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.

03 Oct

Spirit of East Harlem Gala, October 16, 2017

2017 Spirit of East Harlem Gala

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.  Founded by the Little Sisters of the Assumption, LSA has been an anchor of the East Harlem community since 1958, serving over 2,000 families annually through health, education and family support programs that strengthen families and help children reach their full potential.

Learn more at: spiritofeastharlem.com.


We’re thrilled to announce our 2017 Spirit of East Harlem gala honorees!

 

Deerfield Foundation

Corporate Spirit Award
The Deerfield Foundation
Supporting healthcare initiatives that benefit children from underserved communities and all people that have disease or need healthcare services

Chita Rivera

Lifetime Spirit Award
Chita Rivera
Actress, Dancer & Singer
Recipient, Presidential Medal of Freedom

Ralph Sicilano, Esq.

Community Spirit Award
Ralph A. Siciliano, Esq.
LSA Board Member & Former Board Chair, 1987 – present
Partner, Tannenbaum, Helpern, Syracuse & Hirschtritt LLP

As role models and advocates, the honorees at our Spirit of East Harlem gala on October 16th have each made unique contributions to the well-being of families in New York City.
We invite you to join us in celebrating their spirit!


Doreen Montalvo

Doreen Montalvo

SPECIAL PERFORMANCE!
A Tribute to Chita Rivera
Performed by Doreen Montalvo

Guests at the Spirit of East Harlem will enjoy 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. She recently released a solo album “American Soul/ Latin Heart,” a song from which was pre-selected for 2017 Latin Grammy consideration. She was an original cast member of the Tony Award winning “In The Heights,” and is a recipient of a 2007 Drama Desk award for best ensemble.

PRESS RELEASE (download)

Chita Rivera

Broadway Legend Chita Rivera to Receive Lifetime Spirit Award at the Spirit of East Harlem Gala

LSA Family Health Service event expected to raise $1 million for health and education programs for low-income New Yorkers

New York, NY – Broadway legend Chita Rivera will be presented a Lifetime Spirit Award on October 16th at the Spirit of East Harlem gala for LSA Family Health Service.  Also being honored that evening are Ralph Siciliano, Esq. and The Deerfield Foundation. The event is expected to raise over a million dollars to improve the health and wellbeing of families living in poverty in East Harlem and surrounding communities.

“I’m thrilled that the Little Sisters of the Assumption (LSA) Family Health Service have chosen to honor me with their Lifetime Spirit Award,” said Ms. Rivera.  “This steadfast organization stands for so many things that I believe in—strength of families, diversity, dignity, justice and so much more.”

“Chita Rivera’s ground-breaking career is deeply inspirational and important to people of Hispanic descent everywhere, but particularly in our community of East Harlem where families, especially children, face profound obstacles to success,” stated Reada Edelstein, CEO of LSA Family Health Service.  “Her accomplishments stand as an example of what can be achieved when innate talent is nurtured in a supportive environment and brought to fruition through hard work and commitment.”

The evening will include a musical tribute to Chita Rivera, 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. She recently released a solo album “American Soul/ Latin Heart,” a song from which was pre-selected for 2017 Latin Grammy consideration. She was an original cast member of the Tony Award winning “In The Heights,” and is a recipient of a 2007 Drama Desk award for best ensemble.

The Corporate Spirit Award will be presented to The Deerfield Foundation for its commitment to healthcare initiatives that benefit children from underserved communities and all people that have disease or need healthcare services.  It has been a long-time supporter of LSA’s environmental health and nursing programs, which seek to reduce the disproportionally high rates of asthma and infant mortality in East Harlem.

Ralph Siciliano, Esq. will be presented the Community Spirit Award.  Mr. Siciliano served for many years as the chairman of the board of directors of LSA Family Health Service and remains an active board member, helping to lead the agency through a period of transition and growth.  Mr. Siciliano is a partner at Tannenbaum, Helpern, Syracuse & Hirschtritt LLP.

John Capetta and Virginia Chambers, LSA board members and co-chairs of the event, commended the contributions of the honorees.  “In addition to her accomplishments as an entertainer and role model, Chita Rivera has given her time and support to AIDS-related organizations and campaigns for public health throughout her career,” said Mr. Capetta.  “The Deerfield Foundation has been a steadfast partner with LSA in improving health outcomes in the East Harlem community, and Ralph Siciliano is a tireless advocate for children and families.”   Ms. Chambers added: “LSA Family Health Service is honored to recognize the impressive contributions that the Spirit of East Harlem honorees have made to New York.”

