08 Aug

The Sharing Place Celebrates its 20th Anniversary

National Thrift Store Day and a 20th Anniversary Make for a Week of Great Shopping at The Sharing Place, East Harlem

The shopping stars align this month as The Sharing Place Thrift Store celebrates its 20th Anniversary on August 12th and recognizes National Thrift Store Day on August 17th. Intrepid shoppers have discovered designer labels like Carolina Herrera, Betsy Johnson, Coach, and Manolo Blahnik among other treasures on the store racks.

In 2012, New York Post readers voted The Sharing Place the Best Thrift Store in New York City. All sales support programs at the Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service (LSA), located on East 115th Street in Manhattan, off First Avenue.

Emergency relief

Besides being a favorite shopping destination for high-quality low-cost goods in the community, the store also provides free emergency goods to people in urgent need.

“We give out free vouchers to The Sharing Place when someone has an urgent need for clothing or household goods,” said Lucia Russett, Director of the Advocacy program.  Vouchers are given upon referral by a social worker or case worker.  There are many reasons why someone may receive a voucher:  they may be living in a shelter with few personal belongings, need appropriate clothing for a work program, have suffered job loss or a fire in their apartment, or just be newly arrived to the neighborhood.  In all cases, the customer has financial hardship.  With the thrift store’s modest prices, the vouchers go a long way.

In 2014, when a building in East Harlem collapsed due to a gas explosion, LSA was able to receive and provide clothing and other household supplies to displaced residents with the help of The Sharing Place.

Designer treasures 

The store celebrates its 20th Anniversary on August 12th with one of its “Designer” sales: a curated selection of the store’s best items.  Shoppers will also enjoy free giveaways and refreshments.  The celebration continues on August 17th, National Thrift Shop Day, with additional discounts to the store’s regular weekly sales.

“You can find great deals here,” said Diamond, a regular Sharing Place shopper, as she tried on a blue silk jacket by Lorraine Parrish.

The Sharing Place accepts donations of new and gently used clothing and home goods in good condition.  To schedule a free donation pick-up or to learn more, visit the store website:  thesharingplacenyc.com.

Visit The Sharing Place on Instagram:  @thesharingplace.

Read Catholic New York’s story on The Sharing Place’s 2nd anniversary in 1999: Gathering Spot: Little Sisters’ East Harlem thrift shop is a place of good prices, good will.

Press contact:  Asari Beale, 646-672-5200

Catholic NY Article on The Sharing Place

 

Sharing Place shopper

Diamond, a regular Sharing Place shopper, found a beautiful silk jacket by designer Lorraine Parrish.

 

 

 

Volunteer in The Sharing Place

Volunteers like Jonathan gain job-readiness skills while working in the store.

 

 

 

 

 

 

20 Jul

Summer Learning & Fun!

Our summer youth program is in full swing! Thirty children in grades K – 3 attend for math and reading support to keep them on track during the school holiday.

The main focus of the program is literacy.  Even the math instruction includes reading comprehension.  Jadie Vasquez, Program Coordinator, said “we really want to increase their reading level and keep them improving over the summer.”  One of the program’s goals is to have each child read a minimum of 10 books before September.

Parent engagement is an important part of the program.  Parents participate in classroom activities that teach techniques for reading with their children at home.  The activities are adjusted to accommodate parents at any literacy level.  Jadie said, “it’s really about motivating the parent to be an active part of their child’s education, even if they don’t have much education themselves.”

The program will conclude in August with a fun field day in Central Park.

This summer, we’re also grateful to have the help of five Summer Youth Employees through the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development.  These industrious teens are working with children in our summer program and at our thrift store and food pantry.

05 Jun

Open Door Newsletter Spring 2017

Open Door Spring 2017

The Spring 2017 Open Door newsletter features stories about our work to ensure the health and safety of children in our community.  The first story describes the work of our Preventive Services program and how its director, Nilsa Welsh, addresses secondary trauma among social workers so that they can do their best to protect children.  The second story describes a new initiative in our Environmental Health Services program through which LSA community health workers are stationed at hospitals to make it easier for doctors to make referrals to our asthma prevention services.

Click below to read more or view a PDF version.

 

01 Jun

Building Bridges Art Exhibition

Eight mothers participating in our Building Bridges of Hope Art Therapy Group this spring shared their work in a special art exhibition at LSA.

Building Bridges of Hope is a support group with the goal of empowering women, helping them increase self-esteem, build confidence, and find a way out of fear and isolation.  Art activities become the tools to facilitate self-expression, reduce feelings of shame and guilt, and develop coping skills to deal with anxiety and depression.

Below are highlights from the exhibit.

 

Photography: What does it mean to love with your whole heart?

Portraits of strong women

Portraits of Strong Women

Light boxes

Clay: Participants created objects to explore notions of identity within their community.

Portraits of Immigrant Women:  What does it mean to be an immigrant for  you?  “It’s about work and sacrifice.  It’s leaving your family behind to look for a better life.”

 

 

Felting. Participants said: “It was beautiful what came out. The result was surprising.”

