28 Sep

#PayItForward: Motivating Teens to Serve

PayItForward Student Panel

September 27, 2017 — “Every one of us is part of the community we’re in.  You’re either contributing or detracting from it.”

This is what Marina Hunt, a graduate of the Spence School, took away from her high school volunteer experience.  Marina joined a panel of student volunteers at #PayItForward, a forum on youth community service hosted by LSA Family Health Service and Convent of the Sacred Heart School.


Learn about volunteer opportunities at LSA!


Additional speakers included Adam Garner of DoSomething.org; Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a neuropsychologist and certified school psychologist; Dr. Cappy Collins, a pediatrician who engages youth in community health programs; Naomi Varnis, an admissions director at Columbia University; and India LaRoda, Miss India America 2017 and a former Special Olympics volunteer with extensive service experience.

Audience members included a mix of students, parents and educators.  Their main questions were: what kind of service experience is most valuable for middle and high school students?  How can they get started? And how does it help them in the long term?

Naomi Varnis said, when she’s considering college applications “there is no one right type of service.  It’s about the quality of engagement that you have.”

For example, she said, volunteering with an organization over a long period shows that a student is really committed to its mission. “That kind of work can help students understand their role in the community.”

“When you are volunteering you are figuring out who you are as a person, how you interact with the world, and how you engage with other people,” said Dr. Sanam Hafeez.   She pointed out that the teen years are essential years for self discovery, and volunteering can play a positive role in helping teens understand and define themselves.


“Being a professional, doesn’t mean wearing a suit and tie.  It can be giving someone a box of cereal so their children can have food in the morning, or a bag of rice so they can have food at night.”

– Cristo Rey student Nathanael Hinds, on what he learned as a volunteer


The student panelist shared how volunteering changed their view of the world and of themselves.  “Through service, I have become more of an activist,” said Grace Wilson, student body president of Convent of the Sacred Heart who taught young children at the school’s student-run HEART summer camp.

Nathanael Hinds, a student of Cristo Rey New York High School who volunteered at the LSA food pantry throughout his sophomore year in high school, said volunteering opened his eyes to careers that can make a difference in the world.  “Being a professional,” he said, “doesn’t mean wearing a suit and tie.  It can be giving someone a box of cereal so their children can have food in the morning, or a bag of rice so they can have food at night.”

For students who don’t know where to start when it comes to volunteering, India LaRoda’s advice is for students to look to their own interests. “Think about what you’re passionate about,” she said.  “That will make you want to volunteer.”  Her own experience volunteering with the Special Olympics in middle school inspired her current work as a behavioral interventionist for children with special needs.

Adam Garner, campaigns manager at DoSomething.org, an online platform that motivates young people to make positive change, described the spirit of service as the desire to help others without the need for personal recognition.  He summed it up saying simply:  “If you can help, you help.”

#PayItForward was organized by the Parents Committee of LSA Family Health Service, a group committed to engaging youth in service at the East Harlem nonprofit.  The event was cohosted by the Covent of the Sacred Heart School and sponsored by Carnegie Hill Neighbors and Gourmet Garage.

PayItForward India LaRoda

India LaRoda and guests; India shared insight from her extensive volunteer experience.

PayItForward Guests

Students of Convent of the Sacred Heart school shared in the spirit of the event by volunteering to distribute materials and assist guests.

PayItForward Adam Garner

Adam Garner shared his personal take on what volunteering is really about.

PayItForward Student Panel

Student volunteers described what they learned from their service experiences.

PayItForward Expert Panel

Speakers described the benefits for teens engaged in service.

09 Jun

Volunteer Appreciation Evening

Volunteer Appreciation Evening

An evening to celebrate the invaluable contributions of LSA’s volunteers.  Volunteers will enjoy dinner and share their experiences of service with children and families.

For more information about this event, contact Trish Gough, Director of Volunteer Services.

Volunteer Appreciation Evening - June 9, 2017

26 Apr

National Volunteer Week

It’s National Volunteer Week, and here at LSA we are counting our volunteer blessings!

We have an amazing group of dedicated, passionate volunteers who support nearly every program at LSA.  From after school tutors, to homework helpers, early childhood classroom assistants and food pantry and thrift store helpers (to name just a few), our volunteers are truly invaluable to the services we provide to our East Harlem neighbors.

75 volunteers are currently supporting LSA. We know we really can’t do the good work we do without them!

We are celebrating all week on social media by highlighting some of the amazing volunteers who help us serve the community, like Fran, the volunteer tutor in the photo above.   Read about her and other volunteers below.

We’ll be celebrating again on June 9th, at our annual Volunteer Appreciation Evening.

From the bottom of all our hearts here at LSA, THANK YOU volunteers, for all you do!

 

 

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.

 

31 May

Volunteer Appreciation Party

Volunteer Appreciation Event

Join us for a celebration of LSA’s wonderful volunteers!

This is one of our most special celebrations, as volunteers share some of the touching experiences they have had working with families at LSA.  Refreshments will be served and special recognition will be given to current volunteers.

Please RSVP: Trish Gough, Director of Volunteer Programs

14 May

Spring Cleaning with Food Bank Volunteers

Thanks to volunteers from Food Bank of New York, Saturday, May 14th the LSA building will be be getting a “spring cleaning” plus a planting/sprucing up of first floor backyard patio.

12 Dec

Volunteer Opportunity: Holiday Arts & Crafts, with Junior Board

Get into the holiday spirit!

The LSA Family Health Service Junior Board invites you to our Annual Holiday Arts & Crafts event with children from LSA’s Youth programs!
Saturday, December 12th from 11am – 1pm
Location: 333 East 115th Street (between 1st and 2nd Ave)
We’ll be making Christmas tree ornaments and afterwards will decorate the LSA lobby tree, as well as create holiday cards with the children, plus other fun holiday-themed activities!
Please be sure to RSVP to Trish Gough no later than Thursday Dec 7th so we have an accurate head count (tgough@lsafhs.org or (646) 672-0434).
We look forward to having you join us!
23 Nov

P138 Students Hold a Food Drive for LSA

Today students from P138 in East Harlem visited LSA with donations of food for our pantry, collected through a food drive at the school.  The special needs students and their families brought in canned and dry staples, collecting over 200 items in all.  Rumor has it there was a friendly classroom competition to see which of the three participating classes could collect the most items.  We hope they all had fun and thank the students and families for their generosity!

These donations are particularly timely, as we tend to see an increase in need for food pantry services during the holiday season.

During their visit, the students, ranging from grades 7-12, learned about our food pantry and the other programs we offer.  They asked great questions, and even helped to stock the shelves.

Our thanks to the students, teachers and families of P138 for their fantastic donation!

To learn about hosting a food drive and other volunteer opportunities, visit our Volunteer page.