13 Dec

Language Meets Nutrition in New Workshops

November 2017 — This fall LSA kicked off a seven-week indigenous language, cooking and nutrition workshop. The program is being offered in partnership with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Endangered Language Alliance. The Endangered Language Alliance (ELA) is an independent non-profit based in New York City that documents underdescribed and endangered languages, educating a larger public and collaborating with communities.

Through the workshop, LSA hopes to positively impact the nutrition and health habits of the community of indigenous language speakers in East Harlem. The participants primarily speak Nahuatl, Mixteco and Mam, and are engaged in other programs within LSA.

The first session took place the week of Thanksgiving, and featured a turkey seasoned with a homemade sofrito, the original recipe of our own Inginia Garcia, Director of the early childhood socialization groups in our Parenting and Child Development department.

Here’s the recipe!

Inginia’s Sofrito

1 pound of small sweet peppers (ajicito dulce)
1 pound of garlic
1/2 pound of cilantro
3 onions
3 bunches of scallions
1 red or green pepper
1 1/2 cup of olive oil
1 cup of vinegar
1 cup of water
1/2 cup of teriyaki with garlic
6-12 cubes of chicken boullion


  • Wash all vegetables and cut into small pieces
  • Blend all vegetables together (in a blender of food processor)
  • Add 1 cup of water, 1 ½ cup of olive oil and stir

Use as needed to season meat, stews, rice, vegetables, etc.

Can be stored in the freezer for up so a year.

Thanksgiving Turkey

Inginia Garcia with a turkey she prepared.

Above: The ELA leads a group of parents from LSA programs.

11 Dec

Weaving Stories of Hope

SAORI weaving with Building Bridges

Mothers in the Building Bridges art therapy group learned to express themselves through weaving, with the help of teachers from SAORI Arts NYC.  On Dec. 14th, the group held an exhibit of work completed throughout the fall session and a celebration, which included communal weaving and dancing.  See photos of the fun event, below.

For several sessions, mothers have had the opportunity to learn SAORI weaving techniques from Yukako Satone, founder of Loop of the Loom weaving studio and a SAORI certified instructor.  With guidance from LSA’s art therapist and mental health counselor, Monica Sanchez, members of the group have used the weaving process to work through their own personal stories.

SAORI is a form of free-style weaving. It brings the joy of creative expression and individual sense of accomplishment to each of our participants and builds a sense of community among them.

The Building Bridges Art Therapy Group is fortunate to have formed a partnership with SAORI Arts NYC (SANYC), a non-profit organization that brings this healing art to people suffering from complex trauma as well as people with developmental, physical and emotional challenges.


Building Bridges Exhibit, December 2017


05 Dec

Breathing Easier

Environmental Health Services - Family

Yazmin’s family had no furniture in their one-room apartment, only a single mattress leaning against the wall.  Her baby suffered from lead exposure, and her oldest son had bad allergies and Asthma symptoms due to the poor conditions of the apartment.

In East Harlem, health conditions due to poor housing are all too common. The rates of emergency room visits related to childhood asthma are disproportionately higher in East Harlem compared to other communities.

To help families breathe easier, Community Health Workers from LSA  work closely with families to improve the conditions of their homes and advocate with landlords to make needed repairs.

“LSA has been focused on the asthma issue for over a decade,” explained our Program Director, Ray Lopez in a 2015 Dateline NBC special on asthma called Breathless. “We’ve been working hands-on with families at home to eliminate mold, pests and toxins so they can breathe again.”

Rosario, one of LSA’s skilled Community Health Workers, made regular visits with Yazmin to improve the air quality in her apartment.  LSA provided the family with a new bed, play pen and storage bins. The family was also loaned a HEPA vacuum cleaner and provided integrated pest management, including vacuuming, cleaning, and sealing cracks and holes.

Today, the environmental asthma triggers are under control, the health of the children has improved and Yazmin and her family have a new, more positive outlook for the future.

“The situation was very sad when I met her, but now to see the smile on her face is all I need,” Rosario said.

“We’re very happy,” Yazmin said, describing how her son’s asthma has improved.  “He used to have a lot of problems, a lot of allergies.  Little Sisters really helped to improve our quality of life and the quality of life of our children.”

A 2017 report published by the New York Academy of Medicine described the impact of our program in reducing childhood asthma symptoms. Learn more.

LSA relies on the support of individuals to continue to providing services like this to families facing challenges to their health and well-being.

Help us make a difference and make a donation today.


22 Nov

Holiday Turkeys Distributed Throughout November

Turkey Distribution

We’re distributing 500 holiday turkeys this November, thanks to the GenNx Foundation

During the month of November, our food pantry is making an effort to distribute turkeys to every registered family that wants one for their holiday meal.  This distribution is possible through the GenNx Foundation, which is hosting a holiday turkey drive with the goal of funding 500 turkeys!