Felting

Still Painting: The goal was to develop observation skills, pay attention to details and explore the concept of impermanence.

26 May

PCD Graduation Celebrates Culture

Sixty children and parents graduated from our Parenting and Child Development early childhood program. The theme of the graduation was a celebration of cultures from around the world. Students, parents and LSA staff dressed in costumes typical of their cultural heritage.   The children will all be attending preK programs in the fall, developmentally on track to succeed in school.

Below are some photos from the celebration (click the left & right arrows to scroll through).

 

25 May

After-school group builds confidence in kids

A new initiative at LSA has done wonders building confidence and communication skills for children in our after-school program. The initiative involves socio-emotional groups for kids in grades K-3 that engage them in group discussions and activities around books.

The focus on socio-emotional development correlates with high academic achievement, increased motivation and engagement in learning. The goal of the initiative is to provide a space for children where they can build reading skills, feel comfortable working as part of a group and, most importantly, find meaning in what they read in a way that relates to their own personal experience. We believe this is how we will support a community of learners and a strong love of reading.

The program, which started in September, has been very popular among the children.  And, along with tutoring and homework help, the groups have helped the children improve academically, with 80-90% of the children showing better grades in math, ELA or both since the beginning of the school year.


We spoke with Jadie Vasquez, who has been managing the socio-emotional groups, to learn more…

Describe how the socio-emotional groups work.

In the past, the afterschool program only included tutoring and homework help. This year we decided to incorporate the socio-emotional group.

We designed it with AfterSchool KidzLit, because we still wanted the groups to have an educational component. Wendy [Wendy Miron, Director of the Parenting and Child Development program] and I had to get trained for it, along with the interns.  KidzLit gave us books along with instructions on how to do different activities that encourage the children to engage together.  The children are reading, they’re writing, they’re working in groups, they’re doing a lot of hands-on activities.  We have two groups separated by age, so both groups read the same book but do different activities that work best according to the children’s ages.

The main goal is to help children feel comfortable enough to communicate, either in a group setting or one on one.  It’s important that the children feel like they have a safe space. A lot of them don’t have that – a lot of them are loners in school.  They don’t talk to anybody. So we want them to have that sense of friendship, a sense of belonging to something, when they come here.  Then there is the educational part of it, which is learning how to work together, how to dissect a book.  Even if it takes a long time, we give them the chance to explore the world of the book and the artistic freedom to create something inspired from it.

How does that benefit the child emotionally?

It helps the children to open up socially and to be comfortable in a group setting, which, for a lot of them, was a very hard thing to do.  When we started in September, some of them didn’t even want to raise their hand, they didn’t want to tell you their name, they didn’t want to talk to the person next to them.

It was a rough road.  But now you can see the difference.  The children actually want to raise their hand and participate.  Now they feel part of this special group, where they feel safe, where they can talk about things happening in their lives.  So it goes beyond the book.  For example, if someone is feeling sad one day, we might talk about it – as a group!  The children learn to share their feelings, which isn’t easy at such a young age.  The books become a tool to help children open up.  And learning to communicate in general and to open up emotionally, in turn, helps them in school.

It’s been such an amazing journey to see them evolve the way that they have. The children that you least expected to open up are the ones that are above the stars right now, just loving this group.   When we’re on a break, they ask: ‘why don’t we have group tomorrow?’   Having them want to do it makes all the difference in the world.

How does the socio-emotional group complement the tutoring and homework help?

One great example is a small child, in kindergarten, who is in the program.  His tutor had a difficult time just getting him to speak with her.  It’s very hard to help a child when he doesn’t even want to talk to you or he’s very shy and doesn’t communicate.  When he did talk, it was only in a whisper.  I told the tutor: let’s give it some time.   So the first thing we did is isolate him and the tutor so that they could work together without distractions.  The second thing we did was work really hard in the socialization group to have him feel comfortable around adults and his peers.

Two months down the line – he had a complete 180.  Now the child is talking.  He’s speaking louder; he has the confidence to tell his tutor, ‘Okay – I want to do this now.’  He’s a completely different kid.  And I know that, in addition to the tutor working very hard and being persistent, the socio-emotional group had a lot to do with that, because he started feeling comfortable with the group.

He isn’t the only one this has happened with; it happened with two or three of the children. The socio-emotional group has been a big part of them opening up and being more vocal.

Has it made a difference for the kids in school?

Absolutely.  We believe that it makes a difference not only here with the tutors and at home, but also at school.  It’s all connected.  If you don’t want to speak to the teacher, if you don’t want to communicate with your peers, if you have trouble working in groups, that’s going to affect you in school.  Those are all things you have to do at one point in a school setting.

So when the kids get that practice here and start to feel that it’s okay, it gives them more courage to do it in school.  Now – all of a sudden – the kindergarten student who wasn’t speaking, comes in here and speaks to everyone. In school, he’s talking to the teacher, something that he was having difficulty doing.  It’s all a domino effect.

Children show off the books they created together in the socio-emotional afterschool group.

Are you tracking results?