The Spirit of East Harlem is endorsed by a number of elected and appointed officials, including Diego Gomez Pickering, Consul General of Mexico in New York, and United States Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.

The gala will take place on the evening of Monday, October 16, 2017, at Guastavino’s in Manhattan. More than 400 guests are expected to attend the event, which raises essential funding for LSA Family Health Service’s health, education, and family support programs.

Event information and detailed honoree bios can be found at the event website: SpiritofEastHarlem.com.

CONTACT: Asari Beale, Director of Communications 646-672-5200.

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LSA Family Health Service, founded by the Little Sisters of the Assumption, strengthens and empowers vulnerable families and children by meeting their basic needs for food, healthcare, education and a safe home, in the belief that affirming families in their own dignity improves the entire community.  It reaches some of the most marginalized families in New York City and helps them overcome the barriers that poverty and isolation pose to family health and wellbeing.

28 Sep

#PayItForward: Motivating Teens to Serve

PayItForward Student Panel

September 27, 2017 — “Every one of us is part of the community we’re in.  You’re either contributing or detracting from it.”

This is what Marina Hunt, a graduate of the Spence School, took away from her high school volunteer experience.  Marina joined a panel of student volunteers at #PayItForward, a forum on youth community service hosted by LSA Family Health Service and Convent of the Sacred Heart School.


Learn about volunteer opportunities at LSA!


Additional speakers included Adam Garner of DoSomething.org; Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a neuropsychologist and certified school psychologist; Dr. Cappy Collins, a pediatrician who engages youth in community health programs; Naomi Varnis, an admissions director at Columbia University; and India LaRoda, Miss India America 2017 and a former Special Olympics volunteer with extensive service experience.

Audience members included a mix of students, parents and educators.  Their main questions were: what kind of service experience is most valuable for middle and high school students?  How can they get started? And how does it help them in the long term?

Naomi Varnis said, when she’s considering college applications “there is no one right type of service.  It’s about the quality of engagement that you have.”

For example, she said, volunteering with an organization over a long period shows that a student is really committed to its mission. “That kind of work can help students understand their role in the community.”

“When you are volunteering you are figuring out who you are as a person, how you interact with the world, and how you engage with other people,” said Dr. Sanam Hafeez.   She pointed out that the teen years are essential years for self discovery, and volunteering can play a positive role in helping teens understand and define themselves.


“Being a professional, doesn’t mean wearing a suit and tie.  It can be giving someone a box of cereal so their children can have food in the morning, or a bag of rice so they can have food at night.”

– Cristo Rey student Nathanael Hinds, on what he learned as a volunteer


The student panelist shared how volunteering changed their view of the world and of themselves.  “Through service, I have become more of an activist,” said Grace Wilson, student body president of Convent of the Sacred Heart who taught young children at the school’s student-run HEART summer camp.

Nathanael Hinds, a student of Cristo Rey New York High School who volunteered at the LSA food pantry throughout his sophomore year in high school, said volunteering opened his eyes to careers that can make a difference in the world.  “Being a professional,” he said, “doesn’t mean wearing a suit and tie.  It can be giving someone a box of cereal so their children can have food in the morning, or a bag of rice so they can have food at night.”

For students who don’t know where to start when it comes to volunteering, India LaRoda’s advice is for students to look to their own interests. “Think about what you’re passionate about,” she said.  “That will make you want to volunteer.”  Her own experience volunteering with the Special Olympics in middle school inspired her current work as a behavioral interventionist for children with special needs.

Adam Garner, campaigns manager at DoSomething.org, an online platform that motivates young people to make positive change, described the spirit of service as the desire to help others without the need for personal recognition.  He summed it up saying simply:  “If you can help, you help.”

#PayItForward was organized by the Parents Committee of LSA Family Health Service, a group committed to engaging youth in service at the East Harlem nonprofit.  The event was cohosted by the Covent of the Sacred Heart School and sponsored by Carnegie Hill Neighbors and Gourmet Garage.

PayItForward India LaRoda

India LaRoda and guests; India shared insight from her extensive volunteer experience.

PayItForward Guests

Students of Convent of the Sacred Heart school shared in the spirit of the event by volunteering to distribute materials and assist guests.

PayItForward Adam Garner

Adam Garner shared his personal take on what volunteering is really about.

