Summer 2021 News and Updates

Denise - CEO of SARAH Inc.

A Message from the CEO

As we transition from spring into the summer, all of us at SARAH Inc. reflect together on both the challenging and rewarding experiences that this last year has brought within all our programs. Our dedicated team has worked both virtually and in-person to provide the highest-quality supports to the children, families, and adults with differing abilities. We have created new partnerships in our communities, launched new programs, and provided opportunities for those we serve to create new memories. All of this was made possible by our staff who remained committed to our mission while maintaining the highest safety standards inside and out of our programs. Join us in celebrating the milestones and accomplishments met by those we serve.

I hope you all have a safe holiday weekend and a great summer. Stay tuned for our next newsletter this Fall, we look forward to sharing how all of those in the SARAH Inc. family enjoyed their summer. 

Thank You,

Denise Henry

Catch Up On All Things Happening At SARAH Inc.!

Employment Services...

SARAH Inc.’s Employment Services Programs are using the summer months to focus on making new connections and helping individuals enhance their social, emotional, and vocational skills.

This month Valeria (Lera), a SARAH Inc. supported worker started working at Love, Lera Bakery with her family in North Haven. Love, Lera Bakery is a new business founded by the Asprelli family whose mission is to employ adults while creating delicious treats. The Aspreslli family story starts with their adopted daughter, Lera, and the challenges they persevered through together as a family as she grew older. Lera has cognitive issues and has faced other obstacles in life which led her to follow the strong mantra of “I won’t ever give up!”. That is the inspiration in their coffee shop and bakery, “Never Give Up”. The family created an enriching work environment for their daughter and other individuals with differing abilities. All of us at SARAH Inc. are excited to see Lera flourishing in her new role. We look forward to developing our relationship with the company and exploring future opportunities including bringing in a SARAH Inc. Transitional Services crew. Like any job, there are challenges and responsibilities that come with being an employee. But Lera has shown us that a lot can be accomplished with hard work and positive attitude! Stay tuned as we hope to share more about the meaningful opportunities that the Asprelli family is providing in our community. If you are interested in learning more about the bakery or stopping in to taste a delicious treat, you can visit their website here.

Another recent partnership we want to announce is with Mercy High School! At our newest Community Assessment site, the individuals who attend focus on hands-on skills such as landscaping, masonry, and custodial work. The SARAH Inc. supported crew is gaining landscaping experience by laying donor bricks and reviewing the text for accuracy. They are working diligently to keep the courtyard flourishing and maintaining the grounds within two facilities. Additionally, this crew will assist in the reorganization of classrooms as the school resets and prepares for the upcoming school year. This kind of hands-on work is invaluable, and we are excited to be growing this relationship with Mercy High School.

We are also celebrating all of our recent new hires and re-hires. We are so proud of the hard-work and commitment that these individuals have exhibited to achieve these accomplishments. Join us in wishing these new employees the best of luck in their new roles!

Jayden S.  –  Cinta

Juan S.  –  Amazon

Jon G.  –  Amazon

Michelle W.  –  Chilli’s

Patrick C.  –  Wallingford School System

Nicole D.  –  ShopRite

Megan J.  –  West Marine

Chris B.  –  Friday’s

Joe P.  –  Boston Market

John I.  –  Chowder Pot

If you are interested in getting involved with SARAH Inc. or have a family member looking for services, please reach out to us directly at We welcome feedback and are always looking for new ways to connect to the community.

Enrichment Services...

SARAH Inc.’s Enrichment Services groups are extremely busy coming into these summer months. Our three Day Programs are now fully in-person and this will be their last week of virtual services. During the last several months our incredible team worked tirelessly to find safe and enriching activities for these adults. We have resumed our relationships with our community partners and volunteer sites while continuing to build relationships with new community members.

One of our newest programs is an Art Therapy class with our Program Coordinator Tricia Currie in our North Haven Day Program. In her last position, Tricia was an Art Therapist. She has a Master of Fine Arts in Visual Arts from Western Connecticut State University. Tricia organized 5 different art therapy sessions for the month of June. All of the projects were adaptable to any skill level and can be interpreted differently by the individual, making each artist’s final product unique in the end.  We used several different medias, such as monoprinting with tin foil and painting with cotton balls. One week’s class was inspired by Georgia O’Keefe’s “Sky Above Clouds”,  and another by Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers”.

Ronnie said “I really liked it, and I want to do more!” Another individual, Morgan, who took part in this class stated, “We made flowers today. It was a fun and exciting project to do with my friends.”

In addition, our Community Supports Program is embracing the warm weather. The individuals in this program spend much of their time furthering life goals and getting involved in their local communities. This summer we want to feature Melissa from our Community Supports program. Since starting with this SARAH Inc. program, Melissa has engaged in a wide range of activities. When the weather isn’t cooperating, she enjoys doing arts and crafts projects and going out shopping with staff. However, she prefers to be outside and staying active. Recently, Melissa has recently been playing basketball and practicing golf at the driving range. 

When Melissa is out with SARAH Inc. team members, she chooses to go to the library and stores including Walmart and Big Lots. When we asked Melissa what she looks forward to most this summer she said she is most excited to go strawberry picking and visit the beach. It’s the perfect weather for just about anything! 

