Following an extensive strategic planning process, Chapel Haven is confidently moving forward with Continuing the Commitment, a transformational campaign, to raise a minimum of $41,750,000 to double the current endowment, expand employment opportunities, transform facilities, and add Aging Services. The campaign has been met with enthusiasm and exceptional momentum, with $35,000,000 raised.
Founded in 1972, Chapel Haven is a nationally accredited transitional living program and approved private special education school founded in 1972 in New Haven, Connecticut, with a mission of teaching adults with cognitive disabilities and social disabilities to live independent and productive lives. Chapel Haven has grown to serve more than 250 adults (18 years of age and older) in the residence and the community with three distinct programs; REACH, Asperger’s Syndrome Adult Transition (ASAT), and Chapel Haven West (Tucson, AZ).
Chapel Haven has and continues to be one of the world leaders in creating an environment where adults with disabilities can reach their goals. In 2014 alone, we accomplished the following milestones:
· Developed an assisted living model, allowing for our residents to age in place;
· Envisioned renovations to transform our campus into a state of the art facility;
· Partnered with the local Business Advisory Board and the Autism Services Resources of Connecticut to create more employment opportunities;
· Launched Chapel Haven UArts, an entrepreneurial arts program funded with a state grant;
· Celebrated Chapel Haven’s first author, Diana Bilezikian on her guide “Dear Diana…”
· Initiated Agency-wide health and fitness programs that include Weight Watchers at Work, the Weigh to Live program, a fitness club, and a revamped fitness center;
· Expanded communication to include Facebook, e-blasts, and media campaigns; and
· Added wireless connection throughout the campus, improving classroom instruction.
In 2016-2017, Chapel Haven plans to make the following an organizational priority:
· Ensure every adult we serve has meaningful employment;
· Contribute to the limited research available on adults with disabilities;
· Provide clinical services and functional assessments to individuals under the age of 18;
Every day at Chapel Haven, our adults are living meaningful, fulfilling lives. They are actively immersed in programs and activities that promote life-skill development, inclusiveness in a cooperative community, and personal confidence – all of which are essential for promoting independence.
There is a tremendous amount of pride in knowing that, in addition to our programs, clients are enrolled in courses at Southern Connecticut State University and others are working or interning at more than forty organizations or businesses in our community. One ASAT graduate, Jacob, is now applying the skills he learned at Chapel Haven to his job at a leading pharmaceutical company and fulfilling responsibilities in its human resource department.
Others are learning how to manage a monthly budget for grocery shopping, laundry and personal entertainment, allowing them to be productive in society. In fact, over ninety percent of our students transitioned from our residential program to our community outreach program last year. Our students are traveling to other parts of the country for recreation and socialization, such as Crested Butte for ski trips, Hershey Park, Medieval Times, and a dude ranch.
At the same time, new challenges reinforce why Chapel Haven continues to seek every opportunity to provide the best possible experience and support to clients and their families.
It is critical that we provide for our aging population, as our mission emphasizes life-long care. It is heartbreaking to see individuals - who have lived in our community for over 35 years – facing the difficult situation of having to move from their Chapel Haven home to unknown, restrictive environments because we do not have the supports to allow them to age in place.
Chapel Haven was founded by determined parents who fought the odds to create a viable program in a little house on Chapel Street. And once again, we find it is our determined families who don’t want to see their aging adults sent off to a nursing home. They have paved the way for Chapel Haven being an industry leader for the past 42 years and they will continue to lead Chapel Haven into the future.
We are seeing more individuals with more complicated needs that require highly individualized instruction and greater expertise than ever before. One in 68 children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders. Experts are expecting to see a rise in the number of children diagnosed with an intellectual or development disability entering adulthood in the next 10 years. The need for Chapel Haven’s innovation, leadership, and expertise keeps getting greater.
At Chapel Haven, we have launched Continuing the Commitment: The Campaign for Chapel Haven. While the campaign has been very successful, it is also has needed a lot of volunteer effort and has required a full time Development staffer. In addition, the annual funding has lessened as donors become more engaged with the campaign. Finally, having our older facilities has had an impact on admissions, but the campaign seeks to remedy that by creating a new campus.
With all these challenges we still have reach multiple goal markers that are successes. This includes the capital campaign fundraising. We have done a great job at fundraising majority of the money needed to do the campus renovation, create assisted living and grow employment opportunities. Chapel Haven has successfully helped students achieve their goals and become independent. Chapel Haven is such a great community and the staff enjoy working here because of the atmosphere all the adults create. Chapel Haven has successful created a low staff turnover rate. One major event that is held every year is the yearly golf tournament. This is a huge success raising over 25,000 last year.
