News from ASAT

Jennica linkedin photoAwesome new job for Jennica!

Congratulations to Chapel Haven ASAT graduate and current community member Jennica Harris, who has a new job in Wallingford as a tax preparer for a law firm, which specializes in foreign tax issues.

“My day to day responsibilities are analyzing statements for foreign bank accounts and other documents from the clients and entering the information into the tax software to complete a corrected or original tax return. I also research tax forms and tax issues if I have a question about how an item is treated on a tax return,” Jennica said.

“I love this job, because there’s always more to learn, I like knowing that I am helping clients comply with tax laws by reporting their income and assets correctly, my co-workers are always willing to help me if I have questions, and I am continually increasing my proficiency and confidence with tax return preparation.”

Jennica continues, “My biggest accomplishment so far was organizing information for a client with almost 80 foreign bank accounts. I used a spreadsheet to keep track of all the account numbers and interest amounts, and I created page reference numbers so I would remember where I found each piece of information. My supervisor complimented me on how organized I was with the project.”

Jennica came to the ASAT program from her home in Santa Barbara, CA. After enrolling in the residential program, she is now living independently in the community and is doing well.

Asked for any tips she might have for others, she shares: “My advice for people looking for a job is don’t give up. When I first graduated from the ASAT program, I spent 8 months applying for jobs and interviewing. I found a job with a CPA firm and worked there for 7 months before I was one of a few people laid off after the busy season. I went right back to job searching. I got hired for my current job after 4 months of active job searching. If you are able to maintain a positive attitude and keep submitting those applications and practicing your interview skills, you will find a great job!”

Congrats, Jennica, we are proud of you!

Giving back with gifts of fleece blankets at Mary Wade Home

ASAT and Mary Wade blankets
Thumbs up to ASAT students and teacher Alicia Prigodich, who led a class in how to make beautiful, handmade fleece blankets and donated them to the elderly residents of the Mary Wade Home in New Haven. The students received a big thank you from Executive Director David Hunter, who even gave them a shout out on Facebook. Nice job to everybody!

ASAT Amity Food Drive 2015Thumbs up to ASAT students and staffer Carolyn Gorman for giving up a Sunday to collect food and cash to benefit the CT Food Bank. Students and staff collected money and non perishables at the Amity Stop & Shop to go toward the Connecticut Food Bank and the “Super Size Me” drive organized each by Chapel Haven community member James Trimble. The crew collected two full grocery carts worth of non perishable goods, plus $330 in cash. Thanks to Carolyn Gorman, who coordinates postsecondary and career education for the ASAT program, and the students for doing such an awesome job! Giving back, especially during the holidays, is important to Chapel Haven and its students!

Spenser and Kameron with 3DASAT Productions
A popular core class in the ASAT program is called ASAT Productions. Led by Carolyn Gorman, this class gives students immersion in a variety of digital media skills while simulating a work-like experience, where they can safely receive constructive feedback with practice and coaching in order to ready them for competitive employment. The class includes a Social Communicative Competency component taught by Sarah Davison with coaching in the soft skills necessary to communicate successfully in the workplace. The students then are observed as they go through the “work day”‘ putting the strategies into effect.

This year, Chapel Haven purchased a 3-D printer for the course and the students had the chance to make and print usable items, including holiday decorations. “Tthe 3D printed ornaments were quickly sold out, as ASAT staff purchased them all as soon as we completed packaging them,” Carolyn noted. “The class also completed an online newsletter for the Chapel Haven Wellness Program, and photographed the artwork of several UArts artists to be used in an upcoming greeting card project. We will be continuing the class through the coming semesters and will be continuing our line of 3D printed ornaments, as well as producing other salable items.”

The students also are learning to use video equipment anconducted several on-campus interviews for Chapel Haven President Michael Storz, to be used as part of Chapel Haven’s planned giving campaign.

Community Service Exploration
Another busy class in the ASAT curriculum is called Community Service Exploration. Students are out and about doing a variety of volunteer tasks for local agencies. So far this year, their activities have included making a meal for the Ronald McDonald House, sorting clothing for Goodwill, delivering donations to the CT Foodbank, creating a care package that was mailed to active U.S. Troops overseas, trailblazing the Pond Lily Trail for the New Haven Land Trust, making and delivering fleece blankets for the Mary Wade Home Holiday Bazaar, planting and transplanting plants at Edgerton Community Garden, cleaning at All Pets Club, helping clean and remove litter during a Westville Beautification Walk, and making Bookmarks for the Yale New Haven Hospital Book Cart.

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.