Chapel Haven Named “Health Care Hero” by Local Media

Chapel Haven’s new class, “The Weigh to Live,” in partnership with the Cornell-Scott Hill Health Center, is not only resulting in significant weight loss for clients, it’s also gaining media attention.

First,  News Channel 8 came to campus and filmed the class for an Oct. 22 feature  on their evening broadcast. Among students interviewed, Rose Randall did a great job talking about healthier food choices and her fitness regimen. Health reporter Jocelyn Maminta attended the class and interviewed students, the wellness educator from the Hill Health Center and Chapel Haven President Michael Storz.

Continue reading

Posted in Events | Leave a comment

2013 Bowlathon huge success, $32K raised

Chapel Haven’s 9th Annual Bowl-a-thon took place on Saturday, Oct 5 at Amity Lanes and was a resounding success, raising more than $32,000 in funds to be earmarked for technology.

“We were well represented with over 130 bowlers who were accompanied by many family and friends.  With the help of our major donors, along with the student and family fundraising efforts, Chapel Haven raised over $32,000 which will be going toward
technological improvements throughout the Chapel Haven campus!  The lanes were filled with suspense as we raffled off various prizes from jewelry, to theme baskets created by the Chapel Haven departments,  to a weekend in the Berkshires,” according to Michael Verzella, supervisor of recreation and operations and the main mover and shaker behind the Bowl-A-Thon. Continue reading

Posted in Events | Leave a comment

College readiness workshop imparts tips for adults with autism

The transition from high school to college is tricky for most students, and for those on the Autism Spectrum, there are added and unique challenges.

But the college environment in many ways is also ideal for those on the spectrum, because of factors like scheduling flexibility, more choices and a diverse student population that may be more accepting of quirks.

On Wednesday, Oct. 9, Chapel Haven presented a workshop on the topic. Ginny Hodge, M.A., CCC-SLP and Chapel Haven’s Vice President of Autism Spectrum Programming, gave attendees an excellent overview that included exploring differences between college and high schools. She discussed the skills that are most important for success in college, what areas lead to difficulty, and how to prepare now for a successful transition into a college setting.

The evening included the tips of asking a son or daughter: do you want to go to college and if so, why. Getting everyone on the same page about college goals is a great first step.

Among the academic skills, higher order thinking and abstract language skills can be the most difficult in a college setting. Feeling more confident with life skills is also important. Practicing getting up in the morning, learning to handle medications, using the telephone and a calendar effectively are all good skills. Also learning how to ask for help and establishing some coping skills go a long way. Develop a support network and be sure your son or daughter knows they can call into the network for help.

Chapel Haven helps prepare adults for independent living. College readiness is a component of the program for many adults. Providing support in the areas of executive functioning, planning, time management and organization has helped many young adults start, continue on and complete college studies.


Posted in Events | Leave a comment

Yale medical students enjoy visit to Chapel Haven

Chapel Haven community member John Orr provided travel training for the medical students.

First-year Yale medical students spent today touring Chapel Haven’s campus, meeting students and community members and learning more about the agency’s track record in serving adults with a variety of disabilities.

Along the way, the students, who are all new to New Haven, received some travel training from Chapel Haven community member John Orr, who met the group at the Yale Center for British Art, educated the students about the bus routes and accompanied them on a bus to Chapel Haven. Continue reading

Posted in Events | Leave a comment

The SAIL Program gets around!

The SAIL program is having fun with its day outings planned during spring and summer break.

From the Beardsley zoo and the movies, to taking the train into New York City for lunch at the Hard Rock Café and shopping, everybody had a ball. To see some photos, click here For summer break, SAIL will visit the Norwalk aquarium, Look Memorial Park in Northhampton, MA (paddle boats, mini golf, petting zoo), Essex Steamtrain and Riverboat ride and a day at the beach.

