07 Mar

Before PreK

Parenting and Child Development program

Photo by Micah Rubin

LSA’s early childhood program empowers parents, nurtures healthy child development

Wendy Miron, director of our Parenting and Child Development program, teacher Miriam Pena and home visitor Jennifer Ferreira met recently to share how the program prepares both children and parents for a successful experience in preschool.  The program includes home visits twice a month and participation in group socialization classes twice a week with the aim of empowering parents to nurture health child development. The goal: keeping at-risk children 0-3 developmentally on track during the most critical years of brain development. 

WM: Wendy Miron, Director, Parenting and Child Development
MP: Miriam Pena, Teacher, Socialization Program
JF: Jennifer Ferreira, Home Visitor


Building Trust, One-on-One

WM: Everything that we do is based on the five priorities – language and literacy; play and exploration; attachment, security and separation; self-regulation and emotional development; and connection to resources. That has really helped to make sure that everyone is working on the same goals with the parents. It might look different, because the home visitors are working with the parent and the child in the home and the teachers are working in the classroom setting, but everybody’s focusing on the same things.

JF: As a home visitor, I meet one-on-one with the mother and the child. The home visit gives an opportunity for the mom to speak up more. They’re in their own homes, and they don’t feel intimidated by anyone. It allows the home visitors to motivate and encourage the moms to know their rights and inform them as much as possible. That connects with the language priority – because if the mom is expressing herself more in general, she’ll be able to express herself more to her child. Encouraging the mom, motivating the mom, making her feel confident will also reflect on the child. It’s a domino effect.

MP: And I feel like having that one-on-one interaction also motivates moms to advocate for themselves. The mom can express her needs and the home visitor can guide her in the process of what to do next. The home visitors are there to push parents so that they can advocate for themselves and hopefully, later on, for their children.

One of the things happening now because of the political situation is that a lot of the kids are being bullied. I have a mom who has a child that is 6 years old. He was being bullied at school because of his background. You know, “you’re an immigrant, you need to go back to Mexico” – that sort of thing. It got to the point where the child was being aggressive at home and at school. He was feeling like he wasn’t wanted.

The mom didn’t feel she had the right to advocate for her child. So I connected her with a home visitor. The home visitor was able to say, “Its okay. You can speak for your child. He’s feeling this way. You are his advocate. You need to advocate. You need to defend him.” It was very important to have that home visitor encourage the mom to actually be heard and say it’s okay to speak up and voice what I feel – and to mirror what her child can do for himself.

“Even if we may not see it as directly related to child development, connecting parents to resources that alleviate some of their challenges can allow them to focus on the developmental priorities and making sure that the children are learning.”  –Wendy Miron, Director of Parenting and Child Development

WM: Sometimes when we talk about what the early childhood program does we focus on developmental milestones and making sure the kids are meeting those, but it’s so much more than that. We incorporate everything that’s going on in the environment for the families. Even if we may not see it as directly related to child development, connecting parents to resources that alleviate some of their challenges can allow them to focus on the developmental priorities and making sure that the children are learning.

We really work on building trust – not just assuming that people are going to trust us because we’re service professionals – but really building the trust and learning to understand who they are and valuing them. It doesn’t matter if you don’t speak English or you’re undocumented or you’ve never gone to school. We really value who you are and what you bring. I think that probably sets the program apart – and that’s why we have a waitlist. We’re never short of clients.

Preschool Prep, Starting at 6 Months

WM:  One of things we do is help parents understand what Head Start is. It’s easy to assume that families know what Head Start is, but if you’re coming from another country you might not. Whereas a family may have waited until kindergarten to put their children in school – because maybe the parent didn’t feel ready or they thought that the children were too young – by coming here, a lot of the families have been able to start their children’s education in Head Start.

