Congratulations to Saumya Jain of the REACH program and Max Orsolini of the ASAT program for being selected to receive the Alexandra Dilger Award.

The award was established in 2019 to support neurodiverse young adults striving for greater independence while reaching for their dreams.

Saumya and Max were honored at a ceremony June 8 at the Deep River, CT home of Patrick and Gale Dilger, who established the award in memory of their daughter, Alexandra. She lived a rich and fulfilling life despite personal challenges with depression and anxiety. The Dilger family is honoring her legacy by helping others.

Saumya was nominated for the award by REACH special education teacher Bill Angier and Max was nominated by Jason Johns, ASAT student advisor. Joining Saumya and Max at the ceremony were Gina Apicella, Vice President of Clinical Services; Brittany Nadeau, ASAT Supervisor, and Catherine Sullivan-DeCarlo, Vice President of Admissions and Marketing. Max was joined at the event by his parents.

Saumya’s selection

Saumya’s award will comprise help with academic tutoring.

“In July 2021 Saumya left her home in Raleigh North Carolina and moved to New Haven, CT to participate in Chapel Haven’s REACH program, which does a wonderful job of helping students master the art of living independent and productive lives. Quite reserved by nature, Saumya worked hard to develop relationships with her peers and Chapel Haven staff and has made tremendous growth over two years.  She mastered her independent living skills, participated in many valuable vocational experiences, and built many strong relationships which endure to this day. Now she is moving onto the next chapter in her life.  She will attend Lesley University’s Threshold Program in Boston.  This program will give her the opportunity to build upon her already impressive skills set and we’re going to assist her do that by helping to cover the cost of specialized tutoring.”

Award for Max

In honoring Max, Patrick noted that “Max’s student advisor describes him as a hardworking, motivated, and driven young man who carries himself as a leader among peers and likes to gather with friends for social activities. Max recently finished his first college course this spring at Gateway Community College and excels in creative writing, which is a strong area of interest for Max as he looks to build a career and live independently.So Max, we have a Macbook Air coming your way so that you can write wherever and whenever you like. I do a bit of writing myself, so maybe we can talk later!”

Chapel Haven Schleifer Center is honored to be a part of the awards. Congrats to Saumya and Max on a job well done!

About the award

The Alexandra Dilger award is offered in partnership with A Little Compassion Inc. The mission of A Little Compassion Inc. (ALC) is to build a safe, kind and inclusive community for all. ALC positively impacts the lives of neurodiverse young adults with autism, intellectual/developmental disabilities, and related disorders by nurturing their unique skills, strengths, and preferences. ALC takes the lead in providing authentic and enriching employment and social opportunities for neurodiverse young adults as well as offers support for their families. Through education and empowerment programming, ALC increases public awareness and acceptance to ensure that neurodiverse young adults are seen and valued. Recent awards have included laptop computers, tutoring service, adaptive driving lessons and specialized tools. Recipients have included college students, high school students preparing to enter college and young adults taking their first steps into the working world.

To learn more, contact Patrick Dilger