Description Never underestimate the power
of determined parents.

buy aciclovir pills That is the lesson behind the founding of Chapel Haven, which started as the dream of a group of parents celebrating their kids’ graduation from Maplebrook School in Amenia, NY
in the early 1970s.

The big question on everyones’ minds? What next?

“We had a whole group of people who were meeting all the time, called the Maplebrook Parents’ Association,” said Chapel Haven co-founder Jerry Rossman, who not only co-founded Chapel Haven with the late Sydney Krass, a realtor in New Haven, but served as board chair for many years. Jerry has since retired to Florida with his wife, Eva, joining daughter Karen Fleck and son, “Pizza” Pete Rossman, a Chapel Haven graduate. Jerry’s love and allegiance to Chapel Haven is clear.

“We wanted a place where our kids could live and learn their independence, and then go home,” Jerry recalled fondly. “But…nobody wanted to go home.”

Barry Krass, son of Sydney Krass, recalls that his father and Jerry worked hand-in-hand to get Chapel Haven up and running. His sister, Lori Krass, is a community member at Chapel Haven who was honored in 2012 for surpassing her 30-years of independence mark.
Jerry has fond memories of all the meetings and footwork that led to Chapel Haven’s opening in 1972 as a private non-profit agency teaching adults how to live independently. He fondly recalls his weekly lunch meetings with Jeanne Sargent Bercowitz, a local waitress who had a dream of starting a residential program.

“Eventually I had to hire Jeannie Sargent on a full basis with her husband. She and her husband ran the program. I used to go up once a week and have lunch with her. She was very cute. She charged one dollar for lunch. It grew from there until we finally bought the property,” Jerry recalled.
After looking at various properties, the group, led by Realtor Sydney Krass, settled on 1599 Chapel Street and went through lengthy zoning hearings to gain approval. Jerry’s son, “Pizza” Pete, did not join Chapel Haven until it moved into its current spot at 1040 Whalley Avenue in 1976. But he recalls helping move the growing agency to Whalley Avenue and he has many fond memories of his time at Chapel Haven.

Peter went through the residential program at Chapel Haven and then graduated out into the community. He worked on the maintenance crew at a company in North Haven called Giltx and fondly recalls taking the bus to and from for the 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m. shift. Pete also worked at the Sargent lock company. He recalls favorite rec trips such as Misquamicut Beach in Rhode Island and hanging out with many friends, including Kim and Rich LaManna, the late David Poole, and Andy Auerbach.

But probably his best memory is the job he landed selling pizza at New Haven Ravens games. He would walk up and down the bleachers at Ravens’ games, yelling, “fresh, hot pizza.” He was so good at the job, he earned a news feature in the New Haven Register and Dad Jerry was asked to throw out the ball at opening season.

When asked what makes him happiest about Chapel Haven’s growth and success, Jerry responded, “the success. Practically all of the students you have there are very happy. They are having a good time and don’t want to go back home. They are doing everything they want to do. These are kids who would be floundering otherwise.”

“Chapel Haven was a pioneer,” agreed wife, Eva. “It’s been copied many times.”

Today, Chapel Haven is an award-winning, nationally accredited school and transition program serving 250-plus adults with a variety of abilities and needs. Chapel Haven occupies a flourishing campus at 1040 Whalley Avenue in New Haven, CT, and a satellite campus in Tucson, AZ called Chapel Haven West. A unique feature of Chapel Haven’s programs is the ability of adults 18 and older to enroll in an intensive, residential experience, graduate and move into ongoing adult life in the Chapel Haven community.

We owe a debt of gratitude to our founding families!

Chapel Haven’s mission statement communicates our steadfast beliefs:

“Chapel Haven provides lifelong individualized services for people with developmental and social disabilities, empowering them to live independent and self-determined lives.”
At Chapel Haven we believe that every person is to be treated with respect and dignity.

We value the individual. We recognize the uniqueness of each person with whom we work and that though our mission remains constant, we must tailor our services to the individual in order to promote maximum success. We also understand that the individual’s needs change over time and therefore we offer a continuum of flexible supports designed to meet those needs throughout life.

We help the individuals we serve create their own networks of support that include our staff as well as family, friends, other service providers, and community resources. We encourage the individuals we serve to use these supports to help them take risks and make their own choices as they seek independence.

We view our role in the lives of the individuals we serve as that of a guide. We provide education and assistance to ensure that they can make informed decisions based on an understanding of a range of options.

We appreciate that independence, more than living on one’s own, means having the freedom to pursue a life of fulfillment and define for oneself what that fulfillment means. We provide our services in support of that pursuit.

Chapel Haven was created by parents who wanted to help their special needs children become truly independent.

Chapel Haven was founded by two pioneering families in a house on Chapel Street, in New Haven, CT, in 1972. That gives our agency nearly 45 years of experience as a leader in the field of services for adults with disabilities.


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