Additional Support Services

Mental Health Services
In January 2015, LSA hired a full time mental health counselor and began offering counseling sessions to individuals.

Building Bridges of Hope Support Group
Building Bridges of Hope is a support group founded 15 years ago by Inginia Garcia, Director of the Parenting and Child Development program.  Today the group is led by LSA’s art therapist and mental health counselor, Mónica Sánchez. The group works with mothers who are in poverty and socially isolated.  Its goal is to empower these mothers, and to help them to increase self-esteem, build confidence, and find a way out of fear, isolation, and poverty. Through activities such as photography, clay, and painting, among other art forms, the group explores themes such as gratitude and forgiveness, self-esteem and personal/interpersonal relationships, self concept, love and sexuality, grief and loss. In 2016, the group will also address practical subjects, such as entrepreneurship in the community, by inviting business owners from the neighborhood to share their experience with us.

Cada Paso Walking Program
Cada Paso is a monthly walking program for families in East Harlem, formed in partnership between LSA and the Department of Preventive Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Although East Harlem endures greater health disparities compared with other parts of New York City, it is fortunate to have multiple health and social resources within the two square miles that comprise the neighborhood. Cada Paso’s evolving curriculum of walks are tailored to address parents’ health concerns. By combining the physical activity of walking with educational content, conversation with allied health professionals, social networking and on-the-spot access to health resources we endeavor to empower families with the tools to preserve and enhance their health and achievement.

Recipe for a Healthy Family / Receta para una familia saludable
A program in partnership with Mount Sinai Medical Center, Receta para una familia saludable is a nutrition and fitness curriculum conducted in Spanish that aims at reducing the high incidence of childhood obesity in East Harlem. Parents and children participate in workshops together, led by nutritionist Marilyn Figueroa. Each workshop session focuses on a specific theme and includes exercise and the preparation of a simple recipe.

The program was recognized on Mount Sinai’s Education Research Day, April 28th, 2015. LSA’s Heather Mitchell, nutritionist Marilyn Figueroa, and Dr. Lindsey Waldman and Dr. Leora Mogilner from Mount Sinai were awarded a blue ribbon for their presentation Recipe for a Healthy Lifestyle: An Obesity Prevention Program for Hispanic Mothers of Children Ages 0-5 in East Harlem, New York. (Read the abstract.) The award is sponsored by the Institute for Medical Education to “recognize creative and exciting work in education research and curricular innovation taking place every day within our health system.”  .

Food Bank for NYC Community CookShop
During the summer, LSA offers Community Cookshop classes. The classes are a joint venture of Food Bank For New York City and the Mario Batali Foundation. Cooking classes for parents and children are conducted in Spanish, and participants learn skills for maximizing their food budgets and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  Each family participates in making a delicious dish during the class and takes home the ingredients to continue the healthy cooking at home.

In 2015, LSA was honored to be the subject of a training video that will be used to teach other organizations how to implement the Community CookShop program.