MP: Our program starts with babies. We have three groups of children – the groups are 0-9 months old, then 10-19 months, and 20-36 months. With the 20-36, the focus is more on activities where the child and mom are together but there will also be occasions where they separate. We’re doing activities where the children will be with a teacher on one side of the room and moms and the other teacher will be together in a separate area of the room. Or, for example, the other day we had a workshop. Some of the children felt safe enough to stay in the classroom while the moms were in nearby room for the workshop. We do activities like that to get parents and children ready to separate when the time comes. And like Yolanda, it’s usually not the kids who have a hard time separating. It’s often a mom or dad who says “I’m not ready” or “is he going to be okay?”

Because I usually work with the youngest group – the babies, I usually focus more on moms. I ask: “How has it been for you?” “How do you feel?” We talk a lot about attachment and the importance of bonding with their children.

Earth Day Activities

A toddler explores a new texture and develops motor skills

WM: With the program priority of play and exploration, teachers and home visitors focus on talking to the parents about their experiences as children – what did they play with or how did they play, how do they understand the importance of play.

With literacy – even if a family has very low literacy, we emphasize the importance of having books around and exposing children to books, or we show parents how they can share a book even if they don’t know how to read. And we talk about how, in addition to early literacy, reading promotes attachment and self-regulation. That’s how the five program priorities come together, because a parent and child might be working on language, but by being able to express their needs they’re also working on self-regulation, because if you have more verbal ability to express your needs and understand your feelings, then you’re probably better able to self-regulate. I think it’s great the way the priorities come together in everything that the program does.

Parenting & Child Development Graduation

Graduation day for children in the program.  LSA staff help families transition to preschool.

JF: When it comes to schools and children, research shows that children from Spanish-speaking families are more likely to be delayed in speech when they enter kindergarten. For our program to focus on very young children, providing their families with the resources they need so that when their children enter school they can be ready – it’s amazing. There are not a lot of programs that start from 0-3.

WM: –and work with the parent. I think that also sets us apart. It’s really a two-generation approach. We’re working with the parent and we’re working with the child at the same time.

MP: Most of the programs that are like ours, either you have to pay or you have to have papers to qualify for them. And we welcome everybody here, whether you speak Spanish or you don’t, whether you are working or not, we just welcome everybody.

WM:  Another thing that sets us apart is that we have the resources of the other programs at LSA. Of course, we make referrals outside the agency, but I think it’s helpful to refer families to programs right here in the building if, for example, families need the food pantry or legal assistance or a mom is pregnant. That also makes the program strong. It is a holistic approach that we take. It really helps parents, they feel comfortable to get the resources. And we work really well together, and that also helps.

I think that’s one of the strengths of this program. I worked at a Head Start before and, you know, you can plan great workshops, but you have to be able to get the families there. This program helps parents understand that it’s really beneficial for them to access resources. So, in addition to the home visits and socialization groups, we may have a fire safety workshop or a “Know Your Rights” workshop or a special education workshop. Parents come to learn the value of attending them, and hopefully that understanding is something they will take with them when their children move on to PreK or Head Start.

02 Mar

Associated Press: LSA’s Mental Health Services for Immigrants

Mas alla del miedo

The Associated Press featured LSA in a story on efforts by community groups to expand mental health services to immigrants in the midst of uncertain immigration policies.

Below  is an excerp, followed by the English translation, describing a workshop at LSA called “Más allá del miedo” (Beyond Fear) which included art therapy to help participants process the anxiety they experienced.  The full story can be read here.

Ven aumento de ayuda psicológica a inmigrantes por Trump

Por Claudia Torrens

NUEVA YORK (AP) — El temor a que la deporten y separen de su hija de dos años llevó a la mexicana María Luisa a una sesión de ayuda psicológica.

La terapia llamada “Más allá del miedo” fue organizada por un grupo sin ánimo de lucro de East Harlem, en Manhattan, que busca aliviar el estrés que la política migratoria del presidente Donald Trump ha generado en los inmigrantes.

“Sentí que podía hablar, expresar mis miedos”, dijo la hispana de 34 años que prefirió no dar su apellido. “Pude compartir ideas y me tranquilizó ver a otras madres con el mismo sentir que yo”.

