Catherine Sullivan-DeCarlo, Vice President of Admissions and Marketing, had a column published in the October/November edition of Insights, the newsletter for Independent Educational Consultants. Her article is entitled, “Building Blocks to Independent Living for Young Adults with Special Needs.” To read the story, click HERE: IECA_Insights-Oct-Nov-2011
As the new coordinator of Chapel Haven’s Best Buddies program, EmilyAnne Westman is in a position to advocate from the heart. First, EmilyAnne chose to attend Southern Connecticut State University because they had a Best Buddies chapter. She quickly signed up and found time whizzed by when she was with her buddy because, “You’re in the moment having fun,” she said. “You learn so much about the people and building a friendship… It really is just like any other friendship,” she said.
Best Buddies is an international nonprofit organization that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Chapel Haven has the largest chapter in the state and the sixth largest in the country. “It gives the students an opportunity to meet friends outside Chapel Haven,” said Michael Verzella, Supervisor of Recreation and Operations. “It expands their social opportunities.” As in any friendship the pairs choose what they want to do — it may be a movie, dinner, play, sporting event or a hike, They also have the opportunity to get together every Wednesday evening for an organized event at Chapel Haven. The friends are matched through mutual interests. “It really opens your eyes about capabilities — you can’t put a price tag on it,” Michael said.
Chapel Haven resident Lauren Meltzer has a beautiful way of describing the friendship that emerged between herself and Amanda Wright, a former Southern Connecticut State University student. “She’s special right here,” Lauren said of Amanda, putting her hand over her heart. “If I was having an off day she always put a smile on my face. No one can replace the bond that we share.” Lauren said Amanda attended her Special Olympics competition and even met her family. Continue reading
James Trimble is passionately dedicated to helping others and campaigning for his peers to do the same. So, it’s no wonder that his Musical Tribute for the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and the victims of Hurricane Irene came off with such heart and success. As part of the night of reflection he held for the Chapel Haven community, James also took the opportunity to collect non-perishables for Connecticut Food Bank,
His efforts paid off. James and the Chapel Haven community donated 126 pounds of food to Connecticut Food Bank, along with $40, as a result of the 911 Tribute.
James has been doing great things since high school where he got the helping spirit as part of the Leo Club, a high school version of the Lion’s Club and the group Friends Helping Friends. “Students need to make a difference after graduating,” from high school, James said. “It’s not just hurricane season or holidays — it’s every day throughout your whole life.” After coming to New Haven, James landed an internship at Connecticut Food Bank, where he got see up close the need for food in the community. He also volunteered with the New Haven Symphony and assisted in collecting food as part of a benefit concert they held for victims of Hurricane Katrina. At the recent benefit/tribute held at Chapel Haven, dozens of residents quietly reflected as James played CDs of music he describes as “patriotic and sacred.” As residents watched — some with bowed heads and some standing along with him as a sign of respect to victims of both 9/11 and Hurricane Irene, James sang along with facial expressions that aptly reflected the depth of the lyrics. His carefully chosen musical lineup included two versions of the National Anthem, God Bless America, Ave Maria, Amazing Grace, Bridge Over Troubled Water and one of his favorite new songs, “The Prayer” by Celine Dion and Josh Groban.
Many families have found the REACH summer program an ideal stepping stone toward independent living for individuals with developmental or autism spectrum disabilities.
Chapel Haven’s REACH program focuses on life skills, functional academics, recreational/social development and early vocational skills. Students accepted into the summer residential program have the chance to live in an on-campus apartment, surrounded by new friends, along with the support and instructional guidance of Residential Life Skills instructors and Special Education teachers.
Students follow a schedule of functional academic classes, where they are learning how to budget money, grocery shop, clean their apartments and cook with their peers in a structured and staff-supported setting. Life skills takes place Sundays through Thursdays with the help of instructors, giving our students a chance to practice what they have learned in an authentic apartment setting.
Recreational activities and social skill-building outings include chaperoned trips to Six Flags theme park, baseball games, barbecues, hikes, shopping, movies and a day at the beach at a Chapel Haven beach cottage on Long Island Sound. Access to amenities at the Chapel Haven campus include a computer lab, digital media lab, ceramics studio, fitness center, basketball court and many fun activities such as DJ dances and Karaoke Night in Residential Life Skills.
A campus interview, visit and intake materials are required prior to admission. For more information, click here REACH summer flyer 2011 and call us at (203) 397-1714, ext. 148. Or send an email of inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chapel Haven, founded in 1972, is a nationally accredited, transitional life skills program and state approved by the CT Dept. of Education. Summer students often matriculate into our two year residential program.