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Chapel Haven receives prestigious 2015 Workplace Wellness Award

Chapel Haven is already known as a happy place for its employers and the adults we serve. Our staff turnover rate is an enviable 6 percent in a field where the rate is often 50 percent or higher, meaning staff like what they are doing and they stay with it!

wellness glass awardBut things have gotten even better with a Chapel Haven Wellness program implemented by fitness-minded President Michael Storz and recognized statewide with the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce’s 2015 Workplace Wellness Award. Along with Easter Seals, Elim Park and Shubert Theatre, Chapel Haven was recognized by the chamber’s Health Care Council June 9 during a packed ceremony at Masonicare in Wallingford. Read more below about all we are doing on our campus. Continue reading

Chapel Haven to participate in CT Open

The 2015 CT Tennis Open is coming Aug. 21-29 and will feature some of the biggest stars in women’s tennis, along with food, activities and…Chapel Haven!

Chapel Haven is a tournament sponsor. Stop by our booth during the open to win some cool giveaways and learn more about our award-winning agency. Also, book your tickets now for the 7th Annual Adaptive Tennis Day at the CT OpeCT Open 50/50 Projectn, a day of fun and activities, including the chance to meet professional tennis players, frolic in the Aetna Fitzone and experience world-class tennis matches. More details below!

In addition, you can buy your tournament tickets and support Chapel Haven. You can catch all the excitement and help raise money for Chapel Haven by purchasing tickets for the 2015 Connecticut Open and 50% of your total net purchase will go back to Chapel Haven. It’s that easy!

How to purchase your tickets:

Visit www.ctopen.org and select daily tickets from the Tickets and Travel drop down menu.

Select your session of choice and enter code CO15CH. You must use this code in order for Chapel Haven to receive 50% of your order.

To purchase your tickets by phone or for questions, please contact Jessica Malinconico at (203) 776-7331, ext. 5872.

About the 7th Annual Adaptive Tennis Day, Wednesday, Aug. 26:

Chapel Haven parent and tennis instructor-extraordinaire Jerry Weil will lead an adaptive tennis clinic in the Aetna FitZone on Aug. 26 at the CT Open.

Chapel Haven parent and tennis instructor-extraordinaire Jerry Weil will lead an adaptive tennis clinic in the Aetna FitZone on Aug. 26 at the CT Open.

Chapel Haven will host a booth at the tennis open and is also a sponsor of the 7th Annual Adaptive Tennis Day at the CT Open on Wednesday, Aug. 26, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Gates open at 11 a.m. and the event will include an Adaptive Tennis Clinic in the Aetna Fitzone facilitated by our own Chapel Haven parent and tennis instructor par-excellence Jerry Weil! The day also includes a private meet-and-greet session with a women’s tour player, wheelchair exhibition matches in grandstand, a Connecticut Hornets Found Robin wheelchair tennis match ad fun activities in the Aena Fitzone. Stop by the Chapel Haven booth during the CT Open to win some neat give-aways and to learn more about our award-winning agency!

Tickets to the Adaptive Tennis Day are only $18 for juniors and $35 for adults. For more information, call Christie Cole at CT Open, (203) 776-7331 ext. 5811 or ccole@ctopen.org.



Bowl-A-Thon Set for Oct. 17, 2015

bowlathon-boys-2-2Chapel Haven’s Annual Bowl-a-Thon is set for Saturday, Oct, 17, 2015, 1-4 p.m. at  Amity Family Bowl in Woodbridge, CT.

This popular event typically raises in excess of $30,000, with proceeds benefiting various campus projects.  Participants have the chance to bid on a host of raffle prizes (from themed baskets to overnight hotel stays) at the event.

Bowlathon trioIt’s not too early to practice your bowling and to help Chapel Haven think up enticing raffle prizes! Get a team together and plan to participate in one of the most fun events of the year.

For more information, contact Michael Verzella, Director of Recreation, at (203) 397-1714, ext. 129, or mverzella@chapelhaven.org.

Chapel Haven mourns passing of founder


Jerry and Eva Rossman helped to launch Chapel Haven in 1972. Their son, Pete Rossman, attended Chapel Haven for many years.


Jerome I. Rossman, Jr., 88 years old, formerly of Scarsdale and Purchase, New York, passed away peacefully at his home in Jupiter, Florida on Wednesday, July 8, 2015, surrounded by his family.