With the support of the GenNx Foundation drive and other sources, we anticipate that, by the end of the month, we will have distributed at least 500 turkeys, in addition to roaster chickens and other cooking staples to families enrolled in our food pantry.

In the first week alone, we gave out about 184 turkeys, plus roaster chickens.

Each month, food distributed by our pantry feeds approximately 2,000 people facing food insecurity in the neighborhood of East Harlem.  Learn more about holiday giving opportunities.

Above: The food pantry gets stocked with turkeys for distrubtion.


Jim and Kimberley from GenNx volunteered in our food pantry, distributing turkeys for families.


Turkey Distribution

A mom gets a turkey at her monthly food pantry visit.



Turkey Distribution

An LSA client picks up a turkey for her holiday dinner.

16 Nov

Holiday Volunteer and Giving Opportunities

During this season of giving, LSA Family Health Service looks to local retailers, schools, churches and individuals to support our programs through volunteerism and donations that help make the season brighter for East Harlem families in crisis.

There are many ways to support LSA Family Health Service and our neighbors in need:

  • Donate funds
  • Organize a Fundraiser or Drive for food, clothing, diapers, baby formula (Enfamil or Similac)
  • Donate toys for children, new & unwrappedOffer ‘gifts-in-kind’ from your store or business
  • Donate gently-used clothing and housewares to our thrift store – find more details and request a free pick-up at thesharingplacenyc.com
  • Volunteer at our center!

Download our Holiday Gift Donation Form and enclose it with any donations of toys or other holiday gifts for LSA Family.  (To submit the form by email: save the PDF first, then open with Adobe Acrobat)

Download our Holiday Volunteering & Giving Flyer

To volunteer, offer gifts in kind, donate toys or organize a fundraiser, contact Trish Gough, Director of Volunteer Services: tgough@lsafhs.org or call 646.672.5200.

To donate gently-used clothing and housewares to our Sharing Place Thrift Store, email sharingplace@lsafhs.org. Visit the store online for more information: thesharingplacenyc.com

To make a donation online, click here or mail a check to LSA Family Health Service, 333 East 115th Street, New York, NY 10029.


Donations may be dropped off at:
LSA Family Health Service
333 East 115th Street, between 1st & 2nd Avenue
New York, NY 10029
Hours: Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm; Saturday, 10am-5pm (thrift store only)
Please submit the donation form on the back of this flyer along with your donation.

10 Nov

Know Your Rights

Know Your Rights Workshop

Know Your Rights workshops inform and prepare immigrants and their damilies

The neighborhood of East Harlem has traditionally been a home to immigrants, from its roots as the city’s first Little Italy, to its transformation to “El Barrio” and the recent influx of immigrants from China, Africa and the Middle East.

Having an Immigration Outreach Coordinator on staff helps LSA to respond quickly to the flood of questions that arise when something changes with immigration policy. Melina Gonzalez has been in the role since July. The position was previously held by client advocate Pura Cruz. Through a partnership with Action NYC (from the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs), Melina conducts Know Your Rights workshops at schools, churches, food pantries and other locations throughout the community.

In addition, she makes appointments for individuals seeking legal help to meet with free legal advisors through CUNY Citizenship Now! and Legal Aid Society. On average she schedules about 50 such appointments each month, and clients meet with the legal advisor at LSA—in other words, in their own community.

Her message is for families to be organized, informed and prepared. “They need to know what their rights are, they need to have their documents organized, and their children need to have their passports,” Melina said.

The demand for the Know Your Rights workshop remains great. Churches and schools have reached out to Melina to conduct the workshop for their communities. “People are interested in knowing how to be prepared,” she said.

10 Nov

Maternal Health Study

Maternal Health Nursing

Mount Sinai Medical Students Study LSA Maternal Health Data

How are we doing? What’s changing? Where are we going? These are the kinds of questions medical students are trying to answer as they examine maternal health data from the Nursing program at LSA Family Health Service.

The agency’s nurses treat prenatal and postpartum mothers and their babies who have been referred by their doctors for ongoing care. Over the last five years, medical students from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have been culling data to understand the impact of the program on the health of mothers and babies.

“We can use the data to try to develop more services and interventions for the women.”

The research takes into consideration a range of health and social factors, such as gestational age, birth weight, mental health risk, diabetes and food insecurity. For example, more than a third of mothers reported that they have no one to call in times of crisis. Recognizing the high rate of social isolation can help our nurses better understand how to support the mental health of mothers in the program.

“This is a program evaluation to look at the high risk population served and the importance of the program in impacting the lives of women who have no one to turn to other than LSA,” said Dr. Elizabeth Garland of Mount Sinai. Dr. Garland is the Division Director for Preventive Medicine and Community Health and manages the maternal health research initiative.