Desde que Trump ganó las elecciones en noviembre la necesidad de asistencia psicológica para los inmigrantes es mayor que nunca, aseguraron activistas y psicólogos, aunque aún no hay datos estadísticos disponibles. Miedo, ansiedad y depresión son los síntomas que han visto en ascenso entre la población inmigrante tras las redadas ocurridas recientemente en todo el país y las órdenes ejecutivas que tienen por objetivo la expulsión de los extranjeros sin autorización.

“La necesidad de ayuda psicológica siempre ha estado ahí, pero tras las elecciones y las acciones ejecutivas de Trump el miedo ha aumentado”, dijo Theo Oshiro, vicedirector de Make The Road New York, un grupo que por primera vez está organizando sesiones grupales para inmigrantes con una psicóloga voluntaria.

Aproximadamente 125 de los 171 miembros de un programa de padres y jóvenes de Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service, en East Harlem, han manifestado un aumento en la ansiedad debido a las políticas migratorias de Trump, aseguró la portavoz del grupo. Por ello se iniciaron las sesiones de “Más allá del miedo” de las que participan unas 16 madres y donde se sirve café con panecillos, huele a incienso y se oye música relajante.

“Tengo pacientes que no quieren enviar a sus hijos a la escuela”, dijo Mónica Sánchez, la terapeuta que dirige las sesiones. “Decidimos organizar ‘Más allá del miedo’ porque vimos un aumento de personas que tenían miedo, ansiedad. Queríamos decirles que no están solos”.

En la sesión Sánchez entrega un papel y lápices de colores a las participantes y les pide que expresen sus temores a través de un dibujo. Pueden cerrar los ojos y trazar garabatos o dibujar libremente con todo detalle.

“Algunas pintan un círculo negro y lo rayan y dicen ‘no veo nada*. Otras lo describen como un remolino”, explicó.

“Yo pinté un círculo rojo porque me da miedo la sangre y la violencia”, dijo María Luisa.

Durante la reunión, que dura dos horas, a algunas se les quiebra la voz al hablar y lloran tímidamente. Sobre el final del encuentro Sánchez destaca la necesidad de estar preparado para una posible deportación en lugar de quedarse paralizado. …

More Mental Health Support for Immigrants Due to Trump

by Claudia Torrens

NEW YORK (AP) – Fear of being deported and separated from her two-year-old daughter led Mexican Maria Luisa to a mental health counseling session.

The “Beyond Fear” therapy was hosted by a nonprofit group in East Harlem, Manhattan, which seeks to alleviate the stress President Donald Trump’s immigration policy has generated on immigrants.

“I felt I could speak, express my fears,” said the 34-year-old Hispanic woman who chose not to give her last name. “I was able to share ideas and I was relieved to see other mothers with the same feeling as me.”

Since Trump won the November election, the need for psychological assistance for immigrants is greater than ever, activists and psychologists say, although statistics are not yet available. Fear, anxiety and depression are the symptoms they have seen rising among the immigrant population following recent raids across the country and executive orders aimed at the expulsion of foreigners without documentation.

“The need for psychological help has always been there, but after the election and executive actions of Trump, the fear has increased,” said Theo Oshiro, deputy director of Make The Road New York, a group that, for the first time, is organizing group sessions for immigrants with a volunteer psychologist.

Approximately 125 of the 171 members of a program of parents and young people at Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service in East Harlem have expressed an increase in anxiety due to Trump’s immigration policies, the spokeswoman said. For that reason, the “Beyond Fear” sessions were started, with 16 mothers participating thus far. Coffee and muffins are served; one can smell of incense and hear relaxing music.

“I have patients who do not want to send their children to school,” said Monica Sanchez, the therapist who runs the sessions. “We decided to organize ‘Beyond Fear’ because we saw an increase in people who were afraid, anxious. We wanted to tell them that they are not alone.”

In the session Sánchez gives a paper and colored pencils to the participants and asks them to express their fears through a drawing. Participants can close their eyes and draw intuitively or draw freely in full detail.

