We believe everyone should have hope for a better, healthier tomorrow.
Who We Are
MWH is an innovative adaptive fitness, learning, and rehabilitation center based in Shelton, Connecticut. We provide essential rehab, exercise, and skills training to people living with physical disabilities.
Everyone should have the opportunity to move, learn, and be part of a community. That’s why our services are deeply affordable and available year-round.
Nationwide, we are the only organization that offers this level of support.
Our Areas of Treatment
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Car Accident Injuries
Severe Sports Injuries
Spinal Cord Injury
Traumatic Brain Injury
EMPOWERING SURVIVORS, STRENGTHENING COMMUNITIES, AND GIVING HOPE
To empower survivors, strengthen communities, and give hope by providing essential rehab, exercise, and skills training to people living with physical disabilities, year-round and at a deeply affordable price.
All people will achieve optimal recovery so they can lead healthier, happier, and more independent lives.
Our core values help us make decisions, always with our clients at the front and center.
We believe in science and best practices to improve health.
We believe tomorrow will be a better day.
Moving With Health Oriented Physical Education (H.O.P.E.) was started in 2010 by Joanne and Thatcher ‘Tad’ Duni in response to a massive void in their clients' continuum of health and wellness: regular movement.
Moving With Health Oriented Physical Education (Moving With H.O.P.E.) was started in 2010 by Joanne and Thatcher ‘Tad’ Duni in response to a massive void in many of their clients' continuum of health and wellness: regular movement.
Forty years ago, Joanne and Tad both entered professions to help people recover from physical illness and injury. Together, they have served over 25,000 people living with physical disabilities.
Throughout their careers — in which Tad founded Connecticut’s first adaptive fitness center and Joanne worked as a practicing physical therapist and administrator — they have made countless sacrifices to help and heal others. They have a real-world understanding of the barriers for people living with physical disabilities.
Since 2010, MWH has grown into a movement. We have searched the globe for very effective, yet affordable, evidence-based rehab solutions and technologies.
“We have proven that if given the right opportunity, skills, and resources close to home, everyone can and will make progress towards their fitness and recovery goals. Moving everyday matters, and moving everyday makes us happy.”
In 2019, we relocated to a larger facility and added more insurance-based therapies to our existing programs. In 2020, we expanded our support strategies to include job and technology training.
As MWH grows, we look forward to engaging with all stakeholders and communities in order to serve more people throughout the country.
Our Community-Based Public Health Model
Partnerships with Municipal Governments, Providers, Small Businesses, and Nonprofits
We work with all stakeholders to provide coordinated, local, and integrated services. This saves time and money, and improves overall care.
Most of our clients can get all their therapy, rehabilitation, and exercise needs at MWH year round.
People and Partners on the Ground
We find and source new or lightly used gear, equipment, and assistive technology for client use.
We support low to middle-income clients by raising money and accepting donations in order to:
- provide financial aid
- make our sliding scale fee possible
- offer skills and workforce training
- fund outreach, education, and advocacy
Technology-Enabled Education and Disability Awareness
Disability affects us all. It is important that we all learn more about people with disabilities so we can better understand and meet their needs.
That’s why MWH informs and educates communities, like urgent health campaigns of the past. We use print materials, assistive technology, and social media.
Movement Happens When People Come Together
The MWH team benefits from the skill and experience of diverse individuals, expert partner organizations and advisors, and a wise and passionate Board of Directors.
Thatcher 'Tad' Duni
Co-Founder and Clinical Director
Advocate. Movement Scientist. Social Entrepreneur.
Tad is a long-time community leader, having a distinguished career in public health, healthcare administration, corporate health and wellness programming, and nonprofit management. Since its founding in 1984, Tad has been the president of the Life Design Systems, Connecticut’s first adaptive fitness center. Previously, Tad served as the clinical director for the United Healthcare Wellness Center and the Proctor and Gamble Wellness Center. He is a certified Independent Living Skills Training provider and a specialist in Activity-Based Restorative Therapy.
Tad has served on numerous boards and councils throughout Connecticut. He is the founder of the Shelton Day Festival, which celebrates and connects small businesses and community-based organizations in Shelton and Derby. Tad has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Physical Education from Central Connecticut State University. He also holds a Masters in Movement Science and Public Health from Columbia University.
