Family Weekend draws 500 friends and families!
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Family Weekend draws 500 friends and families!

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.

Chapel Haven celebrated its 42nd anniversary on Sunday, April 27 with a showing of nearly 500 friends and family members at Woodwinds in Branford.

Stay tuned for more photos to come from the wonderful day!

The festive event included a silent auction, buffet luncheon, a keynote speech by community member Diana Bilezikian, who has just published a new book, and the honoring of three community members who have lived at least 30 years independently in the Chapel Haven community. Laura Mintz, who was honored at last year’s brunch for her 30-year achievement, introduced the three honorees. Those three individuals are:

  • Claire Adams
  • Chris Murray
  • Paul Gordon

“We were honored to recognize Claire, Paul and Chris,” said Chapel Haven President Michael Storz. “We have a growing group of individuals that we are proud to welcome into what we fondly call our ’30-plus’ club. Having maintained independence and happiness in the Chapel Haven community for 30 years is indeed, a milestone.”

Chapel Haven Community member Diana Bilezikian was honored for publication of her book, “Dear Diana…A Guide to Help Those with Special Needs Negotiate Everyday Situations,” published by AAPC Publishing. Nearly 100 signed copies of the new book were purchased by interested families and friends at the brunch.

Jonathan Slifka, Governor Dannel Malloy’s newly appointed liaison to the disability community, attended the event and presented Diana with a proclamation in honor of her achievement.

Chapel Haven President Michael Storz also honored Diana by presenting an engraved clock on behalf of Chapel Haven.

Diana’s book is getting rave reviews in the autism and special needs community. Reviewer Merri Rosenberg, of Education Update Online calls the book “poignant, brave, touching and incredibly practical.”
The book is published by AAPC Publishing. To learn more or order the book visit: https://www.aapcpublishing.net/

Jennica Harris, soon to graduate from Chapel Haven’s Asperger Syndrome Adult Transition program, drew a standing ovation for her remarks about how much Chapel Haven has changed her life.

“In my time in the program, I have built strong friendships with some of the graduates, and I am acting as a friend and mentor to the first-year students,” Jennica said. “I have been in Southern CT State University’s choir for two semesters building music skills and friendships…I am thankful that ASAT has helped me prepare for my career, and I’ve had success in jobs.”

“In my time in the program, I have built strong friendships with some of the graduates, and I am acting as a friend and mentor to the first-year students,” Jennica said. “I have been in Southern CT State University’s choir for two semesters building music skills and friendships…I am thankful that ASAT has helped me prepare for my career, and I’ve had success in jobs.” Read her full remarks Jennica’s Brunch Speech