The Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service, founded in 1958, is a nonprofit, community-based organization that works with the people of East Harlem to address the physical, emotional, educational and spiritual dimensions of family health. Our home-based and center-based programs are designed to empower those who are most vulnerable and who have least access to the basic necessities of life, in the conviction that the entire community grows when individuals and families are affirmed in their own dignity. Our work is based upon a profound belief in the strength of families, even when they seem to have overwhelming problems. We work flexibily with families for as long as necessary, and never refuse or interrupt work with a family for lack of government funding or other reimbursements.
LSA has developed a range of services in five basic program areas: 1) The Certified Home Health Agency provides skilled nursing, physical therapy, aide services, social work and pastoral care in the home. 2) Education Program: for children and adults. For children, we have After School Tutoring, Summer Reading Academy, art classes, computer classes and other children activities. The Adult Community Education Program offers classes in ESL, GED and Pre GED and Basic Education/Spanish Literacy for adults. 3) Thrift Store -- Our thrift store, the Sharing Place, has become a resource for the whole community as a place to buy low-cost, high quality items. 4) The Family Support Program works closely with parents/caregivers in severely stressed families whose children are at risk for abuse or neglect, so that family unity is not disrupted and children are spared the trauma of foster care placement. 5) The Early Childhood Program is designed from birth to age three. It has three components: Home-Based Child Development, the Toddler Nursery and the Early Intervention Program. Healthy child development is the focus of this program, and includes parental support and counseling. 6) The Advocacy Program helps families gain access to services to which they are entitled and brings the needs of poor families to the attention of public officials. Our Emergency Food Pantry provides emergency food packages to families who have exhausted all other resources, and especially for pregnant women and new mothers whose nutritional needs are most acute.
From the beginning, LSA had a vision: that the inherent strength of families is a bedrock on which to build. When we opened in 1958, our primary focus was on providing skilled nursing care to poor families in their own homes - especially to pregnant women, new parents and their babies, and the elderly homebound and infirm.
Today we offer a broad range of health care, social services, education, advocacy and crisis counseling services to hundreds of the most vulnerable families in the community. We work with the poorest families, many of whom are recent immigrants who speak little English.
Our staff is comprised mostly of professionals: community health nurses, social workers, educators, child development specialists, and advocates. Volunteers play a very important role at our agency, and offer a vital presence to all our programs.