Chapel Haven 1st Annual Tennis Benefit a Big Success
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Chapel Haven 1st Annual Tennis Benefit a Big Success

Chapel Haven’s first benefit tennis tournament, honoring the late Dr. Jerry Berg, was a huge success.

The event was organized by CH Parent and tennis coach Jerry Weil and Melissa Lawson, daughter of the late Dr. Jerry Berg.

L. to r., Melissa Lawson, Chris Raffone, coach Jerry Weil and Chapel Haven President Michael Storz

Hosted at the Cullman Heyman Tennis Center at Yale, the event drew 32 registered players from the Greater New Haven community and beyond competing in a competitive tournament while raising funds for Chapel Haven’s newly created Jerry Berg Tennis Scholarship Fund. Over 20 Chapel Haven students and community players, many who have participated in our tennis program, were on hand along with President Mike Storz and Vice President of Development Julia Isenberg to help host this event and to play in an ongoing exhibition match on “center court” at the Yale Tennis Center.

Similar to the annual CH golf tournament, this was an opportunity to engage the wider community in a fundraiser supporting Chapel Haven. Thanks to the generosity of participants and other supporters, the event raised $5000! The funds raised will go to a scholarship fund honoring Jerry Berg that will help defray the cost of the tennis program for Chapel Haven students and community members. 

“It was wonderful to see the Chapel Haven community and it’s wider community coming together on the campus of Yale University! Many thanks to our friends at the Cullman – Heyman Tennis Center at Yale (considered one of the top five indoor tennis facilities in the country) for donating use of their facility for this benefit and ensuring its success,” Coach Weil said.

Justin Moore spoke about Coach Jerry’s impact on his life.

The event opened with a brief speaking program that included remarks by Melissa and coach Jerry. Chapel Haven adult Justin Moore then eloquently  inspired the audience with his heartfelt talk about what the tennis program and the late Jerry Berg meant to him. Dr. Jerry Berg, a retired radiologist and active tennis player and coach, was a volunteer coach in Chapel Haven’s tennis program and beloved mentor to his students. 

“He taught them not just tennis but pride, sportsmanship and dedication to the sport, “ said Jerry Weil.  Dr. Berg passed away earlier this year after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He is greatly missed by all of us at Chapel Haven.”  


Congratulations to the doubles team of Vincent Averaimo and Jamie Millward for winning the “Jerry” division and Denise Sousa and Rebecca Tessitore for winning the “Berg” division. There were many close, fun and entertaining matches. 

Fun and friendship on the court

Many thanks to Melissa Berg Lawson and the Berg Family for all you did to help organize this event honoring your father, the late Dr. Jerry Berg. Many thanks to Chris Raffone and Kimm Fisher tennis professionals from Oak Lane Tennis Club who volunteered as tournament managers facilitating a smoothly run event. And of course our thanks to George Howard of the Yale Tennis Center and his sons Brandon and Ryan Howard for helping us make this event successful. 


Jerry Weil, Chapel Haven parent who helped start and coaches the tennis program said, “ by making tennis accessible to a wider audience it becomes a magical vehicle to develop social communication, self confidence and involvement in community. Or as Jerry Berg would say, ’there’s more to tennis than tennis.’ “

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This has been a special needs program update from Chapel Haven. You may also click here to read the original article on the main program website.