Jerry proudly served his country in the U. S. Marine Corps. He was a truly kind man who had many significant friendships in all aspects of his life, and will be remembered dearly by all for his keen sense of humor, his loyalty and his love of family.

Jerry dedicated his life to furthering education and independence for individuals who learn differently. He served as Chairman of the Board of The Maplebrook School in Amenia, NY which focuses on quality academic programs for youngsters with learning differences.  Maplebrook provides individualized instruction, where students are assisted in reaching his/her academic, social, vocational and physical potential.  Jerry and his wife, Eva, were deeply involved with Maplebrook and the Maplebrook “Parents Association” for many years, which their son, Peter, attended.

As Peter was graduating from Maplebrook, Jerry and two other Maplebrook parents founded Chapel Haven, with the vision to establish an independent living facility in New Haven, CT providing lifelong individualized services for people with developmental and social disabilities, empowering them to live independent and self-determined lives.  Jerry’s devotion and determination paid off. Today, Chapel Haven is an award-winning, nationally accredited school and transitional program serving 250-plus adults with a variety of abilities and needs. Chapel Haven teaches independent living.

Jerry Rossman family photo

Jerry, surrounded by his loving family, in Florida.

Jerry is survived by his loving wife of over 60 years, Eva; his adoring children, Peter Rossman, Karen Fleck and Bryan Fleck, husband of Karen. He was  predeceased by his parents, Jerome and Alva Rossman and his sisters, Florence Asch and Barbara Engel.

A memorial service will be held at a later date at Maplebrook School.

Chapel Haven President Michael Storz said, “On a personal level, I am very saddened. Jerry was an incredible friend and champion of state-of-the-art programming for our population. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Jerry and his family for their tireless work and incredible vision in cofounding the agency we all know and love today. Our deepest condolences go out to his family.”

Memorial donations in Jerry’s name may be made to Maplebrook School www.maplebrookschool.org or Chapel Haven www.chapelhaven.org.





Golf logo 2

Chapel Haven is proud to announce its first annual Chapel Haven Golf Classic, presented by Yale-New Haven Hospital and Alexion, at the prestigious New Haven Country Club in Hamden, CT on Tuesday, September 29, 2015.
The tournament begins at 1 p.m. and will offer a day of golf and a celebratory dinner at the New Haven Country Club, 160 Hartford Turnpike, Hamden, CT.

Chapel Haven parents Peggy and John Baker challenged Chapel Haven President Michael Storz to a game of golf at the New Haven Country Club. They had a great time and Peggy, who is spearheading the September 29 Chapel Haven Golf Classic, can't wait to see you all out on the links!

Chapel Haven parents Peggy and John Baker challenged Chapel Haven President Michael Storz to a game of golf at the New Haven Country Club. They had a great time and Peggy, who is spearheading the September 29 Chapel Haven Golf Classic, can’t wait to see you all out on the links!

For ticket information or to become a sponsor, please contact Ms. Peggy Baker, (203) 217-4691. Participants may sign up for a golf foursome, may join Chapel Haven for the dinner only, or may choose to invest Log onto www.chapelhaven.org to find out more about the tournament. Click Chapel Haven Golf Classic to see the tournament brochure.
Chapel Haven President Michael Storz credited parent Peggy Baker for laying the groundwork for the tournament. “We have more than 40 corporate and business partners in Greater New Haven who fully support our mission of providing services to adults with disabilities,” Storz said. “The purpose of the golf classic is to not only celebrate our wonderful track record with current businesses, but to attract and engage even more New Haven-based businesses who may want to support what we do.”

“We are excited that Yale-New Haven Hospital and Alexion Pharmaceuticals will be honored as co-presenting sponsors,” Storz noted. “We sought both organizations out as our top sponsors because they have been model partners to Chapel Haven, and we believe their investment in our adults paves the way for other businesses to follow suit.”
Yale-New Haven Hospital partnered with Chapel Haven in 2013 to host the first Project SEARCH location in the state. Project SEARCH is a national one-year, high school transition program for students with disabilities that provides training and education with the goal of obtaining competitive employment. Through Project SEARCH, Chapel Haven participants spend a year rotating through different YNHH departments, trying their hands at a variety of roles. The goal is to help clients gain job skills, learn to work in a team, understand the rules of a workplace and be better positioned to move into paid employment. They work five hours a day and gain several hours more of classroom instruction, all at the hospital.

Alexion partnered with Chapel Haven to employ a young man who graduated from Chapel Haven’s Asperger Syndrome Adult Transition program in a full-time, human resources auditor position.

