Chapel Haven Teaching Independent Living Since 1972 Wed, 25 Mar 2015 17:07:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 UARTS Chapel Haven to hold May 5 Open House Wed, 25 Mar 2015 05:06:50 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Uarts new logo
UArts Chapel Haven  will hold an open house on Tuesday, May 5, 2015, from 5-7 p.m.

Visit this pioneering artisan workshop and training program at Chapel Haven’s new satellite location, 335 Washington Avenue, North Haven.

This event is free, open to the public and press coverage is invited. Shop for unique artisan gifts, support our artists and mingle.

Uarts is a unique artisan studio program launched in partnership with Chapel Haven and funded by a grant from the Connecticut Office of the Arts/DECD. This is the first program of its kind to receive a pilot arts grant targeted to adults with disabilities from the State of Connecticut and already, Chapel Haven is off to a great start.

“It is entrepreneurial programs and partnerships like this that will define a new creative job workforce” said Kip Bergestrom, Deputy Commissioner DECD/Office the Arts.

Chapel Haven clients have produced artisan products that were showcased and received a popular reception at two holiday markets, in Hartford and at Whitney Center in Hamden.  Workshop participants, guided by professional artists, produced hand painted silk scarves, textile products, unique bags and cards daily during the pilot phase.  In the coming months many new products will be designed and produced. The studio will open to the public for classes and arts learning opportunities.

Chapel Haven is an award winning an award-winning, nationally accredited school and transition program serving 250-plus adults with a variety of abilities and needs.

“I am so proud of all that has been accomplished so quickly by our burgeoning artists,” said ChaUarts morepel Haven President Michael Storz. “I encourage everyone to attend the open house, shop for some unique gifts and show support for this unique employment path for our individuals.”

The goal of this program is to provide training, opportunities, access and engagement and resources for populations who have challenges connecting to creativity, accessing studio space, materials and mentorship in the pursuit of creative careers.

The program also provides training for established CT artists who are interested in becoming teachers and studio managers.

For more information, please call (203) 397-1714, ext. 198.

]]> 0
Register now for Chapel Haven’s Popular Family Weekend Brunch Tue, 24 Mar 2015 15:18:50 +0000 Continue reading ]]> ANthony'sChapel Haven’s popular Family Weekend Brunch is set for:
Sunday, April 26th 2015
Time: 11:00-2:00pm

Anthony’s Ocean View
450 Lighthouse Road
New Haven, CT 06512
(203) 469-9010

For directions and more information, click here

You can register for the brunch and pay online here:

]]> 0
Why Chapel Haven puts such a focus on social communicative competency Mon, 09 Mar 2015 18:30:53 +0000 Continue reading ]]>
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 com-petence, 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.”

]]> 0
Wellness and Fitness Craze is in Full Swing at Chapel Haven Wed, 04 Mar 2015 14:42:22 +0000 Continue reading ]]> One of the hottest locations on campus right now is Chapel Haven’s Fitness Center, located on the lower floor of the community center building.

Fitness groupIf 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.

Fitness equipmentTrainer 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.

CFM Logo - Blk-WhtAnother 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 communication 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.

“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.

fitness, Tim and DavidAdd 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.

]]> 0
David Hogin December Artist of the Month. Mon, 22 Dec 2014 20:44:12 +0000 Continue reading ]]> 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!

]]> 0
Chapel Haven to host “Exploring Artism” this spring Mon, 22 Dec 2014 20:40:18 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Chapel Haven is excited to announce that “Exploring Artism: A Program for Families,” run by the Yale Center for British Art, will continue off-site at Chapel Haven, located at 1040 Whalley Ave, New Haven, CT 06515 during museum renovations.

Dates for the class are: Saturdays, February 21, March 21, April, 18, May 16 and June 20, 10:30-12:00pm.artism-flyer2015 3

This is a free program for families with children 5 to 12 years of age on the autism spectrum. Families learn to look and respond to art work in the museum’s galleries. Join us and engage in group conversations in the galleries, a follow-up art project in a museum classroom, and much more. While we have taken into account the needs of individuals with autism in designing this program, it is intended to be fun for parents, siblings, and other relatives too!

Free but pre-registration is required. Please e-mail: or call 203 432 2858 with your name, number, and a good time to reach you on the telephone. A museum educator will contact you by phone to complete your registration.

]]> 0
British-style “tea party” celebrates Chapel Haven’s unique partnership with Yale Center for British Art Tue, 09 Dec 2014 19:24:01 +0000 Continue reading ]]> brit art with jennyYCBA ActChapel Haven students and community members enjoyed a unique, British “tea party” last week with the help of docents and staff from the world-renowned Yale Center for British Art.

Click here to read a story in the New Haven Register about this unique partnership:

Since 2009, Art Teacher Tina Menchetti has worked closely with the museum to develop a cutting-edge museum educational program called Out to Art. Participants from Chapel Haven take part in a wide range of museum activities and sensory learning. They enjoy behind-the-scene tours, close looking at works of art and studio activities. Participants are able to build life skills while also developing theory of mind, memory and interpersonal connections.