PayItForward Student Panel

Student volunteers described what they learned from their service experiences.

PayItForward Expert Panel

Speakers described the benefits for teens engaged in service.

25 Sep

New Report: Community Health Workers Combat Asthma

NYAM CHW Report

LSA and the New York Academy of Medicine Report on an Innovative Approach to Reducing Childhood Asthma Symptoms

September 2017 — A new report from the Academy and Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service focuses on an innovative Community Health Worker (CHW) program which assists low-income families in addressing conditions that exacerbate childhood asthma. It describes program services and their impact from the perspective of participants, who note the importance of education, skill-building and advocacy for addressing unhealthy housing conditions.

The CHWs in our Environmental Health program are a first line of defense in health care.  As described in this report, CHWs helped families to develop knowledge and skills to reduce household asthma triggers; in addition, CHWs and became important advocates, helping families to settle of complaints with housing management.

As a result of LSA’s innovative approach to community health, 80% of school children in the program had fewer or no urgent care or emergency room visits as a result of asthma.

The findings and recommendations offer useful insights for modeling similar programs in cities nationwide.

DOWNLOAD THE REPORT

Lead authors Linda Weiss, PhD, and Ray Lopez are available for interviews or background. Media contact: Asari Beale, LSA Family Health Service, 646-672-5200.

25 Sep

Relief Efforts for Mexico and Puerto Rico

United for Mexico and PR

A large number of LSA families are not only from Mexico, but are from the states that were most impacted by recent earthquakes.  In addition, a number of families, staff and community members are Puerto Rican and have family members on the island.

LSA is committed to helping those that are most vulnerable.  We are joining with others to collect items to support those impacted by these natural disasters.

RELIEF FOR MEXICO

LSA is partnering with MASA to collect goods specifically for people in towns in the states of Puebla and Morelos, where there is high need and where help thus far has been limited.  We will be accepting donations THIS WEEK, Monday through Friday, September 25th-29th, at LSA between 9am and 7pm.  LSA is located at 333 East 115th Street, between 1st and 2nd Avenue.  Please let the receptionist know that the donations are for Mexico relief efforts.  See the flyer below for additional locations in the Bronx and Brooklyn.  The items we are requesting are:

  • Food: canned food, milk powder, sugar, salt, coffee
  • First Aid items: guaze, bandages, alcohol, medicine, gloves, soap, antibiotic cream, mouth masks, aspirin, ibuprofen
  • Hygiene products: soap, sanitary towels, diapers, toilet paper, shampoo, deoderant, toothpaste, toothbrushes
  • sleeping bags, blankets, sheets

RELIEF FOR PUERTO RICO

LSA is supporting the City’s relief efforts to collect critically-needed items for Puerto Rico. Donations of the items listed below can be dropped off at 18 firehouses and EMS stations across the five boroughs. The drop-off site located in East Harlem is Engine 28/ Ladder 11: 242 E. 111th Street, New York, NY 11220. A complete list of drop-off locations can be found here. Itens that will be accepted include:

  • diapers
  • baby food
  • batteries
  • first aid supplies
  • feminine hygiene products.

Donations will be accepted during the hours of 7 am through 9 pm.  Please be aware that FDNY members at these locations may not be present during drop-off hours if they are responding to an emergency.  Also, please note that the City is only collecting the items listed above.


 

10 Feb

Borough Excellence Award

Food Bank for NYC Borough Excellence Award

LSA’s Advocacy and Food Pantry Program was awarded a ‘Borough Excellence Award’ by Food Bank for NYC

New York, NY – February 7, 2017 – LSA was presented the Borough Excellence Award at the Food Bank for NYC’s Conference on Hunger and Poverty on February 7, 2017 at the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square.  The award distinguished LSA’s food pantry as among the best in the entire borough of Manhattan.

The food pantry at LSA Family Health Service is part of the Advocacy and Food Pantry program.  It feeds, on average, 1,900 individuals a month in a grocery store style, client-choice pantry.  The demographic served by the pantry is the primarily immigrant, low-income community of East Harlem, which has been marked for decades as having among the poorest health outcomes for children in New York City, including having among the highest rates of asthma, childhood obesity, and infant mortality.

Providing healthy food options is an important aspect of the pantry.  It offers fresh locally farmed produce during the growing season, through United Way of NYC and Just Food’s Local Produce Link program.  It has also received fresh produce from Grow NYC and even a local community garden.  Cooking demonstrations throughout the year show families how to cook with the vegetables being offered in the pantry.  And a Community CookShop class – in partnership with Food Bank for NYC and the Mario Batali Foundation – teaches families how to shop for and cook healthy meals on a limited budget.

