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.

Then, Business New Haven selected “The Weigh to Live” as a 2014 Health Care Hero for its impressive partnership between Chapel Haven and Cornell Scott Hill Health Center. “Business New Haven recognized the partnership for “helping adults with development and/or social disabilities make better diet and lifestyle choies and thereby lead healthier lives.” Click here to read the story: Health Care Heroes 2014.

“The Weigh to Live” program is a wellness initiative designed to help adults with developmental and social disabilities achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

The program, a collaboration between the Cornell Scott-Hill Health and Chapel Haven, was rolled out earlier this year and achieved encouraging results.  Of the fifteen students who attended the spring class, twelve students lost a combined sixty-two pounds. Eleven students achieved lower blood pressure readings. Six students lowered their cholesterol. And six students lost inches in their waist or hips.

“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. 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.”

Due to the program’s success it is being offered again this fall. This semester there are 14 students enrolled. To date, they have lost a combined twenty-six pounds, including a nice slim-down for John Cranmer, shown at right with Channel 8’s Jocelyn Maminta. The program is also expanding to include students from Chapel Haven’s Asperger’s Syndrome Program. That class is set to begin next week.

The program 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.

The program is being overseen by Jill Meyerhoff, a Cornell Scott-Hill Health Center Wellness Educator. “We are so pleased with the results of this program. While the students are losing weight and inches as well as lowering their blood pressure and cholesterol, it’s really the immeasurable results that we are most proud of. For example, the students have been buying new, healthier foods at the grocery store and learning how to portion control their foods. These are 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 www.cornellscott.com.

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 www.chapelhaven.org.

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