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

RheaMcVicker

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 2021

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".

JamesFelts

James Felts

Program Coordinator
James is a person in long term recovery and became our Program Coordinator in June of 2022 after being our Program Tech in 2021. He has an amazing ability to relate to Our Guys and motivate them to continue progressing. James brings a hard working attitude along with his passion for those new to recovery. He is currently taking classes to become a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (CPRS). James worked as an installation mechanic for The Overhead Door Company of Washington DC before transitioning to a Local 100 Sheet Metal Union worker. 
 
He lives in Beltsville with his girlfriend, Lauren. They have 2 cats: Hansel & Gretel. He enjoys fishing, hiking, anything outdoors, and creating art. Most recently he began making spray paint art on canvas. 
ArronHall

Arron Hall

Weeknight Manager
Arron has been involved with Nick's Place for over 10 years and has been working with us since 2016. He is a person in long term recovery who is great at connecting with all of Our Guys. Arron is a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (CPRS) and a Registered Peer Supervisor (RPS). He began working at Nick's Place as a Weekend Manager and, since April 2021, is our Weeknight Manager. He has a strong ability to meet Our Guys where they are at emotionally, spiritually, and mentally while guiding them towards positive growth. 
 
He lives in Germantown with his girlfriend, Tasha. They have 3 cats: Mozart, Gabriel, and Mr.. He loves camping, kayak fishing, and working with tools in a number of ways through DIY projects. He is a foodie who loves to eat and cook. He also enjoys video games and rainy days.
Nick Silva

Nick Silva

Technology 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 is currently in school for Simulation and Game Design. His experience living in the house gives him an amazing ability to relate to Our Guys and he is currently taking classes to become a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (CPRS). 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. 

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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!