The Advocacy program serves as a primary entry point for LSA’s family support services.  In 2016, the program’s five staff members facilitated 6,863 client visits for food and 7,642 client visits for services. These included one-on-one meetings with families to understand and address their needs.  Key partnerships allow the Advocacy program to connect families with free legal help to prevent evictions and help enrolling in Medicaid.  As a member of the ActionNYC initiative through the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, the agency has been doing extensive outreach throughout the city to connect immigrants with free legal support.

LSA is deeply honored for the recognition of the Borough Excellence Award.

Food Bank award

LSA client advocates receive the Borough Excellence award at the Food Bank for NYC Conference on Hunger and Poverty.

11 Nov

Protecting the American Dream

Updated: February 1, 2017

LSA Family Health Service stands with immigrants, refugees and people of all faiths, and supports national and local policies that preserve and protect the rights of immigrant families.  LSA will continue to provide Health & Wellness programs and Family Support services without regard to immigration status.  We are committed to the families of East Harlem. We are friends and neighbors, and we work together to make the community better for everyone regardless of country of origin, religion, or ethnicity.  

November 11, 2016

Dear Friend,

Elections, by their very nature, create uncertainty about the future.  For the families LSA serves, the vast majority of them first or second generation immigrants, the uncertainty they live with every day is now amplified.

LSA Family Health Service is uniquely positioned to address this heightened uncertainty.  We are located in a largely immigrant neighborhood, and our history has been one of meeting the unique needs of this population.  Our Parenting and Child Development program is, in essence, an immigrant socialization program for young families, our Advocacy/Food Pantry program offers assistance with benefits access and legal problems, and our Home Nursing and Environmental Health programs provide essential health services regardless of status.

Because of our expertise, location, and mission, we are going to double-down on services.

We are focusing our efforts to make sure these services continue at this critical point.  And we are reaching out to our clients and community to let them know that we stand steadfastly with them, and are prepared to help and support them in any way we can, as we always have.

In New York City, the positive impact immigrants have made in the last 40 years is profound.  According to the Americas Society and Council of the Americas (AS/COA)*:

  • Crime tends to fall faster in precincts receiving more immigrants. For every 1 percent increase in a precinct’s population due to immigration, an average of 966 fewer crimes are committed each year.
  •  Immigration is responsible for reversing New York City’s population decline, helping the economy to thrive once again. Without the immigrants that arrived since 1980, the city’s property tax base would be $500 billion lower than it is today.
  • Immigrants are contributing to the personal wealth of city homeowners. The roughly 2 million immigrants who have arrived in New York since the 1980s are responsible for a $188 billion boost to home equity citywide.

At LSA, the immigrants we know are parents who go without in order to provide for their children. They work 12, 15, 18 hours a day at the lowest paying jobs, in order to provide their children the best opportunity for the future they can give. They come to us eager to contribute to the greater society, and we welcome them with open doors.

To our extended family of volunteers, partners and supporters:

We reaffirm our commitment to protecting the health, well-being and safety of immigrant families that contribute so much to New York City.  We will continue to support them as they pursue the American dream.

