KHAIR Alumni Session


We gathered with five of our KHAIR alumni in November!

They mentioned they remember some of the interview tips such as giving a firm handshake, doing research about the company before meeting, and presenting with a smile.

We look forward to having our alumni speak to our spring 2018 class that began March 10th. We hope to have these students engaged as positive role models and mentors to our current group of teens.

For more info, visit




Changes to CHNCT Foundation,Inc. Board of Directors


The Community Health Network of Connecticut Foundation, Inc. announces the following changes to membership on its Board of Directors: the election of new board members Ronald Coursey; Ronald Rozett; and Amanda Skinner; and the resignation of Marta Elisa Moret, MPH.

Mr. Coursey is currently Executive Director of Sales of the New England Region for Quest Diagnostics. Prior to joining Quest in 2010, Mr. Coursey had spent 14 years in various sales and sales operations roles for Merck & Company, Inc., primarily focused on commercial activities in the Northeast. He earned his BA in Business Administration from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. Upon graduation, Mr. Coursey served as a commissioned officer in the United States Army.

Dr. Rozett had served as Medical Director in the Physician Assistant Program at Quinnipiac University prior to his retirement. Previous positions included: administrative consultant at Masonicare; director of the Masters of Health Administration program and Executive in Residence, Health Administration at Quinnipiac University’s School of Business; and, previously, positions with Medspan, Gaylord Hospital, Community Health Care Plan, Yale University School of Medicine, the Department of Health and Hospitals in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He has also participated in clinical teaching of medical students, interns and residents at Yale University, and as a Lecturer at Harvard University. He has received numerous awards for his service in the field of medicine. Dr. Rozett received his BA from New York University, MD from Harvard Medical School, and his MPH in Health Services Administration from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Ms. Amanda Skinner is President and Chief Executive Officer for Planned Parenthood of Southern New England. Prior to joining Planned Parenthood, Ms. Skinner was Vice President and General Manager of Managed Value and Risk Analytics for Optum/UnitedHealth Group; and spent six years at Yale New Haven Health, where she led population health and value-based care  efforts. She has also served as a management consultant in the healthcare sector with The Chartis Group, and as Director of Midwifery Services she launched and led full-scope midwifery care services in Waterbury, CT. Ms. Skinner received her BA in Philosophy from Rice University, her MSN in Nurse-Midwifery from Yale University School of Nursing, and her MBA from the Yale University School of Management.

Please join us in welcoming Mr. Coursey, Dr. Rozett, and Ms. Skinner to our CHNCT Foundation family!

Our thanks go out to Marta Elisa Moret, MPH for her years of service to the CHNCT Foundation,Inc. board. Ms. Moret joined our board in 2015 and had been an instrumental member of our Development Committee. In addition to her assistance with writing grants, Ms. Moret also prepared a white paper on the KHAIR program and assisted with implementation and evaluation of our data. Ms. Moret will continue to be a committed volunteer to the organization.

Please join us in thanking Ms. Moret for her service on our Board of Directors.

Cooking Matters is a Prescription for Healthy Eating




This past May our partners at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Curtis D. Robinson Center for Health Equity hosted a 2-hour Cooking Matters outreach with internal and external staff members. While Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Curtis D. Robinson Center for Health Equity has hosted numerous Cooking Matters for Adults classes, the goal of this outreach was to present an abbreviated Cooking Matters class to the staff to demonstrate the benefits of the program and the impact of Cooking Matters in the community they serve.

Our very own Cooking Matters veteran Class Manager Kellie Gilbert was the facilitator of this class. We talked to the group about the “MyPlate” strategy of healthy eating, which focuses on variety, amount and nutrition, as well as explained the importance of adding color and nutrients to the plate with various fruits and vegetables. We also conducted the blubber burger activity that showed the attendees the amount of fat in our everyday fast foods by placing the equivalent fat content of lard on a hamburger bun. The participants were very enlightened by this visual and expressed their concerns about what they currently eat and how they would like to change it.

The recipe for the day was Turkey Tacos with shredded zucchini, Northwest Apple Salad and Yogurt Parfaits with fruit. The staff worked together in small teams to cut, chop and cook each item and prepared a delicious meal for everyone to enjoy! It was interesting to note that many participants had never tried adding Zucchini in their tacos ever before. This was a great learning experience for many of them of what vegetables can complement their favorite dishes.

