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Lori Krass Shares Her Memories

Lori with Sunny 1972

Lori Krass is a CHSC community member who has been with Chapel Haven since 1978.

Her father, the late Sidney Krass, was a co-founder of CHSC. He and his wife, Sylvia, raised Lori and her family on Roydon Road in New Haven, and Sidney had his real estate office not far from CH’s founding location on Chapel Street.

According to a Chapel Haven Annual Report, Syd and his wife, along with Eva and Jerry Rossman, were interested in purchasing a house in New Haven where

a dozen graduates of Maplebrook School, including Syd’s daughter Lori, could learn to live independently while receiving vocational training from Easter Seals.

Syd spent 1972 searching his hometown of New Haven for the perfect location. “Once finding 1599 Chapel Street, Syd took title to the building through his company while Easter Seal Goodwill Industries Rehabilitation Center made an application to the New Haven Zoning Board for a variance to permit the living center.”

Some 44 years later, Lori lives in her own apartment as part of Chapel Haven’s Supported Living community and loves her life at CHSC. She especially loves the staff, and continues to date Mike, who she met in a fitness class at CHSC and who she has been dating for 16 years. Lori works out with trainer Kim Stack, takes art classes with Art Director Tina Menchetti and enjoys fun activities with the Recreation program on the weekend.

“I like the staff at Chapel Haven because they are special to me,” she said. “My favorite staff is Mike Storz. I am glad he’s President of Chapel Haven because he has a lot of responsibilities to do.”

Lori named two other staffers who rank tops in her book: Lynn Tobin, Lori’s support coordinator, and Director of Community Programs Sunny Richards (shown in photo with Lori).

“Lynn budgets with me. She takes me to the store. She gives me spending if I need it – like she gives me money if I put it on my laundry card,” Lori says.

Sunny is also another favorite, who goes way back with Lori.

Sunny was a weekend staffer when Lori first started at Chapel Haven. Sunny would clock in on a Friday and not leave until Sunday night. She slept in an apartment in the Rossman building that was equipped with a bed and a recliner.

“It was like one big home. We had a dining room table in the main office. We would sit there and write up our notes,” Sunny recalled.

“I remember when you had long hair,” Sunny says, and Lori breaks into a huge smile. “We would sit in the courtyard and chat, remember?”

While Lori never lived in the founding location, she did go through the residential training now known as the REACH program. Lori remembers sharing Apartment 300 with Karen K. She was friendly with Laura Mintz and Steve Kanter and fondly recalls going on recreation trips with staffer Tim Sharon. The lower level of Rossman had a pool table and space for fun activities. Every night, the adults would gather to play pool, bingo, board games and even have bocce tournaments in the courtyard.

Even back then, Chapel Haven was serious about the curriculum. You could only partake in the fun stuff if you went to class and did your life skills in your apartment.

“If you didn’t do life skills at night, you could get restricted,” Sunny recalls. “You couldn’t come out of your apartment.”

Sunny remembers that REACH was like one big family. “There were no phones in the apartments. In the evening, we would help cook and everyone would do their chores. There were phone booths at the end of the hallway and they were pay phones. People would call and residents would come out of their apartments, answer the phone and then go knock on peoples’ doors.”

Lori graduated REACH in 1982 and moved into a community apartment on Springside. Now she resides in her own apartment WHERE?

Asked what her greatest wish for CHSC is going forward, Lori answered:, “Chapel Haven is my 2nd family. I hope that Chapel Haven will stay forever.”

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