23 Mar

Women’s History Month

Our youth programs celebrated Women’s History Month with Art!

Parents and daughters took self portraits in “Rosie the Riveter” poses, with Rosie’s iconic red bow in their hair.  Families also learned about one of the historic founders of the Little Sisters of the Assumption, Antionette Fage.  Boys in the group made a beautiful collage, reflecting on what “Woman” means to them.  Their collage reflected images of strength and love.

All month, children in the after school program have been reading books about women who have had historic impact.  The person they enjoyed reading about the most was Malala Yousafzai – they were so impressed by her accomplishments in the face of adversity that some of the children asked if they could meet her.  Artist Liam Critt created a beautiful  wooden plaque with Malala’s image and an inspirational quote.

     Women's History Month

Artwork by Liam Crill @crillwoodwork





13 Mar

Family Service Day

Family Service Day – a fun day for all!

March 11, 2018 – Teens and their parents joined children and families in LSA programs for an afternoon of fun.  The event was hosted by the LSA Parents Committee, a group of volunteers who promote student service opportunities at LSA to NYC school communities.

The event included a monster-making craft activity, snacks and a hilarious show with Looney Louie the clown.  Snacks included delicious tacos donated by local Mexican restaurant Hot Jalapeno.

Our thanks to the wonderful teen and parent volunteers who made this event so much fun for the children who participated.  Special thanks to the Parents Commitee for hosting, and to event underwriters Robin Poulos and Cecilia Vonderheide.  And finally – thanks to photographer Kaddy Tsang for taking such great photos!

08 Mar

Saluting Social Workers

We celebrate National Social Worker Month this March by saluting the wonderful social workers in our Preventive Services program.  This program contracts with the Administration for Children’s Services to work intensively with families to prevent the placement of children in foster care.  The program is recognized for its excellent work throughout the city and has a 98% success rate in keeping families together.

We thank social workers at LSA and everywhere for all they do!

Photo above: members of our Preventive Services department (r-l) Regina Sherman, Karen Williams, Nilsa Welsh, Lenequa Campbell, Yessica Sherman, and Georgina Ogilve.

17 Jan

Art by LSA Students on Display

Former LSA/Free Arts Students at the Heckscher Foundation

January 10, 2018 — The Heckscher Foundation for Children held a reception to honor students whose artwork was selected for display at their headquarters. Among these is a large installation made in 2005 by children in the Free Arts NYC program at LSA Family Health Service.

Brandon and Arisdelcy were in elementary and middle school, respectively, when they participated in the 2005 Free Arts workshop that resulted in the work on display.  Arisdelcy, now a Head Start teacher, described the process, saying that the children were given fluorescent lights and asked to move them around.  The exposed light created striking abstract photographic images which portrayed the students’ movement.  The artwork, which is entitled “Urban Energy,” and spans the first and second floors of the Hecksher Foundation headquarters.

Brandon, a Dreamer and a senior at Hunter College, spoke passionately about the way his involvement with LSA and Free Arts broadened his horizons:

“Little Sisters opened up a sense of diversity in terms of what it really means to have an education. When we were kids, there was a lot of funding for math and science, but there wasn’t really a huge amount of funding for the arts. It was through [LSA] that I really got to do a lot of art, and it helped a lot with forming who I was. That would not be possible had my mom not found her way to Little Sisters of the Assumption.”

Free Arts empowers underserved youth through art and mentoring programs to develop their creativity, confidence, and skills to succeed. For many years it was an important part of the after school programming at LSA.


Other artwork on display included photographs selected through the 2017 Heckscher Foundation for Children Art Competition. Learn more about the artwork here.