Classes take place weekly at the Yale Center and are taught in collaboration with museum staff. Chapel Haven students study famous British paintings and sculptures, and draw and paint with direction and influence from the extensive collection.

The program, developed in 2009, was the idea of museum Curator of Education Linda Friedlaender, and put into action with Chapel Haven art teacher Tina.

Recently, in a British-style tea at Chapel Haven, students, docents and others closed the semester, saying they can’t wait for the new one to begin.

Next semester the program will temporarily change, as the museum will be closed from January 2015 to Feb. 2016 for renovations.

Instead, they’ll bring the program to Chapel Haven and students will visit other galleries, including Yale Art Gallery. Chapel Haven will also host another program at the museum for younger children on the autism spectrum.

Tina, who has developed many successful programs at the school, said the hope in the future is to collect data on the program – viewed as a national model – to demonstrate the program’s success.

But anecdotally, Tina, who knows the students well, has noticed a huge difference in their mannerisms, posture, vocabularies, social skills. She said the changes are physically visible.

“It’s a place they’ve been so welcome in an environment filled with brilliant, educated people,” she said. “They love the way they feel there.”

After the tea party, staff and docents from the museum led an art lesson at Chapel Haven,  with students and docents working together using clay to learn the process used in ancient times to duplicate wall  reliefs.

]]> 0
Special Olympics Bowling Holiday Classic Draws 85 participants! Mon, 24 Nov 2014 15:30:15 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Chapel Haven had a huge turnout this weekend for the Special Olympics Bowling Holiday Classic at the Milford AMF Lanes.

Chapel Haven Rec Supervisor Michael Verzella reports 85 people bowled, both residential students and community members. Chapel Haven participated in both the Special Olympics “Traditional” games (teams made up of all athletes) and the “Unified” games (teams that were made up of athletes and volunteers/staff)

Many Chapel Haven families turned out to cheer on our bowlers, along with recreation staff and fraternity members from Southern Connecticut State University. Our teams competed against those of surrounding towns and everyone walked away a winner, with medals and ribbons.

Beth Sklar had the honor of giving the Special Olympics oath at the games. Congrats to everyone on a great job!

Great fun at Special Olympics Holiday Classic Margaret had fun! What a team! thanks to the volunteers! Carl had fun Special O with group Jordan teamwork! Special O with Sandy Will has a big smile Thumbs up!


]]> 0
SAIL Program enjoys Riding High Dude Ranch trip Thu, 30 Oct 2014 16:06:11 +0000 Continue reading ]]> The SAIL Program recently experienced another travel adventure…this time to Ridin’-Hy Ranch in upstate New York.

Eleven individuals accompanied by two staff enjoyed the great outdoors and all the dude ranch had to offer; the group went horseback riding, fishing, boating, horse-drawn wagon rides, arts and crafts, BINGO games and much more! To see a photo album, click here

When asked what their favorite part of the trip was, Kara stated “the horse trail riding” and Jordan also loved the horses. Zach liked fishing and David said, “I want to go back to the ranch!” Lizzy thought the A-Frame chalet accommodations were great and upon return to Chapel Haven, Liora proudly wore her Ridin’-Hy Ranch souvenir sweat shirt.

Chapel Haven staffers Alicia Prigodich and Tim Cenabre led the group with assistance from the dude ranch cowboys, cowgirls and activity staff while the all-inclusive excursion incorporated all meals; the group ate home-style cooking including a hearty steak dinner their last night. A good time was had by all!

Chapel Haven’s  SAIL (Schleifer Adult Independent Living) Program is one of Chapel Haven’s popular programs, and was developed to serve individuals with varying abilities who have the desire to live independently; however need increased supports and structure in order to be successful.  Participants live in a Chapel Haven owned property located near the main campus. Two to three-bedroom apartments are partially furnished and all utilities are included in the tuition-based room and board.
SAIL also did a trip last spring to Hershey Park.


]]> 0
The 2014 Bowl-a-thon was fun and raised a lot of money! Thu, 23 Oct 2014 11:25:45 +0000 Continue reading ]]>
Chapel Haven’s 10th annual Bowl-a-thon raised a record amount of money – in excess of $41,000 – and drew participation from 140 bowlers.

Mike Verzella, supervisor of recreation and the key organizer behind this popular event, said he is grateful to all the major donors, to all participating bowlers and to parents Shelley Hartz and Barbara Doherty for helping organizing the events and the raffle items.

The 10th annual Bowl-a-thon took place Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014, 1-4 p.m. at Amity Lanes.

Last year’s Bowl-a-thon raised $32,000 in funds, which were earmarked for technology. This year’s proceeds will help Chapel Haven update its fitness center. A barbecue at Chapel Haven followed the event, and a Halloween dance rounded out the day. To see photos from the day, click here:

]]> 0