Chapel Haven students honored for bringing “sunshine” to Tower One/Tower East
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Chapel Haven students honored for bringing “sunshine” to Tower One/Tower East

The following is a special needs program update from Chapel Haven. You may also click here to read the original article on the program’s website.

Left to right, Michael Storz, president of Chapel Haven, with Andy Schlessing, Eric Kay and Towers' CEO Mark Garilli

Two Chapel Haven community members received special awards on May 29 for bringing sunshine and joy to the residents of Tower One/Tower East, an apartment and assisted living community in New Haven.

Honored were Andy Schlessinger and Eric Kay, who for two years, have operated the “Sunshine Cart” at Tower One, dispensing with snacks, novelties and other items.

CEO Mark Garilli gave each young man an inscribed glass award and commended the duo for showing up through rain, snow and sunshine, “brightening our day with goodies from their Sunshine Cart. They inspire us to smile and remind us of how insignificant our worries may be.”

Barry Vine also took to the podium to announce a legacy gift in which Eric and Andy will have bronze leaves inscribed and added to Tower One’s Tree of Life in the center’s lobby “in lasting tribute to both of you.”

“Rushing into the Towers, I am often met by Eric and Andy. Their smiling faces calm me  down completely from a hectic day at the office. Their kindness and eagerness to please, and their passion for their work, is evidencet in everything they do,” Barry said as the many seniors gathered in the dining hall nodded and smiled.

Chapel Haven President Michael Storz commended Tower One for taking the time to honor its many volunteers, including Eric and Andy. “My message today is very simple: Chapel Haven’s success depends on open doors like this one, at the Towers. I am delighted to hear that Eric and Andy have brought so much enjoyment to your residents as they make their rounds. These young men have been given an opportunity, by you, to make a real difference through volunteerism. I am proud of both young men for representing themselves and Chapel Haven with such distinction.”

Eric Kay with his parents, David and Linda. Linda helped start the partnership at Tower One.


Andy and his mother, Monica, who was instrumental in starting a partnership with Tower One/Tower East

Monica Schlessinger, mother of Andy, and Linda and David Kay, parents of Eric, attended the event. Storz credited both families with helping to get a partnership started at Tower One, along with Richard Wurtzel, a consulting speech-language pathologist at Chapel Haven.

“The result – the Sunshine Cart – is, as Mastercard would say, priceless,” he said. In addition, Tower One/Tower East is one of nine Working Partnership internships for students, who help set the tables during lunch. “On a bigger level, our students are learning about what it takes to be successful in the workplace,” Storz said.

The festive event included a performance by the Towers’ Gospel Choir and Chorus. Afterward, the seniors thronged Eric and Andy to thank them in person for being such a great presence. The door remains open for Chapel Haven at Tower One!