“Some paint a black circle and scratch it and say ‘I do not see anything.” Others describe it as a whirlwind,” she said.

“I painted a red circle because I am afraid of blood and violence,” said Maria Luisa.

During the meeting, which lasts two hours, some people’s voices break as they speak and cry timidly. At the end of the meeting Sánchez stresses the need to be prepared for a possible deportation instead of being paralyzed by fear.

13 Feb

Resources for Immigrant Families

Immigration Resources

Recursos para familias inmigrantes

With changes to immigration policy and news of increased ICE activity in the New York area, LSA is responding to heightened anxiety and increased questions among the families we serve.

Anyone with immigration questions or in need of free immigration legal help can contact our Immigration Outreach Organizer, Pura Cruz.   Call: 646-672-5200 during business hours, or send an email.

Con los cambios en la política de inmigración y las noticias sobre el aumento de la actividad de ICE en el área de Nueva York, LSA responde a la creciente ansiedad ya las preguntas entre las familias a las que servimos.

Cualquier persona que tenga preguntas sobre inmigración o que necesite ayuda legal de inmigración gratuita puede comunicarse con Pura Cruz al 646-672-5200 durante el horario comercial, o envíe un correo electrónico.

Resources / Recursos:

New York Immigration Hotline/Linea telefonica sobre inmigracion de Nueva York:  1-800-566-7636 or 1-212-419-3737 – Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.  The New York Immigration hotline number can be given to anyone who needs confidential information on immigration matters. Information is available in 18 languages.   Todas las llamadas son anónimas y las conversaciones son confidenciales. La Línea Telefónica sobre Inmigración de Nueva York es un proyecto de Caridades Católicas Servicios de Inmigración y Refugiados de la Arquidiócesis de Nueva York.

Hotline for immigrant communities affected by recent ICE raids/Hotline para ayudar a las comunidades de inmigrantes afectadas por recientes incursiones de ICE: 844-955-3425 – Legal Aid Society

“Know Your Rights” Tool Kit / Conozca sus derechos – The New York Immigration Coalition.

“What to do if ICE comes to you door/En caso de redadas ¿qué puedes hacer? flyer in English, Spanish, Korean, Chinese, and Arabic – United We Dream.

Emergency Plan in Case of the Detention or Deportation of Family Members / Plan de Emergencia en Caso de la Detención o Deportación de Familiares – Legal Aid Society

Here’s what we’re doing at LSA:

  • Offering “Know Your Rights” workshops.
  • Working with clients at risk of deportation to help them create an emergency plan.
  • Offering emotional support and creating a safe space for clients to share their concerns, including workshops for parents and children on coping with fear and stress.
  • Working with The New York Immigration Coalition, Legal Aid Society and NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, among others, so that we can share the latest information and resources with families, as well as advocate for our community.
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.

23 Nov

Turkey Giveaway

Thanks to generous supporters, we were able to distribute over 200 turkeys for the Thanksgiving holiday!

Turkey donors included: City Harvest, Catholic Charities, Marguerite Guerin, GenNx 360 and the GenNx Foundation, and an anonymous donor.

The GenNx Foundation hosted an online food drive through which the Foundation and staff of GenNx 360 donated funds toward 241 turkey dinners, an additional 25 chicken dinners, and pantry staples which will be distributed to LSA families throughout the holiday season.

Our warmest thanks go to these generous donors for making the holidays brighter for LSA families!

Above: Members of the GenNx Foundation visited LSA to help distribute turkeys.
Below: Families picked up turkeys and other pantry items for Thanksgiving dinner.

2016-11-23_gennx-turkey_6_w 2016-11-23_gennx-turkey_7_w 2016-11-23_pcd-turkey_09_w 2016-11-23_pcd-turkey_29_w 2016-11-23_pcd-turkey_39_w 2016-11-23_pcd-turkey_42_w






15 Nov

Thank you, Barbara!

LSA staff celebrated Barbara Richert, who has volunteered as a mental health counselor with our Parenting and Child Development program for 11 years. Barbara is bringing her regular volunteerism with LSA to a close this month.