We have collected report cards from the beginning. Since September, about 80-90% of the students have done better in math or literature or both.  The kindergarten student I mentioned started the year with ones and now he’s getting twos and threes.  I share that information with the tutors so that they know what’s happening and we’re all on the same page.

How did the book project come about?

My vision was to do something they could work on as a group.  Because really, that’s what the socio-emotional group was about, to be able to work together and see themselves as a team.  Everyone gets an assignment and everyone gets to vote and make decisions together.  We helped give them structure and started the ball rolling.  They took the time and figured it all out together. They drew together, they wrote the book together.  It was an amazing process watching them take the lead.  They were very proud of themselves, and it felt like this was something that really showed how hard they worked throughout the year.

10 May

National Nurses Week and Q&A with Jennifer Chaparro

We Salute our Nurses During National Nurses Week!

May 6-12 is National Nurses Week.  At LSA, we have a fantastic team of home visiting nurses who go above and beyond to improve family health.   We salute our nurses and thank them for their dedication to serving the community!

Above: LSA’s nurses – Suzanne Deliee, Brigida Lapadula, Susanne Lachapelle, Patricia Hayes and Jennifer Chaparro.


In honor of National Nurses Week, we asked Community Health Nurse Jennifer Chaparro to share some of her thoughts about nursing.

Q&A with Jennifer Chaparro RN, BSN – Community Health Nurse at LSA

What is a typical day like for you?

A typical day for a community health nurse is anything but typical.  In a nutshell, regular tasks that I find myself doing every week include completing routine paperwork, communicating with healthcare providers and insurance companies, and the bulk of my time involves visiting patients in their homes.

What is a typical home visit like?

A community health nurse can never know what to expect when visiting a new patient.  Each patient is a unique individual: culturally, emotionally, socially, and physically.  This is just as true for their healthcare needs: one person’s health needs differ completely from another’s.

At LSA, we see a wide array of patients.  We provide home visits for newly postpartum mothers and their infants.  We provide health assessment and monitoring, newborn education and breastfeeding support.  In addition, we provide wound care to children and adults, help families manage their child’s asthma medications and symptoms, and help women manage their blood pressure after experiencing severe preeclampsia.  We see extremely premature infants requiring cardiac surgeries and older adults who are wheelchair bound and need education in managing their diabetes — and every patient in between!

The ultimate goal of the home visits is to provide health monitoring, education and support to families in order to promote stabilization of their immediate health concerns and foster independence and successful self-management of their long-term healthcare needs.


“It is truly a blessing to be able to tend to these premature babies, helping educate their parents on how to care for them, and easing any fears or anxieties they have regarding the future of their babies.”


How do visiting nurses make a difference in the lives of the people they help?

Visiting nurses provide another means of support, especially for underserved families in our community.  People can become lost in the ever-changing, complex healthcare system, whether it be due to a language or cultural barrier, lack of education, or issues with insurance or documentation status.  This, in turn, can lead to a mismanagement of their health and an increased incidence of preventable complications, which can further lead to unnecessary hospitalizations.  By providing nursing visits in the patient’s home, visiting nurses can help to identify barriers that are preventing a patient from reaching their healthcare goals, while also providing compassionate care and education that is free of bias or prejudice.  It is important that patients have the opportunity to learn about what they can do to take better care of their health and that of their families.

How does being a nurse enrich your life?

Being a nurse enriches my life by providing me with new experiences and learning opportunities every single day. With every new patient comes a unique diagnosis or health problem.  At times, these health problems can be serious or rare, which requires me to do intense research so that I can be better prepared to provide accurate information for the patients that are affected.  These new experiences allow me to expand my knowledge and be well-rounded in my field so that I can help to educate patients who are affected by all kinds of health issues.  New information, diagnoses, and treatments are being discovered on a daily basis in the evolving world of healthcare, and it is crucial for nurses to remain up-to-date in order to provide the best education and support for our patients.  The learning never stops!

I have so many stories of my interactions with my patients that it’s difficult to just choose one.  Personally, I enjoy visiting first-time mothers and their infants.  Some of these moms are young teenagers, still children themselves thrust into motherhood at a young age.  Helping to educate these teens to transition into motherhood while also watching their beautiful children grow makes me feel so grateful that I am able to share this experience with them.  Helping to ease their fears, educating them on newborn health, and watching these teens become supportive young mothers makes me very happy that I can be a part of this process.

I also enjoy my interactions with premature babies.  A lot of premature infants have serious medical issues that need to be monitored or complications that need meticulous care.  These babies can be born in the hospital weighing a mere one or two pounds and remain hospitalized for weeks, even months.  It is truly a blessing to be able to tend to these premature babies, helping educate their parents on how to care for them, and easing any fears or anxieties they have regarding the future of their babies.  I especially love seeing them towards the end of care, watching the transformation the babies undergo from weak, fragile infants into bubbly, bouncy, happy babies.  Seeing the pleasure and expertise that their parents’ accumulate over the course of several weeks of home visits is just another added bonus to the experience.

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.