Sincerely,

Reada Bunin Edelstein
CEO

30 Sep

Spirit of East Harlem Gala

LSA Family Health Service Celebrates a Legacy of Service in East Harlem Spirit of East Harlem gala honors the contributions of NYC notables from the fields of real estate, finance, and philanthropy October 3, 2016 – New York, NY – Samuel A. Ramirez, Sr., founder and CEO of Ramirez and Co., Inc., and Diane Ramirez, CEO of Halstead Property, will be honored on October 17th at the Spirit of East Harlem gala for LSA Family Health Service. In addition to recognizing the philanthropic commitment of the Ramirez family to improving the quality of life for vulnerable New Yorkers, the annual event will honor the Little Sisters of the Assumption and Helen T. Lowe for their contributions to the community of East Harlem/El Barrio. “Our honorees represent the best of New York,” said George Stonbely, co-chair of the Spirit of East Harlem gala. “The Little Sisters of the Assumption congregation, which established a mission in the U.S. 125 years ago, have touched the lives of thousands. Helen Lowe has worked tirelessly over the past 20 years, alongside four Cardinals, to focus attention on the work of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York. And the Ramirez family sets a high standard for individual and corporate philanthropy. LSA Family Health Service is proud to recognize the invaluable contributions that the Spirit of East Harlem honorees have made to New York families.” The gala will take place on the evening of Monday, October 17, 2016, at the Pierre Hotel in Manhattan. More than 400 guests are expected to attend the event, which is expected to raise over one million dollars for LSA Family Health Service’s health, education, and family support programs. Eleven elected officials have endorsed the Spirit of East Harlem as members of its Honorary Committee. Legislators expected to attend the gala are: NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito, Congressman Charlie Rangel, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and NYC Public Advocate Letitia James. 2016 Spirit of East Harlem honors: Family Spirit Award to Three Generations of the Ramirez Family Samuel A. Ramirez, Sr., Founder and CEO, Ramirez & Co., Inc. Diane M. Ramirez, Chairman & CEO, Halstead Property Samuel A. Ramirez, Jr., and Fabiana Ramirez The Ramirez family is the ultimate immigrant success story, with roots in East Harlem and a collective history of philanthropy and service to benefit families in need. Samuel Ramirez, Sr. is the founder and CEO of Samuel A. Ramirez & Company, Inc., and is the first Hispanic American to launch a successful investment banking firm. Diane M. Ramirez is the Chairman and CEO of Halstead Property and is a highly regarded leader in the field of real estate. Samuel A. Ramirez Jr. is a managing director at Ramirez & Company, and together with his wife, Fabiana Ramirez, is actively engaged with organizations that benefit children, including Catholic Big Sisters and Big Brothers and the Museum of the City of New York. Lifetime Spirit Award on the Occasion of their 125th Anniversary in the United States Little Sisters of the Assumption Award accepted by Sr. Annette Allain, LSA, Coordinator, U.S. Territory LSA Family Health Service salutes its founders, the Little Sisters of the Assumption, a congregation of women religious. Nationally respected in the field of community development, Little Sisters of the Assumption collaborates with public, governmental and other non-profit organizations to improve the physical, social and spiritual health of needy children and impoverished families. Community Spirit Award Helen T. Lowe Senior Development Consultant As a leader with a lifelong record of fund-raising triumphs, Helen Teresa Lowe is the selfless dynamo behind many successful causes and campaigns that have served, and are still serving, to advance the highest potential within us all, especially those disadvantaged and in need.

LSA Family Health Service Celebrates a Legacy of Service in East Harlem

Spirit of East Harlem gala honors the contributions of NYC notables from the fields of real estate, finance, and philanthropy

Samuel A. Ramirez, Sr., founder and CEO of Ramirez and Co., Inc., and Diane Ramirez, CEO of Halstead Property, will be honored on October 17th at the Spirit of East Harlem gala for LSA Family Health Service.  In addition to recognizing the philanthropic commitment of the Ramirez family to improving the quality of life for vulnerable New Yorkers, the annual event will honor the Little Sisters of the Assumption and Helen T. Lowe for their contributions to the community of East Harlem/El Barrio.

For tickets and event details, visit spiritofeastharlem.com.

“Our honorees represent the best of New York,” said George Stonbely, co-chair of the Spirit of East Harlem gala. “The Little Sisters of the Assumption congregation, which established a mission in the U.S. 125 years ago, have touched the lives of thousands. Helen Lowe has worked tirelessly over the past 20 years, alongside four Cardinals, to focus attention on the work of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.  And the Ramirez family sets a high standard for individual and corporate philanthropy.  LSA Family Health Service is proud to recognize the invaluable contributions that the Spirit of East Harlem honorees have made to New York families.”

The gala will take place on the evening of Monday, October 17, 2016, at the Pierre Hotel in Manhattan. More than 400 guests are expected to attend the event, which is expected to raise over one million dollars for LSA Family Health Service’s health, education, and family support programs.

Eleven elected officials have endorsed the Spirit of East Harlem as members of its Honorary Committee.  Legislators expected to attend the gala are:  NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito, Congressman Charlie Rangel, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and NYC Public Advocate Letitia James.