Lastly, we are excited to share some successes in our on-going summer nutrition classes at our Westbrook Day Program. Kara Pachniuk MS, CNS from Nourish and Nosh Nutrition is hosting a summer long nutrition class for the adults in our Westbrook program. This class covers everything from basic nutrition to hands-on cooking. So far, the individuals have learned several different aspects of nutrition including topics such as sugar consumption and how to make a balanced dinner plate. During this time, we have also tasted some delicious (and extremely healthy) smoothies, muffins, chicken salad, and more!

This Nutrition class is made possible thanks to the generosity of the Westbrook Foundation who provided us with grant funding to help further the education and well-being of several Westbrook residents. Additional thanks to the friends and family members of SARAH Inc. who generously donated to this program.

If you are interested in getting involved with SARAH Inc. or have a family member looking for services, please reach out to us directly at We welcome feedback and are always looking for new ways to connect to the community.

KIDSTEPS Early Intervention Services

We are excited to announce as we move into the summer, SARAH Inc. KIDSTEPS is now also phasing back to in-person services. This time last year our team was not only providing supports virtually during the midst of a pandemic, but they were undergoing an expansion from a 31-town service region to a 50-town service region. Through all the change and transition, this dedicated and passionate team continued to provide the highest-quality services to children and families throughout Connecticut. 

While we were thankful for the opportunity to continue providing essential services during the pandemic, we cannot express how incredible of a feeling it is to be back in-person helping children and families in their natural environments. One family member describes how beneficial it is to receive face to face services again, “It’s been helpful to see Shannon modeling strategies in person to see where I can make changes, especially pausing more to help make more opportunities for Spencer.”


We are now providing services in the following towns: Berlin, Bozrah, Branford, Canterbury, Clinton, Colchester, Cromwell, Deep River, Durham, East Haven, East Lyme, Essex, Franklin, Glastonbury, Griswold, Groton, Guilford, Hamden, Killingly, Killingworth, Lebanon, Ledyard, Lisbon, Madison, Meriden, Middletown, Milford, Montville, New Britain, New Haven, New London, Newington, North Branford, North Haven, Norwich, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Orange, Plainfield, Portland, Rocky Hill, Scotland, Sprague, Stonington, Wallingford, Waterford, West Haven, Westbrook Wethersfield and Windham. Staff are local and familiar to the community they serve.

To request a Birth to Three Early Intervention evaluation you can:
A) Call the toll-free intake phone number at Child Development Infoline 1-800-505-7000
B) Complete the online referral form on the Birth to Three System web site
C) Download the referral form from the Birth to Three Website and Fax your referral to 1-800-571-6853

You can ask for your preferred agency during the evaluation process. Please contact the us at (860) 399-1888 ext. 324 if you have any questions.

SARAH Solutions Podcast: Ninety-Nine Percent Effective

The SARAH Solutions Podcast “Ninety-Nine Percent Effective”, has officially launched our Summer Sibling Series. We know how important a sibling’s bond is and how unique each one is. We are happy to present to you a summer series of episodes designed specifically for siblings in mind. Our hosts, George and Tesha, meet with a variety of experts to discuss everything ranging from a diagnosis, future planning, and much more to come! All, related to the sibling experience.  At the end of the series the SARAH Solutions team in conjunction with Emily Holl, has put together a panel of local siblings to discuss the rewards and the trials of growing up as/with a sibling with a differing ability.

The first two episodes of the series are live now:

You can find all of our episodes here or on PodBean, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon, or wherever you get your podcasts! Have a question or want to leave us feedback? Email us at or call us at 860-399-1888 ext 200.

Other Happenings At SARAH Inc.!

Special Thanks to the Old Saybrook Rotary Club...

The Old Saybrook Rotary Club (OSRC) generously provided SARAH Inc. with the funds needed to purchase two Autism Boxes for our KIDSTEPS Early Intervention Services and five Enrichment Boxes for the adults in our Westbrook Day Program. 

SARAH Inc.’s KIDSTEPS teams utilize Autism Boxes made up of various assessment and evaluation tools needed to gauge a child’s specific needs. The assessment and evaluation materials are used to evaluate children to determine their eligibility for Birth to Three services according to the state’s criteria, as well as to help assess the strengths and needs of each child and family in order to provide high-quality customized services. Additionally, a wide variety of assessments are needed so therapists may individualize activities to target the family’s priority areas. The autism-specific assessment tools are used to assess whether a child meets the criteria for a diagnosis for autism as well as to establish a baseline of their skills, develop their program, and monitor their progress. Moreover, all the materials are reusable and will continue to make a positive impact on children and families in Old Saybrook for several more years.

The Westbrook Day Program provides services to adults with differing abilities. Each of the Enrichment Task boxes includes basic literacy and math tools to help an individual continually develop basic life skills. The overall objective is to empower the individuals in the Westbrook Program to be as independent as possible. Staff will work with each person to identify their skill set by utilizing the curriculum. Once we have an understanding of each person and their baseline level, we can increase them to the next level up through the implementation of reoccurring six-month check-ins with their team.

It is the generosity of agencies such as the Old Saybrook Rotary Club and others who help further our mission of Enhancing Skills and Transforming Lives of All Individuals with Differing Abilities. To find more information about the OSRC you can check out their website here.