I chose to be a part of Chapel Haven because of my son, Matt. My story starts out in 1991.
“Our son Matthew was born in 1991. He was the fourth child in 5 1/2 years. Matthew was born healthy and happy like his siblings. At age 9 months we went for our doctor visit and the doctor was concerned he wasn't sitting. Matthew has low muscle tone. So off to the Early Intervention Center in our town. There Matthew received PT, OT and Speech therapy. At age 1 1/2 we had to put tubes in Matt's ears. He had fluid in his ears. We thought this was why he couldn't hear. Well, guess what? That wasn't it. So off to Dr. Mark Greenstein in Hartford for an evaluation. Dr. Greenstein diagnosed Matt with Mild Autism and mental retardation. His suggestion was to ‘put him in a home.’ He said ‘He will not recognize you as his parents.’ So home we went crying our eyes out. This was not the chapter we wrote in our book. Back at the EIC center the teachers said no way, do not put Matt in a home. So off to Newington Children's Hospital for another evaluation. The doctors there told us the same diagnosis but with lots of hope.
Thru the many years in our public school system Matt flourished. He started to talk, read, write, and have fun with his family and friends. Matt became a responsible person in society. He played sports, video games and laughed along with everyone else. Yes Matt was delayed in many ways, and very astute in many ways also. When Matt was in high school he wanted to go to college like his siblings. So being the good parent that I was, I set out to find Matt a college. I looked at a few programs in CT.
I went to Chapel Haven for a tour. WOW!! I fell in love. While on our tour I encountered many young and old individuals with various degrees of impairments. But what I noticed the most was the community of the school. Everyone was talking to one another, helping one another. And I don't mean the staff, I mean the students (or our adults as we like to call them today), were with each other.
We enrolled Matt after his week visit. Matt wasn't too excited when it came time to leave home and go to college. But once Matt was moved in he couldn't wait for us to leave. He was so excited to start his new chapter in life. When we dropped Matt off there was so many life skills functions that Matt didn't know. He could shower and personally take care of himself, but cook?? Clean?? Budget money?? Now that was joke. But Chapel Haven insisted that they would be able to teach Matt all of this inside 2 years!! Wow again!! I died and went to heaven. Finally someone that understood my son and me!!!!
Today Matt has been at Chapel Haven for 6 years. Matt has been living in his own apartment by himself for over a year. His home is cleaner than mine. He takes 2 buses to his volunteer job 2 days a week. He leaves on the 6:30 am bus and arrives to work for 7:30. He then takes 2 buses to get home. He has been doing this for 4 years. Someday they will pay him. I just know it. But for now he keeps volunteering.
Matt takes the bus to the grocery store and shops. He does his laundry, cooks and cleans by himself. He does receive 2 hours a week services from Chapel Haven. His support Coordinator helps with his budgeting and just oversees that he's doing what needs to be done. Matt signs up for various types of recreation trips each month. He is very involved with Best Buddies and Special Olympics. Matt is living life and he is so happy.
I know that I owe Chapel Haven my life, because if Chapel Haven wasn't there I don't know where Matt would be today. He is a living, breathing, happy and INDEPENDENT member of society today. And isn't that what we want for all out children. If you ask Matthew today if he wants to move back home he says very strongly, ‘NO.’"
Chapel Haven's biggest priorities are:
· To continue contributing to the limited research available on adults with disabilities;
· Fulfilling Chapel Haven's mission of lifelong care by creating Aging Services;
· Providing clinical services and functional assessments to individuals under the age of 18;
· Positioning ourselves as a learning network, where families, educators and professionals can come to us for training and consult; and
· Continuing to be a supportive community for adults to try, experience dignified risk, and gain the competency and confidence that they can, indeed, live independently.
Michael Storz, President at Chapel Haven Inc., oversees programs in New Haven, CT and Tucson, Arizona, which teach people with autism spectrum disorders and those with mild cognitive disabilities the skills to live independently in the community. Each program focuses on employment, college success, recreation and leisure, social communicative competence, self determination and independent living skills. Michael has been employed with Chapel Haven for sixteen years. He received his BA in Psychology from Providence College and his MBA degree from Southern CT State University.
Prior to Chapel Haven, Michael worked with children and adults with autism in the both the classroom and home environments. Responsibilities ranged from employment services, in-home family support services to providing consulting and coordination of behavioral therapy program to young adults and children.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
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