Founded in 1972, Chapel Haven is a nationally accredited transitional living program and approved private special education school founded in 1972 in New Haven, Connecticut, with a mission of teaching adults with cognitive disabilities and social disabilities to live independent and productive lives. Chapel Haven has grown to serve more than 250 adults (18 years of age and older) in the residence and the community with three distinct programs; REACH, Asperger’s Syndrome Adult Transition (ASAT), and Chapel Haven West (Tucson, AZ).

Chapel Haven Excelled at CT Special Olympics Regional Games

So regional games 8Chapel Haven did an outstanding job in CT Special Olympics track and field and swimming.

The Regional Games were held at Weston High School.

Recreation Supervisor Michael Verzella said Chapel Haven athletes did an excellent job in all competitions. He also extended a big thanks to the coaches and volunteers who turned out to help with the event.

so regional games 10

SO regional games 2So regional games 9

Check out more photos on Chapel Haven’s Facebook page!

Chapel Haven joins with Yale in marking World Autism Awareness Day

On April 2, Chapel Haven joined thousands of groups across the world in recognizing World Autism Awareness Day.

Chapel Haven joined with Yale University’s undergrad group, Yale for Autism Awareness (YFAA), to create and display artwork commemorating World Autism Awareness Day on the campus of Yale, in the rotunda of Woolsey Hall.

That evening, Yale lit Harkness Tower in blue lights to continue raising awareness.

More-art-300x225On March 24, over 50 students from Yale and Chapel Haven gathered together at the Chapel Haven campus, under the guidance of Chapel Haven art teacher Tina Menchetti, to create the artwork that was on view in Woolsey. After being displayed for the day, the art will be moved to the Joseph Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale, 80 Wall St., where it will remain for the rest of the month.
During the evening, world-renowned autism expert Dr. Fred Volkmar, the Irving B. Harris Professor of Child Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Psychology at the Yale Child Study Center, led a discussion over dinner in the Berkeley College Fellows Lounge aimed at explaining what autism is, current research in the field, and successful intervention techniques, according to a press release by Yale. Dr Volkmar serves on the advisory board of Chapel Haven’s Asperger Syndrome Adult Transition program.

two-faces-300x225Click here to see more press about the day. Chapel Haven’s art exhibit moves next to Yale’s Slifka Center for display for the remainder of the month of April.

Why Chapel Haven puts such a focus on social communicative competency

Sarah Davison, SLP, Asperger Syndrome Adult Transition program

Sarah Davison, SLP, Asperger Syndrome Adult Transition program

In attempting to build independent lives, a major stumbling block for many young adults with Asperger Syndrome, high functioning autism, or other social disability is a lack of confidence, or competence, in their ability to navigate the world socially.

Chapel Haven’s speech-language pathologists, including Sarah Davison and Ryan Shoemaker, talk in this article about why Social Communicative Competency is such a building block for success in the adult world.

“Social communicative competency (SCC) is at the core of the disability for students with As-perger’s,” notes Virginia Hodge, Executive Vice President of Autism Programs at Chapel Haven, and a certified speech/language pathologist. “A student who can’t cook dinner can still get take-out food. But a student who can’t interact socially will see an effect in every part of his or her life.”

Instruction and coaching in social communicative competency can help students learn how to in-terpret facial expressions and gestures, engage in reciprocal conversations, and appreciate another per-son’s point of view. Students can learn, through role-playing, videotaping, and continual practice, how to pick up the phone to make social plans, call a professor to arrange for extra help, or interview for a job effectively. Students can learn to modulate speech clarity, speed, phrasing, the correct use of for-mal and informal language, figurative language, and irony and then take those skills out into the real world.

Speech-language pathologist Ryan Shoemaker, Chapel Haven West

Speech-language pathologist Ryan Shoemaker, Chapel Haven West

Individuals on the spectrum often have difficulty establishing new relationships, as well as man-aging existing relationships. The process of learning how to classify a relationship, identify strategies for keeping that relationship going, and determine what kind of information can be shared with that person can be quite a challenge. However, the importance of this skill cannot be overstated as these individuals experience a wide array of both positive and negative relationships and need to be able to interact in an expected way with each.

Social environments are filled with unwritten rules, or the “hidden curriculum”, that can shift dramatically with even the smallest change in that setting. Learning how to identify and follow these rules across such a wide range of social contexts is especially challenging for individuals on the spec-trum who tend to be more rigid in their thinking. As students become more familiar with this concept and the process, they find it easier to be comfortable and successful in unfamiliar social settings.

