A consulting team from Chapel Haven, which included Michael Storz, President, and Virginia Hodge, Chapel Haven’s Vice President of Autism Spectrum Programs, spent a year helping the agency understand the “intricate nature of Asperger’s and the challenges young adults often face as they transition into adulthood.”
The agency credited Chapel Haven with helping to grow the AACES (Asperger’s Awareness, Community Education and Support) program from a single service socialization program, serving 25 individuals, to “a comprehensive program with four additional components focused on employment, post-secondary education, parent support and life skills instruction.” The program has grown to serve 125 individuals.
Staffers remarked that the staff trainings provided by Chapel Haven were invaluable. “As an old timer in the field of mental health, but a newcomer to the Asperger’s world, I found the support offered by the Chapel Haven team to be invaluable. The training sessions provided a foundation for understanding the major issues of Asperger’s, including: theory of mind, emotional regulation, executive functioning, communication differences and sensory integration. Ginny and Mike enriched me both professionally and personally and I am grateful for their efforts.” Continue reading
Chapel Haven West Voices Class
Chapel Haven West students are pitching in to make Tucson a better place! Students who are involved in the Chapel Haven West Voices class are active on committees which work to better the lives of those who are involved with Chapel Haven West and the Tucson community. Student committees have planned several upcoming volunteer opportunities, including a canned food drive, a car wash to benefit a local preschool, working at a soup kitchen, and a toy drive for the holidays. Other committee members are planning monthly birthday parties, researching fun things to do in the community, and identifying ways to improve the CHW campus. While working on the various committees, students are also learning strategies for being an active team member, the theories behind democratic decision-making, self-advocacy skills, how to understand the need for compromise, and time management skills. Keep up the great work, Chapel Haven West Voices!
Strengthening Ties with Tucson Employers
Chapel Haven West Vocation Coordinator Jessica Puls has been busy recruiting community partners who are providing various opportunities for the students and community members in Tucson. Since taking the reins as Vocation Coordinator, Jessica has strengthened existing relationships with Tucson employers, and has secured several new opportunities in the Tucson market. Students and community members are currently gaining experience and practicing vocational readiness with these Tucson partners:
- Monterey Court
- B&B Automotive
- Outer Limits Preschool
- One Stop Pet and Feed
- Home Depot
- Outback Steakhouse
- Trader Joe’s
- AMC Loews Theater
- Luoma CPA
- JW Marriott Golf Pro Shop
- Reid Park Zoo
- Postal Museum Continue reading
Carolyn Gorman, coordinator of post secondary and career education for the Aspeger Syndrome Adult Transition (ASAT) program, offered a class this fall that turned out to be one of the most popular career classes for students.
Entitled “Tales from the Trenches,” this Wednesday afternoon class brought guest speakers into the classroom to talk about their first jobs and the paths they took to their eventual vocations. Some students signed up thinking the class might be about video games or World War II history but they weren’t disappointed when they discovered what it was really all about. Even students who did not enroll in the class dropped by as more guest speakers came in to talk about their first jobs and how they settled on their eventual career paths.
“It was one of the best career classes I’ve been a part of just because the students were actively involved and interested,” said Carolyn. “They took it seriously and I felt they really did get a real-world understanding of things like balancing the need for a paycheck against loftier career goals. They really got the difference between having a job and creating a long term career plan.” Continue reading
Chapel Haven’s annual Bowl-a-thon was a wonderful success! On October 13th we took over Amity Family Bowl in Woodbridge with over 130 bowlers consisting of Chapel Haven students and community members, along with their families, and our staff. We also had a large crowd of spectators cheering on everyone. Throughout the event, participants had the chance to win some wonderful raffle prizes from various pieces of jewelry, to an Xbox 360, to different themed baskets donated by Chapel Haven departments. Through the efforts of all the participants and donors, the Bowl-a-thon raised over $23,000! This money will go to the David Poole Scholarship Fund and technological improvements around Chapel Haven. The day ended with a barbecue and dance at Chapel Haven. It was a fun-filled day enjoyed by everyone who participated! Special thanks goes to Chapel Haven parents Mary Doherty and Shelley Hartz, who spearheaded this fundraiser. Click here to see a photo album from the day:
Photo album, Bowlathon, barbecue and dance
Best Buddies: Chapel Haven’s Best Buddies program is in full swing! We have over 80 Chapel Haven students and community members who have been paired with a Southern Connecticut State University student. They meet each week for Best Buddies’ night at Chapel Haven, and they talk on the phone and exchange emails on a regular basis. This program will continue throughout the college year. Read Continue reading
When the staff at Chapel Haven needs an IT guy to troubleshoot a computer problem, they don’t have far to go. “If there’s an emergency, I’m just up the street,” said Josh Liebeskind, a 2010 graduate of Chapel Haven’s Asperger Syndrome Adult Transition (ASAT) program and now a part-time employee at Chapel Haven who sets up staff accounts, new computers and solves any IT-related problems. “If I fix something quickly they’re amazed. I don’t think it’s that hard,” Josh said.
Josh is among the successful graduates of ASAT who are living independently and succeeding in the workplace. Six years into the program, the ASAT program’s effectiveness is evident in the graduates who choose to stay on, move into the New Haven community, continue on with college studies and work, and enjoy an adult community of friends and peers.
Zach Delman, another program graduate, has found a niche these last four years working as a surveyist at the renowned Quinnipiac Polling Institute in Hamden. Zach, who brings strong reading skills and good manners to the job, is the guy who calls to ask Connecticut residents questions on a variety of topics that, in recent months, have been all about the U.S. Senate and presidential races.
“It keeps me busy. It gives me something to do,” he said, adding, that he enjoys the staff and his co-workers. The job also motivates Zach to stay on top of current issues. “I’m really catching up on politics,” he said of the polling season. Continue reading
Project SEARCH: New Employment Initiative
Chapel Haven is in its second year with Project SEARCH, a national one-year, high school transition program for students with disabilities that provides training and education with the goal of obtaining competitive employment. The program was developed at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in 1994.
“Our partnership with Yale-New Haven Hospital is helping Chapel Haven adults gain real-life work experience and training at the hospital for an extensive period,” said Michael Storz, President of Chapel Haven.
Storz credited Michael Dimenstein, who serves on Chapel Haven’s board and is Vice President of System Compensation and Benefits at Yale-New Haven Health System, and several others with bringing the new partnership to fruition.