2016 Spirit of East Harlem honors:

Family Spirit Award to Three Generations of the Ramirez Family
Samuel A. Ramirez, Sr., Founder and CEO, Ramirez & Co., Inc.
Diane M. Ramirez, Chairman & CEO, Halstead Property
Samuel A. Ramirez, Jr., and Fabiana Ramirez
The Ramirez family is the ultimate immigrant success story, with roots in East Harlem and a collective history of philanthropy and service to benefit families in need.  Samuel Ramirez, Sr. is the founder and CEO of Samuel A. Ramirez & Company, Inc., and is the first Hispanic American to launch a successful investment banking firm. Diane M. Ramirez is the Chairman and CEO of Halstead Property and is a highly regarded leader in the field of real estate.  Samuel A. Ramirez Jr. is a managing director at Ramirez & Company, and together with his wife, Fabiana Ramirez, is actively engaged with organizations that benefit children, including Catholic Big Sisters and Big Brothers and the Museum of the City of New York.

Lifetime Spirit Award on the Occasion of their 125th Anniversary in the United States
Little Sisters of the Assumption
Award accepted by Sr. Annette Allain, LSA, Coordinator, U.S. Territory
LSA Family Health Service salutes its founders, the Little Sisters of the Assumption, a congregation of women religious.  Nationally respected in the field of community development, Little Sisters of the Assumption collaborates with public, governmental and other non-profit organizations to improve the physical, social and spiritual health of needy children and impoverished families.

Community Spirit Award
Helen T. Lowe
Senior Development Consultant
As a leader with a lifelong record of fund-raising triumphs, Helen Teresa Lowe is the selfless dynamo behind many successful causes and campaigns that have served, and are still serving, to advance the highest potential within us all, especially those disadvantaged and in need.

07 Oct

LSA, Columbia, and NYAM Partner in HUD Grant to Combat Asthma in East Harlem

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 7, 2015 – New York, NY – The US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development announced on September 30th that Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service (LSA) is a lead partner in a $672,000 grant to study low-cost methods to control asthma triggers in the home. The 3-year grant was awarded to Columbia University in partnership with LSA and The New York Academy of Medicine, and was among $2 million in grant research awards allocated.

“LSA is honored to be a part of this important research,” said Traci Lester, Chief Executive Officer of the Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service. “We’re proud to bring to this partnership our reputation in the community as a trusted and reliable resource. Our Environmental Health Services team has years of experience in fighting the prevalence of asthma in this neighborhood by addressing its underlying causes.”

The intention of the grant is to help families like that of Elizabeth Gonzalez and her three children, all of whom are asthmatic. The family was profiled in a recent article by National Geographic which featured families being served by LSA’s Environmental Health Services. Gonzalez’s apartment walls are damp and moldy, and cockroaches infest the apartment: both conditions which trigger asthma attacks. “I’m happy to have a roof over my head, but this apartment is keeping us sick,” Gonzalez told reporter Lindsey Konkel.

Through the new HUD grant, LSA will conduct an intervention study to evaluate low-cost methods for preventing and controlling mold and excess moisture in the homes of New York City children with asthma. The study will look at the effectiveness of methods to control mold in both the short term (1 year) and long term (2-5 years), and will also examine how the presence of mold impacts health and quality of life.

Ray Lopez, Director of the Environmental Health Services program, said: “The new HUD grant means that we will continue to provide the best possible services to our families. The EHS team is excited to participate in the study, and we think the grant will give us the added confidence that what we do is backed by scientific evidence.”

The awarding of this grant coincides with completion of a 3-year study LSA conducted with the New York Academy of Medicine, also funded by the HUD. That award was the first time HUD ever funded a grant to combat indoor conditions that exacerbate asthma.

The results from this initial study clearly demonstrate a correlation between LSA’s intervention to remove asthma triggers and a decrease in asthma symptoms. A paper on these outcomes has been accepted for publication in an upcoming issue of Environmental Justice, a peer-reviewed journal which covers “the adverse and disparate health impact and environmental burden that affects marginalized populations all over the world.”

The grant is part of HUD’s Healthy Homes Technical Studies (HHTS) Grant Program, which supports research on new approaches to improve the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of methods to evaluate and control housing-related health and safety hazards. The grants announced on September 30th supplement $101 million in grants HUD awarded in August to protect thousands of children from lead and other home health hazards.

CONTACT:
Asari Beale, LSA Family Health Services
646) 672-5200

03 Sep

LSA Family Health Service Welcomes Pope Francis to East Harlem

September 9, 2015 – LSA Family Health Service, founded by the Little Sisters of the Assumption, is proud to join Catholic Charities of New York in welcoming Pope Francis to New York City.