Dr. Garland stressed the value of looking at data over a number of years to uncover health trends in the community. For example, our nurses knew that they were seeing more and more complex cases. The data shows that this is quantifiably the case, with increased rates of preeclampsia and cases with multiple diagnoses. “We can use the data to try to develop more services and interventions for the women,” said Dr. Garland.

The rich data has been presented at many national pediatric meetings, most recently at the New York State Pediatric Advocacy Coalition annual conference. Ultimately, the goal is to better serve mothers in our community and share what we’ve learned with others.

Photo by Micah Rubin

17 Oct

Thank you! 2017 Spirit of East Harlem Gala

Our thanks to everyone who participated in the 2017 Spirit of East Harlem gala! The event raised close to $1,000,000 for our health, education and support services for families in crisis. Amazing!
It’s not too late to participate in the gala!

Please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution to keep our health, education and family support programs going in 2018.  CLICK HERE TO DONATE.

Click the left and right arrows to scroll through photos from the evening.

2017 Spirit of East Harlem Gala

Event photos by Metin Oner. Step & repeat photos by Kaddy Tsang.

The Spirit of East Harlem Gala is is an occasion for supporters to celebrate the impact and contribute toward the success of LSA Family Health Service’s programs for children and families.

The event honored: The Deerfield Foundation, Corporate Spirit Award; Chita Rivera, Lifetime Spirit Award; and Ralph A. Siciliano, Esq., Community Spirit Award.

Guests enjoyed a Tribute to Chita Rivera, featuring songs from her ground-breaking career performed by Doreen Montalvo. Doreen Montalvo is a theatre/ television/ film performer and recording artist, currently playing Gloria Estefan’s mother “Gloria Fajardo” in the hit Broadway musical “On Your Feet” at the Marquis Theatre.

Read a press release about the event


We salute the 2017 Spirit of East Harlem Sponsors!

How does LSA make a difference for families? 

In the video below, two mothers share their stories.

17 Oct

Video: Spirit of East Harlem 2017

Each year, LSA provides over 2,000 families with health, education and family support services.  In 1958, our founders began providing nursing care to mothers in East Harlem.  Today, we still offer maternal health nursing, with additional programs that strengthen whole families, including new immigrants to our community.  In this video, two mothers share their LSA story.

06 Oct

Fall at LSA

Fall is a busy time for LSA programs!

Here are some highlights of exciting things happening at each of our programs.

Early childhood and youth programs start for fall!
Early childhood socialization groups started meeting on September 18th. About 80 families will be participating in classes for parents and children 0-3 years old. Our intensive work with families sets the stage for future learning by keeping children on track during this critical period for brain development.

This fall we’re partnering with NYU on a language development intervention for children 12 to 19 months old. The intervention includes home visits and workshops to help families increase language exposure during everyday family routines, like mealtimes. Increased language exposure at this age can help children with brain and language development.

New and veteran volunteer after school tutors gather for fall orientation

After school tutoring and homework help for children in kindergarten through 3rd grade begins on October 11th. Students also participate in socio-emotional groups that use books as a tool to develop self-esteem and emotional wellbeing while building reading skills. We thank the wonderful volunteer tutors who help children improve math and reading skills throughout the year!

Environmental Health: Community Health Worker Report
A new report based on research conducted by our Environmental Health team and the New York Academy of Medicine was recently released. The findings will be presented at the American Health Association Conference on November 8th.  Learn more and read the report here:  Community Health Worker Report.

Nursing: Welcome Jean Sale-Shaw!
We welcomed a new Director of Patient Services and Nursing: Jean Sale-Shaw, MS, MPH, RN, AE-C . For the last 17 years, first in tuberculosis control, and more recently in asthma programming, Jean has worked at the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, witnessing the trend that brought chronic disease prevention under the purview of public health. She says: “While I have worked in acute care of adults – general medicine; drug and alcohol detoxification – I found myself early on taking the long view of health and wellness, meaning that in many cases, the solution to the health problem cannot be fit into the hospital or clinic visit alone.”

Advocacy: Know-your-rights workshops and food support
Our Advocacy department continues to help connect families with resources and to provide food assistance. Fresh local organic produce through a collaboration with Local Produce Link (a program of United Way of NYC and Just Food), has been a highlight of the summer and early fall for families visiting our pantry. In addition, our Immigration Outreach Organizer, Melina Gonzalez, has been conducting Know Your Rights workshops in at LSA and at other locations in the community.

Vegetables from the pantry were used to give visitors to LSA a cooking lesson.

Find your Halloween costume at The Sharing Place!
The Sharing Place Thrift Store held a special Designer Sale on Columbus Day Weekend. The store offers special deals every week. Right now the store has fall clothing available and has many Halloween costumes for babies, children and adults.

Halloween costumes and more can be found at our thrift store.