaven. Oh, and they have two cats; Oreo & Shadow.

Josh M

Josh MacGillis

Weekend Manager

Josh began working with us in March, 2019 after beginning his long-term recovery journey in November of 2016. He has experience living in a recovery house that helps him connect with and relate to Our Guys. When not working at Nick’s Place, Josh is a branch manager for a garage door company. 

In his free time, Josh enjoys playing the guitar, riding roller coasters, hunting, hiking, and spending time with his friends and family. Josh is first aid, CPR, and AED certified. He bought his first home with his wife, Emily, in Dillsburg, PA on a secluded 5.5 acres of land. They have two cats; Bonzai & TiLi. 

Josh loves being able to do his part in helping Our Guys achieve their goals in recovery.