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A timid kid who grew up in Fairfield, CT has found his independence and identity at Chapel Haven.

Chapel Haven Changes Lives this week features Rick (Patrick) S., a steady presence on the Chapel Haven campus who always has a welcoming smile and hello for visitors and new families. Rick has been a part of the Chapel Haven community for 38 years! He is on the custodial crew at Chapel Haven, lives in his own apartment close to the campus and is active in the Out to Art program run by Tina Menchetti.

Rick recalls that his first reaction to finding out he got accepted to Chapel Haven was both nervous and excited. Transitioning to Chapel Haven was not hard at all.

“Believe it or not it was easier than hard because I am not far from home,” he stated with a grin. “I find sometimes the closer you go to home the less homesick you might be.”

“I am happy that I took this route and came to Chapel Haven, I have a life here, friends, I have everything here. If I go back to Fairfield with my family, it would be different than here,” he says.

Rick says Chapel Haven is truly expert in “teaching the full amount of independence and how to be tough and strong in life.” Before coming to Chapel Haven, Rick had trouble envisioning what he wanted in his future. “Chapel Haven has pushed me to reach my goals now,” he stated. His goals have been to learn as much as he can and gain more independence.

Rick says when he’s not working, he enjoys taking walks, reading (he loves author Danielle Steele) and going on the weekend recreation trips that are a staple of a Chapel Haven experience. He has especially enjoyed fall fairs and longer trips to nearby cities, including Boston and New York. He loves the atmosphere of New Haven and says that his favorite thing about New Haven is the Westville community that Chapel Haven calls home.

“It has that homey feeling,” he said.

His advice for prospective families and incoming adults is that Chapel Haven is a good way to gain independence and your own lifestyle. “You have to think if you lived back home with your family, would you have the kind of lifestyle you want for yourself, or would you be sheltered?”

Thank you to Rick for sharing your story!

Want to learn more about Chapel Haven? Call us at (203) 397-1714, ext. 185, or send an email to