Former LSA staff and Free Arts students at the Heckscher Foundation for Children

At the Heckscher Foundation in honor of students whose artwork is displayed at their headquarters. (l-r) Martha Andrade-Dousdebes, former director of the Education and Youth Services at LSA; Arisdelcy, former LSA/Free Arts student; Trish Gough, Director of Volunteer Services at LSA; Brandon, former LSA/Free Arts student; Liz Hopfan, Executive Director of Free Arts NYC

"Urban Energy" 2005. On display at the Heckscher Foundation for Children

“Urban Energy” 2005. Artwork created by children at LSA, on display at the Heckscher Foundation





20 Jul

Green and Healthy Summer Eating

The food landscape in East Harlem is improving, but access to healthy food remains a challenge for many in the community.  According to a 2016 report —

“Although East Harlem is blessed with a multitude of organizations and individuals dedicated to improving local food environments and reducing food insecurity and diet-related diseases, these two problems are still more common in our community than in other New York City neighborhoods.” Eating in East Harlem: An Assessment of Changing Foodscapes in Community District 11, 2000-2015 CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy

All year long, LSA’s programs work to provide families with healthy food choices and recipes that they can recreate at home.

Here are a few things happening at LSA this summer:

Thanks to NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene we received 200 $2 Health Bucks for our clients to spend on fruits and vegetables at the local farmers’ markets. This July 2017, Rosa Uribe took clients to the The Mount Sinai Hospital Greenmarket to shop for healthy produce.

Each summer, visitors to our food pantry enjoy fresh local produce, thanks to a partnership with Local Produce Link through Just Food and United Way of New York City.  This year, the produce comes from Whistle Down Farms.  The squash and zucchini (below) and the kale in the photo above all came from the farm.

Even closer to home – we’ve been thrilled to receive food donations from Pleasant Village Community Garden, located right here in East Harlem!



To share ideas on delicious ways to prepare all that beautiful produce from Whistle Down Farms, Delma from Food Bank For New York City recently did a cooking demonstration in our lobby.  Families visiting our pantry and other programs sampled a warm kale and potato salad, and got the recipe to try at home.



09 Jun

Thank you, volunteers!

LSA celebrated the invaluable contributions of our volunteers at the annual Volunteer Appreciation evening! Volunteers received a gift of thanks – a bright yellow umbrella – and shared stories about their meaningful experiences here at LSA. Thank you to all the volunteers who make a difference here every day!

Click the left and right arrows to view photos from the evening.

25 Apr

Verano Verde

Verano Verde

Save the Date for

VERANO VERDE: A Celebration of East Harlem

Hosted by the Junior Board of LSA Family Health Service

Get Tickets Now!

June 22, 2017
6:30pm – 9:30pm
in the Frieda and Roy Furman Gallery, Lincoln Center Film Society
at plaza level on the north side of West 65th Street
165 West 65th St

Enjoy cocktails, refreshments, entertainment and a silent auction

All proceeds will support programs for children and families at LSA Family Health Service.


23 Mar

Mobile bank comes to LSA

Mobile Banking

March 17, 2017 – LSA hosted a celebration of a “pop-up” credit union financial health initiative, in collaboration with The Department of Consumer Affairs Office of Financial Empowerment, the New Economy Project and the LES People’s Federal Credit Union.

The two main parts of the initiative are, first, the deployment of a mobile banking branch of the LES Credit Union – a 40-foot bus – to promote financial health in the neighborhood, with a focus on Spanish-speaking and immigrant members of the community. In addition, a team of community members recruited through LSA Family Health Service serve as financial health promoters, or promotoras. These promoters are peer educators who conduct workshops and speak with people one-on-one to provide information about financial rights and opportunities with respect to banking. They also share information about the LES Credit Union which is an affordable banking option in the community. The goal is to bridge the financial services divide by delivering reliable, accessible information and high-quality services in the neighborhood.

Commissioner Lorelai Salas of the Department of Consumer affairs attended and commended the work of the promotoras: “the promotoras do is key… and we are grateful to be working with them.”

