Sunday marks Down Syndrome Awareness Day: Chapel Haven in New Haven helps those with Down Syndrome live independent lives

New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Sunday, March 21 marks World Down Syndrome Awareness Day. A program in New Haven is teaching adults with cognitive and social disabilities to live independent and productive lives.

Chapel Haven Schleifer Center is launching Down Syndrome Awareness Spirit Week with something different each day culminating with Sunday’s international celebration.

Chapel Haven was founded in New Haven in 1972. Currently, they’re serving more than 250 adults 18 years of age and older in the residence as well as the community.

One of the misconceptions is that people who have Down Syndrome can’t read or write. At Chapel Haven, three distinct programs prepare individuals with Down Syndrome to live happy, and self-empowered lives.

“That’s our hope. To prepare them not only to be independent, but to be out there with a purpose. With a job, because that’s what we all need. We need a purpose to feel good about what we’re doing every day,” Tina Menchetti, Chapel Haven Art Director.

“Don’t give up. Try to fit in, and try to adapt to new things. Get out of your comfort zone,” Anna Reagle, Student, Chapel Haven.

“I like what I’m doing. I’m doing a lot of newsletters lately. It’s gonna be out in the community soon,” Rhys Harris.

The painted rocks around Westville and Edgewood Park will see instructions on the back of the rock directing them to Chapel Haven’s Down Syndrome Awareness page.

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