“There are no words to say how grateful we are to have her for 11 years,” said Inginia Garcia, co-director of the socialization program. “She has given unconditional support to our families. It has been amazing.”

Heather Mitchell, former director of the Parenting and Child Development program joined us for the farewell celebration. She said of Barbara: “I feel so grateful to have worked with Barbara for so many years. She’s one of the most giving people, and it’s wonderful to see her with the staff. Thank you for giving so much of yourself to so many people for so long.” True to her generous spirit, Barbara’s farewell party included a ‘gift’ from her to the Parenting and Child Development team: a lesson on slow breathing to reduce anxiety and stress.

The party also included a serenade of boleros!

Of her time at LSA, Barabara said: “It’s such a special place, in part because of you who are doing such important work, more important than ever. The work that you do here is bigger than any one individual.”

Barbara recently participated in a video, created in partnership with Catholic Charities, in which she describes her work with LSA families. We at LSA Family Health Service offer Barbara our deepest gratitude for her years of service.

Thank you!

The Parenting and Child Development team

Sebastian Cruz (left) and friends serenaded Barbara

22 Sep

Attendance Awareness Month

Attendance Awareness Month


September is Attendance Awareness Month, and we’re thinking about how important school attendance is for a child’s achievement.

According to Attendance Works, a kindergarten student who misses just 2-3 days per month may struggle to master reading by 3rd grade. And in the long-term, chronic absence increases the likelihood of dropping out of school. This makes “here!” one of the most important words a child may say today.

LSA’s programs contribute to school attendance by nurturing child health, family stability, and parent empowerment.

We asked our directors to share how their programs combat chronic absenteeism. Here’s what they said:

Early childhoodWendy Miron, Parenting and Child Development
We require regular attendance and punctuality to our early childhood socialization groups. As this is often the first entry point into the U.S. educational system for families in the program, it’s a good way for them to learn about the importance of attendance and the impact it has on a child’s education and work readiness skills. We also require punctuality and consistent attendance in the after school program. We reinforce the idea that missing school impacts children negatively: as they fall behind it becomes more difficult to be at grade level.

We know that unstable housing, domestic violence, and health issues are great contributors to chronic absences, so we also support families during crisis situations and provide them with appropriate referrals, ensuring they are able to meet their basic needs .

Nilsa Welsh, Preventive Services
If a child is experiencing chronic absenteeism, we usually assess the situation to determine the factors that are contributing to the absences. Once we identify the issues, we then address them. If the issues are clothing and/or school supplies, we provide that. Sometime it might be a bullying issue. In those cases, we advocate with school personnel. Depending on the age, we strongly suggest that the parent escort the child to school.

backtoschool_tutoringWith teens, we work closely with the attendance teacher and homeroom teacher to complete weekly attendance sheets, and we have monthly school visits with both staff members. We explore alternative teaching/school settings. Overall, we tend to use a comprehensive approach to ensure that tardiness and absences are closely monitored.


Lucia Russett, Advocacy and Food Pantry
When kids show up with their parents at the food pantry on a school day, we’ll give them a gentle nudge–oh, is she sick? Our entire food pantry schedule is actually organized around the school day, to make it easier for parents dropping off/picking up their kids. Also, sometimes there’s a new arrival to a family from another country, an older child, and we’ll make sure that kid gets connected to a school.
In addition to the food pantry, we give other kinds of family support that can improve school attendance. For example, by helping families avoid eviction through the housing legal clinic, we help keep them out of the shelter system. When we help parents with problems like housing issues, benefits and food assistance, we can improve or prevent some of the family problems that lead to chronic absence.

Shevon Skinner, Nursing/Certified Home Health Agency
Nursing focuses on child health, an important factor in child development and school attendance. One of the things we do is prepare parents to manage their children’s acute conditions. We do this by reinforcing adherence to their children’s’ prescribed medication regimens and treatments. We also teach parents how to identify symptoms that their child’s condition is worsening and early signs of distress, and we provide clinical interventions to control acute and chronic issues. Finally, we provide education and supportive measures to maintain overall wellness.