Thank you to the team at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Curtis D. Robinson Center for Health Equity for their continued partnership, to help signify the importance of Cooking Matters in our communities.

KHAIR Spring Update



This was KHAIR’s second season having workshops on a local university campus. Program Manager Elvin Melendez says: “by having the workshops on a college campus, teenagers will be exposed to the possibilities of furthering their educational goals.”

Fifteen teenagers graduated from the KHAIR Classic program on Saturday, May 20 at the NHFPL(Courtland Wilson Branch) located on Washington Avenue. Eighty-Five family members and friends gathered to celebrate their children as they completed a 12-week program that focused on life-skills and self-esteem. Our keynote speaker was Dr. Marian Evans, Assistant Professor at Southern CT State Univ. Dept. of Public Health and Vice Chair of the CHNCT Foundation’s Board of Directors.





Seven Teenagers graduated from the KHAIR Wilbur Cross High School Enhancing Me Program. These students participated in several life skills workshops such as Team Building, Dress for Success and Social Etiquette, that will prepare them for high school.





The 4th Annual Walk4KHAIR is set to begin on June 19 and ends on August 7. This 50-day virtual walk will allow participants to login via Crowdrise, then record their steps from their fitness tracking device as they imagine themselves walking through the streets of 10 breathtaking countries in Europe.   Let your imagination take you through Europe as you start walking in Spain and end in Italy.  Your donation will help the KHAIR program continue working with teenagers who are at-risk. Visit for more information.



Preparations are taking place for the 10th Anniversary Celebration of the KHAIR Program. We will be inviting former graduates, workshop facilitators, clinicians, hairstylists and barbers, and program officials to take part in the momentous celebration. Details to follow!

KHAIR Spreads Its Wings


This past December, KHAIR extended its services to the Waterbury region and provided a three-day pilot program to seven teenagers from StayWell Health Center. The teenagers participated and were engaged in team activities that included workshops in Self-Esteem, Team Building, Financial Literacy, Social Etiquette, Nutrition Education, and Dress for Success. This was KHAIR’s first effort outside of the city of New Haven, where it has provided successful programming for 10 years.

One of the projects the students worked on was making vision boards. Their goal was to create a physical representation of what they hope to become in the future. The vision boards will serve as a motivational reminder that they have the ability to attain their goals and achieve their dreams. Some of the students aspire to become doctors, nurses, police officers, teachers, and writers.

KHAIR is looking to expand to other cities in Connecticut. “One of our goals is to bring KHAIR to the cities in Connecticut with high rates of at-risk teens,” said Elvin Melendez, program manager. “This program helps young people enhance their skills and raises self-confidence.”

Congratulations to the KHAIR Graduates of StayWell Health Center!

Alyssa French-Graham
Journey Parker
Jenesis Parker
Bath-Sheba Rascoe
Ezra Rascoe
Kira Rincon
Shera Tripp

Melendez added that in order to grow in this way, the program needs financial assistance. KHAIR is currently accepting monetary donations to help with this proposed expansion and its current programming. To make a donation, visit and click the “Donate Now!” button.

If you are interested in participating, volunteering, or hosting our KHAIR program. please call 203.949.4023 or visit

Cooking Matters programming at Clinton Avenue School

cmk-clinton-ave-schoolThis past December and January, Cooking Matters and the 21st Century After School program hosted a six-week Cooking Matters for Kids class at the Clinton Avenue School in New Haven, Connecticut. Each week, Cooking Matters instructor Gina Marie Vecchitto set up her “mobile kitchen” in the school cafeteria so 10 fifth-grade students could learn about nutrition and partake in hands-on cooking. The menus included apple and sunflower seed salad, turkey burgers, chocolate-strawberry French toast, smoothies, stove-top mac ‘n’ cheese, yogurt parfaits, mini-pizzas, and mozzarella sticks.

Surprisingly, it turned out that half of the students remembered  Gina Marie from a spring 2016 Cooking Matters demo at another New Haven school. The short 20-minute nutrition and mindful eating exercise with a single chocolate chip she did then had quite the impact on the kids.


At the final session of the Cooking Matters class, the eight students who attended all of the required classes received certificates of graduation. Many of them said that they really enjoyed learning to cook and hoped to do another class soon.

If you would like to volunteer, donate, or host a Cooking Matters class – visit