Chapel Haven’s popular Family Brunch drew a crowd of 470 to Woodwinds on Sunday, April 28, 2013 and carried the theme, “What Chapel Haven Means to Me.”
To see a photo album of pictures from the event, click here. Thanks to Ron Guerrucci from the Supported Living program for taking such fabulous pix.
The annual event is a chance for families from the REACH, ASAT and Supported Living programs to mingle and celebrate the strength of Chapel Haven, an agency dedicated to helping adults with a variety of disabilities learn to live independently. Chapel Haven, founded in 1972, marked its 40th anniversary in 2012.
The event included a silent auction that raised in excess of $20,000, including funds to go toward campus improvements.
Michael Storz, President of Chapel Haven, gave a very personal speech about Chapel Haven’s significance to him. “Each day when I pull into our parking lot, I am thronged by high energy – smiling, excited faces. I am surrounded by passionate people – students, community members and staff – who look at the prospect of having a successful, independent adult and think not about limitations or impediments, but instead, about opportunity. Our adults are living the dream of independence each and every day, and that is an intoxicating mission to be around!”
John Bilezekian, chair of Chapel Haven’s board of directors and parent of Diane Bilezekian, longstanding Chapel Haven community member, gave the welcome and also introduced Chapel Haven’s new video, created when Chapel Haven was chosen a best-practice program through the national Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism. To see the video, click here. To read more about Chapel Haven’s prestigious designation, click here.
Student speakers at the brunch were John Orr, Katy Balog and Jeff Blattmachr.
John Orr graduated from REACH in 1989. He is employed by Chapel Haven managing a cleaning crew of 3 employees. He is an avid artist; painting birds and landscapes in
acrylic and oil. He remains active at Chapel Haven attending classes both as a student and mentor.
Jeff Blattmachr entered Chapel Haven’s Bridge Program nearly five years ago before quickly transitioning into Supported Living. Despite being relatively “new” on the scene, Jeff is at the hub of Chapel Haven’s social network-always volunteering to host parties at
Katy Balog came to the Asperger Syndrome Adult Transition (ASAT) program in the summer of 2012 with the ambition of pursuing a career in the arts. In just two short years, Katy has accomplished so much, from gallery internships to working at the International
Festival of Arts and Ideas to her current position at Hull’s Art Shop in the
heart of New Haven. Katy is graduating the ASAT residential program this June
and will move into the Supported Living community.
Chapel Haven also took time at the brunch to recognize its many Student Ambassadors, who are selected by the Admissions Office to help give tours to prospective families and take the time to talk about their experiences at Chapel Haven at conferences and other special events. The Admissions Office look forward to honoring its Student Ambassadors
later in May.
And four staff members who have hit the milestone of having worked at Chapel Haven for 20-plus years were presented with special awards. “Talk about passion and purpose, our hats are off to these individuals,” Mike said in presenting them with their plaques.
Congratulations to Sunny Richards, Deborah Elliott, Linda Evans-Willis and Joanne Roberts-Sims.