Joanne Duni, PT
Healer. Administrator. Health Enthusiast.
Joanne has over 40 years of experience as a practicing physical therapist and 20 years as an administrator. After receiving her Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy (PT) from Russell Sage College, Joanne joined the staff Yale-New Haven Hospital. From 1978 to 1991, she worked with acute care, outpatient, home care, and short-term rehabilitation patients at the hospital, treating them for neurological, orthopedic, and medical diagnoses. Then, Joanne brought her leadership and therapy skills to HealthSouth, one of the largest providers of post-acute healthcare services nationwide.
From 2008 to 2019, Joanne has overseen the rehabilitation center at the Orthopaedic Specialty Group, the largest and most experienced orthopaedic practice in Fairfield county, serving as both director and director of compliance. She now brings her knowledge and leadership skills to MWH.
Lead Recovery Specialist
Athlete. Leader. Dreamchaser.
Originally from Ghana, Ken immigrated to the United States with his family at the age of nine in search of a better life and more opportunity. He is a graduate of the Church Farm School and has a Bachelor of Science in Economics from St. Mary’s College of Maryland. While enrolled at St. Mary’s, Ken worked for the campus facilities and maintenance department to cover his tuition. He also played for the school’s basketball team. After years of working in the insurance, Ken decided he needed a change and wanted to be part of something bigger. In 2016, Ken joined the MWH team and is now Lead Recovery Specialist. He is a certified Independent Living Skills Training provider and a specialist in Activity-Based Restorative Therapy. Ken loves seeing improvements in clients and the joy it brings them and their loved ones.
Rosangela Quesada, CNA
Mother. Traveler. Life-Long Learner.
Rosangela is passionate about caring for others. She is a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), a certified Independent Living Skills Training provider, and a specialist in Activity-Based Restorative Therapy. Born in Ecuador, Rosangela moved to the United States as a child. She is a graduate of Ansonia High School, St. Vincent’s College, and The Connecticut Center for Massage Therapy. Rosangela feels so lucky to serve her community and help facilitate learning and healing every day.
Mentor. Martial Artist. Survivor.
Kenneth’s passion is teaching others about the healing power of hard work and a positive attitude. In May 2010, Kenneth was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident. After spending months in a coma, he started his long road to recovery and independence. Today, Kenneth is certified Independent Living Skills Training provider and a specialist in Activity-Based Restorative Therapy. He strives for excellence every day and believes that everyone should have hope for a better tomorrow. Kenneth is a proud graduate of Ansonia High School, where he was an outstanding athlete and football player.
Melinda Costello, COTA
Problem-Solver. Enthusiast. Team-Player.
Melinda brings a positive attitude to any situation. She is dedicated to providing consistent, high-quality, and client-centered therapy everyday. As a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA), Melinda collaborates with therapists, caregivers, family members, doctors, and clients to create and implement interventions to improve standing tolerance, core strength, upper and lower extremity stretching, range of motion, flexion and extension, and fine and gross motor skills. Melinda is also a certified Independent Living Skills Training provider and a specialist in Activity-Based Restorative Therapy. She is a graduate of Goodwin College and a life-long Connecticut resident.
Life Designs ReAbility Center
A ReAbility Affiliate
Shelton High School
Transitional Education Program
reSET Social Enterprise Trust
Impact Accelerator Program
Sacred Heart University
Graduate Occupational Therapy Program
The Kennedy Center
Developmentally Delayed Outreach Program
United Spinal Association
Retired / Disability Rights Advocate
Greenwich Public Schools
Sean Choun, MBA
Audit Senior Manager
Director, Powerful Tools for Caregivers
Christopher and Dana Reeves Foundation
Developmental Therapist /Service Coordinator
Thatcher ‘Tad’ Duni
Director / Managing Partner
LifeDesigns ReAbility Center
Board Chair & Co-Founder
Executive Director - North America
SAPPI Paper Company
Joanne Duni, PT
Director, Physical Rehabilitation
LifeDesigns ReAbility Center
Board Member & Co-Chair
Patrick Grella, MBA
Retired / Disability Rights Advocate
ITT Flygt Corp.
Monica M. Valerio
Founder & Sole Proprietor
Freedom Disability, Inc.