Learning to identify and value the perspectives of others is also at the core of successful social communicative competency. As students acquire this skill, they often experience increased self-satisfaction as social interaction becomes more intuitive and successful. The benefits of considering the perspectives of others span every kind of relationship and social setting, not only assisting in creating positive experiences, but also in avoiding or de-escalating potentially negative situations.

Three Success Stories

How can SCC help young adults? Typical responses are:

“My eye contact has improved. I show interest in other people. I am more empathetic toward friends. I have improved in my ability to terminate conversations appropriately and initiate questions in conversations.”

“My son has learned how to listen and, even if he is not engaged, give facial expressions indicat-ing that he is listening. Whereas before he would just walk away, he can sit at the table now at Thanks-giving and Christmas, where there are 20 people at a table, and engage in conversation.”

“My son would attempt to enter conversations by asking over and over: ‘Do you like pizza?’ He would have zero timing on that. It would be disconnected from anything going on and he would inter-rupt. As he has gained competence, he has become confident enough to go up to a group, listen, and comment on what is being said—and his timing has improved.”

Wellness and Fitness Craze is in Full Swing at Chapel Haven

Fitness-group-300x258One of the hottest locations on campus right now is Chapel Haven’s Fitness Center, located on the lower floor of the community center building.

If you attended our 2014 Bowlathon, bought tickets, bowled or donated prizes, thank you! Some of the proceeds from the $40,000 raised went to buying all-new equipment for the fitness center, including low-impact ellipticals, Cross Fit rowing machines, a recumbent bike for low-impact workouts and new treadmills.

Trainer Kim Neal teamed up with Recreation Supervisor Mike Verzella and Erik Frodel, Operations, to move in all the new equipment and to paint the center. It’s rare to go down to the center and not see a client or employee working out on the new equipment, with tunes belting from the stereo.
Another new development is thanks to Chapel Haven President Michael Storz, whose own fitness regime has inspired many at Chapel Haven to get fit. Mike has enjoyed working out with CrossFit Milford and Crossfit has now agreed to bring their world-renowned fitness programming to Chapel Haven. The main focus of these classes will be to provide Chapel Haven employees with the foundations of functional movements and a healthy fitness regimen, while providing maximum flexibility for their schedule.
Jason Leydon, Owner and Head Coach at CrossFit Milford is looking forward to working with Chapel Haven. Classes are initially being offered twice a week and will continue to build on the basics of moving the body and improving physical fitness. There will also be a focus on team building and communiCFM-Logo-Blk-Teal-2-300x93cation strength among staff. Most importantly these classes will be challenging, exciting and FUN!

Chapel Haven President Michael Storz said he is delighted that Crossfit Milford will be offering classes at Chapel Haven. This new development fits into an overall focus on health and wellness that pervades the culture at the agency, he said.

fitness-Tim-and-David-225x300“Living a healthy lifestyle is difficult for anyone. If we truly want to make a difference in helping people with disabilities live healthier lifestyles then we need to lead by example.” Storz said. I’m thrilled to partner with CrossFit Milford because they share the same values of taking pride in making people’s lives better. Jason’s commitment and passion for fitness is contagious and one that I’m looking forward to seeing spread through our agency.
Add to that, two ongoing developments:
In the spring of 2013, Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center and Chapel Haven created a new class to help adults at Chapel Haven with developmental and social disabilities achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle. The award-winning program, entitled “The Weigh To Live,” is trimming waistlines, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.
And on Fridays, Chapel Haven offers a Weight Watchers At Work chapter for employees. And most recently, Chapel Haven used its annual Bowlathon fundraiser to install $40,000 worth of new equipment, such as treadmills, low-impact ellipticals and rowing machines, in the fitness center to encourage clients and employees to work out at work.

David Hogin December Artist of the Month.

David HoganDavid Hogin is the Chapel Haven “Artist of the Month.” Born in Glendale NJ David graduated from Chapel Haven in 1989. He is a community member and lives in New Haven. David is also a member of our CH Art Guild and participated in the annual CH Art Show and Sale.  He is an established watercolor artist and loves doing architectural paintings.

Recently David entered an art competition for the McLevy Building banner and had an honorable mention for his entry. David has many fans for his precise and beautiful work. Congratulations, David!