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

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.

27 Sep

LSA’s Nia Jones in ‘What Creates Health’ Exhibit

What Creates Health?

September 24, 2016 – LSA community health worker Nia Jones, was featured in an art exhibit on health workers at What Creates Health: a Community Conversation. The event brought activists, artists, performers and local community organizations together to talk about how we can define what shapes health in our communities.

Nia was one of a handful of community health workers included in the exhibit aimed at sharing their experiences.  What Creates Health was hosted by the NYC Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene and was held at Hostos Community College.

The caption for the photographs of Nia read:

Nia works with families who often express feeling unsafe and trapped in their community, without access to information or resources.  She uses her personal experiences to understand the community and organizes for community empowerment and social change.

Nia’s lens on this work…

“We do amazing work as CHWs but we are so busy doing it that we never have a chance to reflect on the work we do with families.  I would like to see a ‘summit’ with CHWs from all over New York City.  Someone doing CHW work in Brooklyn has a different view than I do in East Harlem or the Bronx.  Anything that is stating a conversation about a broader vision, I would like to be a part of it.”

Nia Jones
Nia Jones
What Creates Health?
22 Sep

Attendance Awareness Month

Attendance Awareness Month

“Here!”

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.

08 Aug

Drives for Good

Organizing a drive for food, clothing, or other goods is an easy way to volunteer your time at home or work. A number of groups donate gifts for children during holiday drives, but we welcome donations all year round.
 Here are a few examples of drives you can organize to support LSA families:
  • Organize a clothing drive in your building or at your office – LSA can come pick up your donations!  Think seasonally: right now we’re in need of fall & winter clothing, coats, blankets, Halloween costumes.  (Please only donate items that are clean and in good condition!) Schedule a donation pickup
  • Organize a food drive at your work, school or church to support our pantry. Again, LSA will pick up the donation when it’s ready. We especially need food during the holidays, as we see more families during the holiday  season.
  • Coordinate an online drive.  Here’s a really easy way to organize a drive to support LSA – an online drive through YouGiveGoods.  YouGiveGoods will set everything up so that all your group members have to do is go to the drive page and pick the items they want to donate. Items will shipped directly to LSA. See a sample YouGiveGoods drive for school supplies.  In the photo above – students eat snacks donated through a YouGiveGoods drive!
  • Create a crowdfunding page to fundraise for LSA.  Invite friends, colleagues, and family to donate to LSA through a personalized page on Crowdrise. This is great if you are in a race, such as a 5K.  You could also dedicate your birthday by asking friends to donate make a donation instead of buying gifts. On your personalized page you can share photos and say why you believe in LSA.  All donations are tax-deductible, and you can be confident that all the donations made will be directed to the programs that need them most. Get started crowdfunding for LSA.  If you need help setting up your page or coming up with ideas, just give us a call (646) 672-5290, or email development@lsafhs.org – we’ll be happy to help!
03 Aug

Breastfeeding Tips

Newborn health

Tips for Success with Breastfeeding

Following are tips from Suzanne Deliee, RN.  Suzanne leads regular breastfeeding workshops for new and expectant mothers at LSA. To find out more or register for a workshop, contact us at (646) 672-5200.

Before the baby is born

Establish a support network:  The first thing to do is talk to other people, especially people who have had positive experiences.   Make sure you have other people involved for your support –the father, your partner or other people in your household.

Talk to your doctor about it and prepare yourself by reading about breastfeeding and about good nutrition during pregnancy.  You can also look for a good course, but make sure that it is in-depth and that it offers thorough information about breastfeeding.

At the hospital

As the birth of the baby approaches, make sure your doctor and the nurses at the hospital know right away that you want to breastfeed.

If you really want to be successful from the beginning, put the baby to breast immediately after birth — at least within the first hour.  Ask that the baby not be fed formula, and ask to have the baby sleep in your room or be brought to you when it is time to feed.

You can also ask for lactation support in the hospital.

In the first few days

Recognize that it’s a learning experience for both mom and baby.  Be determined not to give up easily!  Know that in the first couple of weeks breastfeeding will be your full-time job.  In the first days, you’ll need to feed your baby frequently to really get your flow established –  every one to two hours.   Eventually you’ll get a rhythm.

Patience and a good support system are your very best allies.  If you don’t go to a good support group, at least seek the support of some of your good friends.  Definitely elicit the support of your partner!

Advice for challenges

In the beginning, latch is important – make sure that the baby isn’t just sucking on the end of your nipple.  It should have a good grasp on the areola and on the breast.

If the baby is just sucking on the end of your nipple, put your finger in the baby’s mouth to break the suction, and take the baby off right away.  With a good latch, your nipple should be touching the top of the baby’s palate.  Though you’ll feel it when the baby really latches on, breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful; if the baby has a good latch, it won’t be.

If you’re having trouble with the baby latching, change positions to try to find one that the baby will be more comfortable with, and make yourself as comfortable as possible. The baby will feel your tension if you are uncomfortable.

Recognize the importance of skin to skin contact.  Try to nurse with the baby undressed (except for diapers!).  Skin to skin contact soothes your baby and makes her feel more comfortable.