The SAIL (Schleifer Adult Independent Living) Program erected in July 2009 was developed to serve individuals with varying abilities who have the desire to live independently; however may 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 members have access to Chapel Haven’s Community Life Program (CLP), Recreation Program, vocational services, volunteer options, life skills instruction, continuing education classes, and benefits coordination.

Posted in Events | Leave a comment

Chapel Haven West graduation prepares graduates for the real world

With the diagnosis of autism on the rise, the commencement ceremony for Chapel Haven West, set for Saturday, June 15, 2013, takes on new meaning.

In the face of new studies predicting that 1 in 88 children will be born with autism by age 8, Chapel Haven West is a postsecondary school that teaches adults on the autism spectrum how to be successful. The students graduating Saturday will tell you they have gained important skills over the 24 months in this residential program – such as how
to go to college, manage an apartment, take the bus around town, learn vocational skills, make friends, and most importantly, how to communicate with confidence.

“I have learned to be patient with everyone,” says Carter Barker, 21, who came to Chapel Haven West from his hometown of Marshall, MN. “Now, I can cope with the
stresses of daily life much easier.”

During his time at Chapel Haven West, Carter worked at an accounting firm in Tucson,
took college classes in accounting, learned to cook and clean for himself, made
friends and learned how to travel independently throughout the Tucson community.

Carter impressed so many people, he was even offered a plum job, working the front desk at the Autism Society in Tucson. Continue reading

Posted in Events, News | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

It’s graduation time at Chapel Haven!

It’s graduation time at Chapel Haven.

Chapel  Haven’s three core residential programs will have commencement ceremonies in the next week, celebrating 30 students across the board who now are ready for productive, independent lives.

Asperger Syndrome Adult Transition (ASAT) Program

On Saturday, June 15, seven students will graduate from the Asperger Syndrome Adult Transition (ASAT) Program during a ceremony at 11 a.m. at Chapel Haven, New Haven, CT.

Chapel Haven’s Asperger’s Syndrome Adult Transition (ASAT) program is a residentially based, two-year program that provides an individualized core curriculum
focusing on Social Communicative Competencies for adults. The program equips students with a broad repertoire of social competency and adaptive skills across multiple settings and with diverse populations while also helping with life skills, college and employment.

Saturday’s graduation will celebrate the milestones of students who are pursuing college,
working in career-related jobs and preparing to move into satisfying adult life.

Chapel Haven West

Also on Saturday, June 15, 2013, Chapel Haven West will hold its graduation
ceremony 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. at the University of Arizona Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences Building, 1131 E. 2nd St., Tucson, AZ. Along with remarks by Director Ken Hosto, students and alums, the keynote speaker will be Dr. Stephanie MacFarland, Director of Teacher Preparation in Severe and Multiple Disabilities at the University of Arizona.

Chapel Haven West in Tucson, AZ serves adults with autism spectrum disorders and related social disabilities in the areas of life skills, education, employment and
recreation programs. Students live apartment-style within walking distance of
the University of Arizona. They attend classes and have access to University facilities, including the state-of-the-art Disability Resource Center and SALT Center. University faculty and graduate interns in the Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences Department assist staff and serve as mentors to our students in a college setting.

To read more about the commencement, click here.

REACH program

On Friday, June 21, 2013 at 11 a .m., 15 students enrolled in Chapel Haven’s REACH program will mark a major milestone as they celebrate their graduation and hear keynote remarks from Jenny Kowitt.

In the traditional REACH (Residential Education at Chapel Haven) program, adults 18+ with mild developmental disabilities and autism live apartment-style in an intensive 24-month Residential Life Skills program on the Chapel Haven campus. They learn to negotiate all aspects of independent living while enjoying a state approved education program and a nationally accredited transitional living program. Upon graduation, they may choose to continue living in the area and receive continued supports from Chapel Haven.

Interested in attending a graduation? Please RSVP to We look forward to seeing you!