The initiative began with workshops with community members to understand the needs in the neighborhood. As part of their training, promotoras visited all the banks in the community and discovered that many of them had fees and ID requirements that were prohibitive and kept people from opening accounts. “In East Harlem there is a financial divide,” said Deyanira Del Rio of The New Economy Project. “There are 2 pawn shops or check-cashing places for every bank… What we’re doing today is celebrating a campaign we designed to eliminate some of the barriers to financial opportunity.”

Alicia Portada of the LES People’s Federal Credit Union described how grateful the credit union was to work with the promotoras: “For us it has been a good lesson to get feedback. [The promotoras know about the financial dynamics in the community. It has also been an excellent outreach tool — we have reached more people than we would with a flyer or an email. I want to thank the women, and I really hope that we can continue to work together.”

Guillermina, one of the promotoras shared her own story in Spanish: “I am grateful because I had an account in a bank that charged me every month for being below the minimum. I didn’t know that I could have an account without those fees. When I learned, I changed my account and myself became part of the credit union.”

The pop-up mobile banking bus will be at LSA every Friday during the month of March for people who want to open account.

Promotoras with Commissioner Salas and members of New Economy Project and LES People’s Credit Union

01 Feb

Stand with East Harlem

We stand with East Harlem. Photo by Micah Rubin

Our statement on immigration:

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.

We urgently need your help to ensure that we can continue to be here for families in crisis!

Here at LSA we serve a largely immigrant population.  With the uncertainty around federal policies, now more than ever, we are on the front line with our neighbors in East Harlem, responding to their questions, making sure they know their rights, and connecting them with free legal services.
Our Advocacy & Food Pantry program is a main entry point to LSA and has led the agency in reaching out to immigrant families in our community. In 2016, this heroic team of only five staff members attended 6,863 client visits for food and 7,642 client visits for services! That includes one-on-one meetings with families to understand and address their needs as well as boots-on-the-ground work in libraries, churches, and community centers, helping our neighbors access important services.

The Advocacy & Food Pantry program budget for 2017 is underfunded. Simply put, we need to raise $180,000 to keep this program running.

Can you make a donation today to support this program?

Most of the families at LSA consist of two parents with at least one working adult in the household. But with an average household income of less than $20,000 a year, they struggle with basic necessities – including having enough food for everyone. 33% of families we serve live doubled or tripled up with other families in small apartments. They face chronic health conditions, poor housing, and other challenges that no one should have to face alone.

Every single parent we serve wants their kids to grow up healthy, educated and safe. That’s what we want too, that’s what we work towards, and that’s why we’re asking for your support.

Please donate today to stand up for immigrant families in East Harlem.

When you make a 100% tax-deductible donation to our Advocacy & Food Pantry program, you support:
• Immigration education and outreach: referrals and “Know Your Rights” workshops
• Immigrant legal support: free legal consultation through partner organizations
• DACA outreach
• Food pantry
• Housing legal support
• Help accessing public benefits
• Advocacy and empowerment
• Referrals to LSA and non-LSA programs

Thank you for your support!

Donate Now

Photo by Micah Rubin.

20 Dec

March for #ImmigrantNY

LSA joined the New York Immigration Coalition for a march to protect the rights of immigrant New Yorkers. The NYIC sent a recent email sharing details of the event:

On Sunday, December 18th, we saw 3,000 New Yorkers march to stand up for immigrant communities despite a forecast of heavy rain. It was a testament to the beauty and resilience of our diverse communities, who carried a resounding message of hope down the streets of Manhattan from Dag Hammerskjold Plaza to Trump Tower. As we marched on globally recognized International Migrants Day, hundreds of people joined in, to stand with and protect New York’s immigrant communities against anti-immigrant policies, discrimination and hateful attacks. In fact, #ImmigrantNY became Twitter’s number one trending hashtag and was highlighted on Snapchat with its own channel during the march and rally.

The message went on to thank the 85 sponsoring organizations, of which LSA is one!