Sometimes moms complain about having inverted nipples.  For a lot of moms – especially first time moms – their nipples don’t protrude enough for the baby to latch on easily.  The suction of the baby is the best force to bring the nipple out.  There also different apparatuses that may help, such as a breast pump.

Have patience and don’t give your baby formula or a pacifier in the first three weeks until the baby really establishes good breastfeeding habits.  And if you experience anything unusual, consult a lactation specialist.

11 Jul

A Wild Graduation!

Families in our Parenting and Child Development (PCD) program enjoyed a graduation ceremony complete with live music, dancing and — live turtles! The 3rd floor classrooms were transformed for the jungle-themed celebration, with vines hanging from the ceiling and animals, plants and trees decorating the walls. The graduation marks the completion of our early childhood program for children 0-3 years old.  While in the program, parents and children attend regular socialization groups which included movement, songs, games and exploration geared toward nurturing healthy child development. Families also receive home visits twice a month, at which LSA home visitors counsel parents on ways to support healthy development at home. The PCD staff work with parents to ensure that all of the graduating 3-year-olds are enrolled in a preK, preschool, or similar learning environment in the fall.  Congratulations to the young graduates!

Parenting & Child Development Graduation

Graduates line up for a photo

Parenting & Child Development Graduation

A young student shows off his peacock mask

Parenting & Child Development Graduation

Family photo with one of the graduates

Parenting & Child Development Graduation

Dancing in the circle

Parenting & Child Development Graduation

One of the children joins music teacher Angela for a song

Parenting & Child Development Graduation

Parent Committee leaders are an important part of the program

Parenting & Child Development Graduation

The Parenting and Child Development team!

10 Jun

Spring into Summer – Photos!

Thank you to everyone who supported our Junior Board party, Spring into Summer! The event, which took place at the Bowery Bar on June 9, 2016, raised more than $10,000 to provide education, health, food pantry, and advocacy services to strengthen families in crisis.  Guests enjoyed a photo booth, food, drinks, a raffle and silent auction, music and dancing.

Click the arrows on the left or right to scroll through photos from the evening’s festivities.

01 Jun

Volunteer Appreciation Night

Volunteer Appreciation Evening

LSA celebrates our wonderful volunteers!

May 31, 2016 – LSA Family Health Service celebrated the contributions of our volunteers at our annual Volunteer Appreciation Evening.

Staff and volunteers alike gathered for an evening of camaraderie, sharing stories, and a delicious dinner.  Speakers included staff members: Traci Lester, CEO; Trish Gough, Director of Volunteer Services; Russell Nobles, Chief of Program Operations; Lucia Russett, Director of Advocacy, and Wendy Miron, Director of Education and Youth Services. We also heard from volunteers Paulette Etoty, Priosca Galicia, and Robert Mazziotti. Special thanks to Omniwines for donating the beverages.

Below are words of inspiration and photos from the party…

Joyce Richardson, volunteer tutor
“I thought, ‘the kids trust me so much.’  But it’s not that they trust me — they trust the place, its friendliness and kindness — you can’t buy that.  They’re in a place where people love them.”

Robert Mazziotti, math tutor
“Something that every tutor, I’m sure, has experienced and really appreciates and gets a tremendous amount of joy out of is that ‘aha’ moment when the student finally takes something away that you gave them that’s going to grow in their garden for the rest of their life.  You’ve seeded it.  They’ve accepted it and planted it. …  That’s what I say is the main value to me of tutoring — the opportunity to help somebody step up to a new level of their educational experience.”

Prioska Galicia, volunteer with the food pantry, reception, and Education and Youth Services
“Everybody here has been really welcoming.  If you can volunteer – do it!”

Paulette Etoty, volunteer with the food pantry and The Sharing Place thrift store.
“When I realized how good, how welcoming, accomodating – how friendly this family is, I said ‘I may not have a job right now, but I’m going to give back.  I’m going to volunteer and I’m going to help.’  The joy I see in people’s faces when you put all that food in their basket, that just makes my day.”

Traci Lester, CEO
“Volunteers fuel the engine of what we do.”

Wendy Miron, Director of Education and Youth Services
“The kids thrive because of all of you.”

Lucia Russett, Director of Advocacy
“Our food pantry serves 2,000 people each month.  There’s no way we can do that without the volunteers.”

Click the arrows on the left or right to scroll through photos from the evening’s festivities.

 

25 Apr

Bello Mania

Children at Bello Mania event

A fun afternoon in Times Square raises money for LSA programs

April 24, 2016 — LSA hosted Bello Mania, a family benefit.  Over 60 guests attended the event, as well as 33 children from LSA programs.  The event raised $37,000 for LSA programs that strengthen families and help children reach their full potential.

The 33 LSA children who attended participate in our Education & Youth Services and our Preventive Services programs.  For many, the event offered a first: a chance to visit exciting Times Square and see a Broadway show.  Our special thanks go to Junior Board members, who volunteered to chaperone the children.

Click the arrows on the left or right to scroll through photos from the evening’s festivities.