Ray Lopez, Environmental Health Services
Asthma is a leading cause of school absenteeism. Our program aims to prevent emergency room visits and hospitalizations which cause children to miss so much school. We accomplish this by teaching caregivers how to manage asthma symptoms and avoid asthma triggers.

17 Aug

GenNx Foundation Donates Laptops

GenNx Foundation Donates Laptops

Children in LSA programs gave a big THANK YOU to the GenNx Foundation.  The Foundation recently donated 10 laptops for our youth programs, which include after school homework help and tutoring and summer programs.  These laptops will be a huge asset to the program, since schools are increasingly assigning work that requires computers, but many of the children that come to LSA for services don’t have access to a computer at home.

In the photos below:  children in our summer youth program took the laptops for a test run during a break from their activities.

On behalf of the children and families that will benefit from the laptops, we offer the GenNx Foundation our heartfelt thanks!

GenNx Foundation Donates Laptops



08 Aug

Summer Fun & Learning

Summer Poetry Workshop

While schools took a summer break, we kept children and parents learning this summer with a variety of programs and activities.  Here are some of the fun (and educational) things that have been happening at LSA this summer:

  • 36 children participated in the summer youth program at LSA.  The goal of this 4-week program is to prevent the summer slide – learning loss that can occur when children don’t continue reading throughout the summer months.  The program included both math and reading instruction, a poetry workshop by local poet Alex Greenberg, and other enrichment activities.
  • Parents enrolled in our Parenting and Child Development program attended a 4-week workshop on the 5 developmental priorities of our early childhood program: attachment and healthy separation, language and literacy, exploration and learning, self-regulation and emotional development, and connection to outside resources.
  • Families in the Parenting and Child Development program enjoyed two trips to the beach and a picnic.
  • Families in our Preventive Services program enjoyed a trip to Coney Island.
  • 36 children participated in the H.E.A.R.T. Camp and H.E.A.R.T. Prep summer programs at Convent of the Sacred Heart.  Children attended fun classes, including swimming, sports, dance, debate, math and reading.  Middle school students in the Prep program toured high schools to prepare for the high school application process.
  • 9 children from LSA families participated in a 1 week dance class with the Revolucion Latina Dance Company
  • Families participated in a 4-week Community CookShop class, to learn how to prepare nutritious and cost-friendly meals.
  • Our own Lucia Russet offered yoga lessons to parents and teens.
  • Families made use of Cool Culture passes to visit city museums.

To see more of what happens day to day at LSA, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!

Summer Beach Trip

Fun in the sun on a beach trip with the Parenting and Child Development families

Community CookShop

Cooking together during a Community CookShop class


Our Preventive Services team gets ready for a trip to Coney Island

Yoga class

Lucia Russett leads teens in a yoga lesson

02 Aug

H.E.A.R.T. Camp

H.E.A.R.T. Camp 2016

This summer, children from LSA families participated in the Convent Of The Sacred Heart H.E.A.R.T program for 9-11 year old children,  and H.E.A.R.T Prep for 7th and 8th graders.

The collaboration with Convent of the Sacred Heart allowed 36 children whose families are clients at LSA to attend a four week summer program facilitated by high school students of Convent of the Sacred Heart. They were able to select between math, coding, swimming, art, debate, and more and attend field trips on Fridays.  The 7th and 8th graders did math and reading, and had the opportunity to visit high schools to gear them up for the high school application process.

Children participated in an end-of-camp graduation on July 29th, which highlighted the skills learned the previous weeks and the sense of community and friendship these children were able to develop in such a short period of time. Children performed and showcased poetry, songs, dance, and films they worked on together. They also participated in the camp’s first Guacamole Contest. Ashley Cantu, a long term LSA client, won this contest!

H.E.A.R.T. Camp 2016

Taste testing at the Guacamole contest

H.E.A.R.T. Camp 2016

Kids perform at the camp graduation