Successful year for KHAIR: See the Graduation!

Year In Review

The KHAIR program had an outstanding year helping teens build skills for their best future. This year, KHAIR had a 90% graduation rate and a 70% perfect attendance rate with programming in the Winter, Spring and Fall.


We would like to extend our enthusiastic appreciation to our dedicated group of volunteers, interns and workshop facilitators who helped this year. We could not have done it without your support. We also wish to thank our clinical partners, collegiate institutions and our network of hair stylists and barbers. Your desire to want to see young people succeed is evident. We appreciate you.

Thank you, everyone, for your part in making this a successful year!

Our new belief statement adapted in 2016:

Kids are Health when they have a positive Attitude and are Inspired to Reflect on their unique qualities.

Fall KHAIR Classic Graduation


Families, friends and invited guests witnessed 10 participants graduate from the KHAIR program on Saturday, November 5. The day was filled with excitement as staff and volunteers prepared the atrium at the Wilson Library Branch of NHFPL.

Graduates received certificates of completion; some also received perfect attendance awards, which included a gift card to Ashley’s Ice Cream  and a one-time hair service appointment from one of our participating stylists or barbers. In addition, all graduates received a $25 gift card from our Dress for Success workshop facilitator, the Gap.

Our guest speaker, Dr. Sheryl L. W. Barnes, encouraged the graduates to pursue their dreams and attain their goals. She stressed that that they have the power to change their future and they should be proactive in making decisions that will empower their lives. Towards the end of the program, Angela Acevedo, a 17-year-old KHAIR graduate, graced us with her voice as she sang an encouraging song with a message of resilience.

Congratulations KHAIR graduates!


Over $3,000 raised for Cooking Matters; plus our Special Olympics Connecticut Program in New Haven

Over $3,000 raised during Cooking Matters Month!

November we celebrated our annual Cooking Matters Connecticut month with a 30-day fundraiser. We highlighted our program and its participants all month long. We would like to say thank you to our corporate donors :

  • Stop & Shop Supermarkets
  • Mountain Rose Herbs
  • Lipper International Inc.
  • Tovolo


 Special Olympics Connecticut Program at Wilbur Cross High School!



From October 17 – November 21st, Cooking Matters hosted a class at Wilbur Cross High School sponsored by Special Olympics, where some of the kids are Special Olympics Connecticut  athletes.  10 teens participated in the early Monday morning program with Cooking Matters instructor Gina Marie Vecchitto. Most of the students were on a non-verbal spectrum and started off a little reserved and quiet the first few classes. As the sessions progressed, every student became more and more comfortable with both Gina Marie and the student volunteers.

Throughout the 6-week course the teens actively and enthusiastically engaged in preparing different kinds of recipes from the chopping, measuring, stirring, and completing all of the necessary tasks to enjoy the final meal which consisted of Veggie Pizzas on English Muffins, Mozzarella Sticks, tomato sauce and black bean brownies. By graduation day, every student was speaking and engaging more and expressed looking forward to the next class session. Instructor Gina Marie said, “This was an amazing group of teens and I can’t wait to work with them again!”

Visit for more information about our program!

A Moment in Time: KHAIR Pilot Program graduates!


(Pictured left to right:Joerenid, Yolanda, DayJon, Nicole, Di-Angelita)

On Thursday, February 4th, five participants graduated from the KHAIR six-week pilot session. The KHAIR six-week pilot is a shortened version of the KHAIR classic 12-week program. The students met at the New Haven Free Public Library and attended workshops on Self-Esteem, Visionary Goal Setting, and Nutrition Education.

Joerenid Caban, Nicole Vazquez, Yolanda Hernandez, Di-Angelita Valle Santiago and DayJon Bentley each have their own unique determination, charisma, and sense of style. Over the course of their six-week KHAIR program, they banded together to set laudable goals and enhance their sense of self-worth.

Congratulations to our KHAIR Pilot Program graduates!  We wish you each much success in your future endeavors.


First Wilbur Cross High School KHAIR graduates!


(Pictured from left to right :Justin M., Ashley, Jaquasia, Danae, Yaqueline, Justin, Leah , Angeliz)

On Wednesday, February 3, eight students from the Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven completed KHAIR’s – The Road to Success pilot program.  This was a new six-week program consisting of a series of workshops for juniors and seniors in preparation for life after high school. The group met every Wednesday after school and participated in a new workshop each week covering Visionary Goal Setting, Dress For Success, Nutrition Education, Social Etiquette, Financial Literacy and Enhancing Me.

Assistant Principal, Monica Joyner, told the graduates “I am so happy to see you all complete this program!  You are our inaugural group for KHAIR at Wilbur Cross High School.”

A favorite workshop of Leah Rivers, a junior and a KHAIR – The Road to Success participant, was Nutrition Education. Rivers said, “in addition to exercising, nutrition plays an important role in living healthy”. The Nutrition Education class was facilitated by Nargis Karampurwala, from Cooking Matters CT, who taught the students about the 5 food groups while they learned to prepare simple recipes such as hummus, fruit salad and a parfait made with low fat yogurt and dried fruits.


(Pictured : Leah Rivers)

Elvin Melendez, KHAIR Program Manager, led the new pilot program and reflected on its success,”I am excited about this partnership and I’m in the process of promoting our next module which starts in March. I want to see more students participate and experience the benefits of the Enhancing me workshop”.

Congratulations to our first graduates – Jaquasia Bowman, Justin Gomez-Stafford, Angeliz Gonzalez, Yaqueline Manzanares, Justin McLaurin, Danae Rivers, Leah Rivers, and Ashley Sanchez. They are all great kids who embraced this new program and are now better prepared for their lives after high school.


A Modern Tea is celebrating its 10th Anniversary, and you’re invited!


What began in 2006 as a heart health event for women has grown into a spectacular annual affair promoting health and wellness for the residents of Greater New Haven. Hosted by the Community Health Network of Connecticut Foundation, Inc., A Modern Tea heads into its second decade on April 16th at a new and larger venue, the Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale.

There is something for everyone at this year’s A Modern Tea, which celebrates this milestone anniversary with the theme “The Heart of the Matter.” No matter what your health care goals may be, our lineup of fun and informative workshops will provide you with information on how to live a healthier life. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about different kinds of tea that can help fight certain health issues. Perhaps you’d like to broaden your knowledge of wine and how it can be a part of a healthy lifestyle. These enticing subjects are just two of our six workshop topics available to you.


Since shopping is good for the heart, our guests will also be able to browse and purchase wonderful items at our one-of-a-kind Heart Boutique. Guests can even take a chance on winning by participating in our exciting raffle or bidding on one of our fabulous auction items.

Registration is open now and space is limited, so reserve your spot at this milestone affair today! Visit to learn more about the event and to purchase your tickets.

Come and celebrate with us at A Modern Tea – The Heart of the Matter!

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