The Garcia family – Martina Juárez, her husband Manuel Garcia, two of their children and their grandson – has been invited to represent LSA and its work in the community, at Pope Francis’ reception and blessing at the Our Lady Queen of Angels school in East Harlem on September 25th. They will be among approximately 200 guests, mostly immigrants and refugees served by Catholic Charities of New York, attending the reception. The family has been a recipient of services from LSA Family Health Service for over 10 years and has benefited from the food pantry, advocacy services, early childhood programs and education programs.

See press  coverage, learn more about the Juárez-Garcia family.

Additionally, 225 paper flowers made by mothers at LSA will be on display as centerpieces for the tables at the reception.  The flowers are in the Mexican folk art tradition, and represent the vibrancy of the largely immigrant population served by the agency.

“For over 50 years, we have been carrying out the mission of our founders, the Little Sisters of the Assumption, to uplift the most vulnerable among us,” said Traci Lester, CEO of LSA Family Health Service.  “We are honored to welcome Pope Francis to East Harlem, and to share with him our commitment to serving our neighbors.”

In addition to the Garcia family, Sr. Susanne Lachapelle, a nurse with LSA Family Health Service who has dedicated herself to the care of mothers and infants in East Harlem, will also be in attendance at the Pope’s reception, along with Traci Lester. Other staff from LSA will be on hand to assist families throughout the event.

LSA has posted a video to http://charityhasnoboundaries.org, offering a welcome message to the Pope from our staff and families.  The website was created by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York to celebrate Pope Francis’ visit to the United States and his universal message of charity.

Pope Francis’ connection to the Little Sisters of the Assumption dates back to his infancy. Sisters from the Little Sisters order in Argentina provided care to his mother and to him and his sister when they were infants.  He has maintained a close relationship with the order, and in 2010 he presided at the celebration for the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the Little Sisters in Argentina.

Sr. Annette Allain, LSA Coordinator, U.S. Territory, stated:

“Pope Francis has a first-hand appreciation of our Mission and Spirituality from an early age due to receiving home care services from the Little Sisters of the Assumption and also from the involvement of his parents and grandparents in our groups.  It is my belief that his sensitivity to the poor and immigrant population grew from his own personal familial experience.  We have been called to become family among the very people Pope Francis loves – those living on the margins of society.  This is a privileged encounter of mutuality, believing that the power of growth is in relationship.  There is no greater gift than Pope Francis’ visit to East Harlem as the Little Sisters of the Assumption celebrate our 150th Anniversary (1865 Paris, France). ”

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Download Press Release

About LSA Family Health Service’s participation in Pope Francis’ visit to Our Lady Queen of Angels:

  • LSA Family Health Service, founded by the Little Sisters of the Assumption in 1958 is a Catholic Charity that serves the community of East Harlem.
  • As a Catholic Charity, the organization was invited to send guests to the Pope’s reception at Our Lady Queen of Angels in East Harlem.  LSA is a long-time partner with Our Lady Queen of Angels; a number of children from LSA families attend the school.
  • People attending the Pope’s reception at Our Lady Queen of Angels on behalf of LSA Family Health Service:
    • Martina Juarez, her husband, their two children, and their grandson.  Martina is originally from Mexico, of indigenous origin (Mixteco). The family has benefited from a number of LSA services, including food pantry, early childhood programs, homework help, and tutoring.  Martina’s daughter, who is now in middle school, just started in LSA’s Girls’ Mentoring program.  The family was chosen because they represent so many of LSA’s services and the organization’s mission to strengthen and empower families.
    • Traci Lester, CEO of LSA Family Health Service
    • Sister Susanne Lachappelle, LSA.  Sr. Susanne is a member of the Little Sisters of the Assumption order and a nurse who has provided care for mothers and children in East Harlem for decades.
    • Pura Cruz, a Client Advocate at LSA, has been asked to provide assistance to families at Our Lady Queen of Angels.  Pura was a key member of the outreach team that assisted families in East Harlem after the 2014 gas explosion.
  • Mothers that are a part of the Parenting and Child Development program created 225 flowers, which will be used as centerpieces at Our Lady Queen of Angels. Pope Francis will bless each of the arrangements.
    • The flowers are a traditional folk art of Mexico.  LSA offered to make the flowers for the pope’s visit as a representation of the vibrant spirit of the East Harlem community.
    • A video of the flower-making will be shown at the events with the Pope at Our Lady Queen of Angels and Madison Square Garden.