Posted in Events | 1 Comment

Chapel Haven thanks its Student Ambassadors

Each year, the Admissions Office selects students and community members for its ambassadors’ program who are articulate, personable, enthusiastic and professional to provide a welcoming presence to families considering Chapel Haven.
Recently, the Ambassadors were treated to a pizza party and received certificates of recognition for the important job they do. “Having… a friendly face at our open houses, on our applicant tours and at all our special events means so much to visitors and families,” said Catherine Sullivan-DeCarlo, Vice President of Admissions. “We are grateful to our ambassadors for their service and for the enthusiasm they impart on behalf of Chapel Haven.”
Posted in Events | 1 Comment

New partnership with Hill Health Center helps Chapel Haven clients achieve healthy lifestyle

Chapel Haven has found a beautiful marriage with the Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center in a new program called “A Weigh to Live.”

The new curriculum was created with the following goals in mind: to help Chapel Haven’s clients attain and maintain a healthy weight; to reduce clients’ risk of chronic disease; and to help clients live a healthy lifestyle.

To achieve those goals, health center staff created an eleven week program that covers everything from weight loss tips to healthy snacks. Weigh-ins, food tastings,
hands-on activities and food demonstrations are also included in the weekly
classes. Students engage in a variety of activities including Nutrition Jeopardy.

Read more about it in the New Haven Register here

“The Weigh to Live” started April 11th and currently has fifteen students enrolled. Each student had pre-testing done including glucose, cholesterol, and blood pressure screenings as well as waist and hip measurements. Post-testing will also be conducted.

“Weight management and fitness are vital components of leading a happy and healthy adult life,” said Michael Storz, President of Chapel Haven. “We have been delighted with the success of this initiative in such a short amount of time. The staff of the Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center are remarkably skilled at making fitness fun and manageable for our students and that is the key to any sustainable health program.”

The program is being overseen by Jill Meyerhoff, a Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center Wellness Educator. She is also thrilled with the program’s progress: “So far the program has been a success. Not only have the fifteen students lost a combined thirty-five pounds, they have been buying new, healthier foods at the grocery store and learning how to portion control their foods, important skills that will serve them well as they move toward independent living.”

The Cornell Scott – Hill Health Center is the oldest and among the largest community health centers in Connecticut. The center provides integrated medical and behavioral health solutions throughout the greater New Haven area and the Naugatuck Valley
with the goal of improving the health status of patients and the community at
large. The Cornell Scott – Hill Health Center has been a leader in community healthcare innovation for over 40 years. Learn more at

Chapel Haven is a nonprofit agency founded in 1972 and dedicated to helping adults with developmental and social disabilities live independent and productive lives. Through three core programs, Chapel Haven has helped more than 300 adults gain the skills needed to live happy and productive lives of independence. Chapel Haven has campuses in New Haven and Tucson, AZ and recently was selected as a national “best practice” by Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism. Learn more at


Posted in Events | Leave a comment

Chapel Haven’s Jewish Student Organization gets the ink

A family who toured Chapel Haven recently was enamored with Chapel Haven’s Jewish Student organization and wrote a blog post about it.

Click here to read the story.

Thank you to Betty Ross and her daughter, Ilyse, for the story and for visiting us!

The Jewish Students Organization – unique to Chapel Haven – falls under the auspices of Jewish Family Service’s Shalom Group, which serves Jewish individuals in the New Haven area who have developmental needs. The Shalom Group seeks to help individuals experience holiday observance, Torah study and shared fellowship.

Many of the 6-15 students and Chapel Haven community members who attend the twice a month meeting have a strong Jewish life at home, but are away from family and relish the chance to carry on traditions and learning.

“It’s made me feel stronger and closer to my religion,” said student Andy Hausler, who was instrumental in establishing the group, along with some dedicated Chapel Haven parents.

Organization members meet two times monthly on Wednesday at 4 p.m. in the library, with Rabbi Hesche Sommer leading one week and JFS social worker Rachel Scolnic Dobin another. While Sommer focuses on religious teaching, Dobin handles etiquette, daily living, holiday observances and activities through the Jewish Community Center.



Posted in Events | Leave a comment