Lutheran HealthCare Community Programs

Support Services

Department of Community-Based Programs

The Department of Community-Based Programs has a twenty-seven year history of providing educational and supportive services to community residents and their families. The work of the Department is grounded in the philosophy that is the foundation of Lutheran HealthCare’s holistic orientation to community health – that health depends upon such factors as an individual’s psychosocial, familial, economic, housing, educational, and employment status. The Department is committed to affirming each family’s cultural, ethnic and linguistic identities. As such, our work is deeply routed in community social work practice, ensuring that programs are always designed to be responsive to evolving family and community issues in the context of a diverse, multicultural society.

The department’s expertise incorporates the following areas:

  • Designing and developing culturally competent programs which meet the needs of the diverse populations, particularly new immigrant families, in our community
  • Developing strong collaborative relationships with community partners to create integrated service delivery systems.
  • Utilizing a model of community building, that promotes participatory management and supports relationship and community involvement at all levels.
  • Recognizing that families are resources to their own members, to other families, to programs and to communities.
  • Advocating with families for services and systems that are fair, responsive and accountable to the families served.
  • Work with families to mobilize formal and informal resources to support family development.

Family Support Center

The Family Support Center, the department’s newest initiative, brings together 7 community programs together under one roof to provide a fully integrated “one-stop shopping” hub for family strengthening services in southwest Brooklyn. The services offered at the Family Support Center include:

  • Family Support Services: Case management services, including psychoeducational workshops, linkage to community resources, and advocacy;
  • Adult and Family Education: Free classes in ESOL, basic education, family literacy, GED preparation, and computer classes;
  • WIC: Nutrition education and food supplements provided for pregnant and postpartum women and children under age 5;
  • Healthy Connections: Individual, group, and family counseling for individuals and families affected by trauma, grief, and loss;
  • Reach Out and Read: Early childhood literacy programming and volunteer opportunities;
  • AmeriCorps/VISTA: Community involvement and leadership development provided through the Sunset Park Community HealthCorps.

Adult and Family Education

The Adult and Family Education Program, established in 1976, is centered on the belief that all adults deserve access to free, high-quality basic educational services to help them achieve their goals in life. To this end, we offer classes in English for Speakers of Others Languages (ESOL) Basic Education (BE), preparation for the high school equivalence diploma (GED), and Computer Technology classes. Morning, afternoon and evening classes are held at our main site at the Family Support Center as well as at other community sites in Sunset Park and Bay Ridge, including churches, schools, and senior citizen and community centers. The Adult and Family Education Program serves 700 students annually.

Family Support Services

This program is the core of the Family Support Center, assisting participants in accessing the full range of services available to them both within the center and in the community. Program staff provide case management services including short-term counseling, crisis intervention, information and referrals to community resources, assistance with enrollment to public benefits, advocacy, advocacy, workshops, and support groups.

Healthy Connections

Healthy Connections was founded after the events of 9/11 to assist individuals and families in coping with issues of trauma, violence, grief, and loss. The program provides individual, group, and family therapy and specializes in working with children and families.

Reach Out and Read

The Reach Out and Read program is a pediatric literacy program in which pediatric providers, educators, volunteers, and parents work together to support language and literacy skill development for children ages 6 months to 5 years of age. Children receive a new developmentally appropriate book during each well-child visit to our family health centers. Parents receive educational information about children and literacy. Story-time volunteers read to children in the waiting rooms, helping to create a literacy-rich environment in each health center. Volunteers to this program are always welcome.

Sunset Park Community HealthCorps / AmeriCorps

The Community HealthCorps is an AmeriCorps program sponsored by the New York State Commission on National and Community Service and the National Association of Community Health Centers. Through AmeriCorps, the domestic Peace Corps, a team of 20 full-time national service volunteers joins Lutheran Family Health Centers and dedicate themselves to a year of serving residents of Sunset Park and other southwest Brooklyn neighborhoods in placements throughout the Family Health Center programs. In exchange for their service, members receive extensive training, a living allowance, an educational award, medical insurance and, if eligible, child care.

Sunset Park Even Start Family Literacy Partnership

This program is a Family Literacy Partnership between Lutheran Medical Center and District 20 of the NYC Department of Education. The program provides services for 40 families who live in the catchment area of Public School 314. While parents participate in ESOL class and parenting support classes, their preschool children attend the early childhood education class and encounter literacy in a wide variety of meaningful and enjoyable activities.

Center for Child Development

The Center for Child Development is a family-centered program providing developmental services for children from birth to 12 years. Early Intervention and Pediatric Rehabilitation services are provided by a multidisciplinary team, working closely with families. Services include Child Development Screenings and Evaluations; Audiology Assessments for Children and Adults; Physical Therapy; Occupational Therapy; Speech and Language Therapy; Social Work; Special Instruction; Service Coordination; Parent Support and Workshops on Child Development Issues.

Early Childhood Centers

Lutheran Family Health Centers sponsors full-day, year-round early childhood centers for children, ages 6 months to 12 years. In a supportive, stimulating and enriching environment, teachers and caregivers work in partnership with families and community collaborators to support children to reach their social, emotional and academic potential. The centers are licensed by the Department of Health and funded by the Administration for Children’s Services and the Department of Education. Participating families meet income eligibility guidelines.

Sunset Park Community Center for Older Adults

Sunset Park Community Center for Older Adults provides hot nutritious meals and recreational activities to over 100 older adults, Mondays through Fridays, from 8:00 am to 4 p.m. located at 4520 4th Avenue. Older adults who attend the senior center are also offered the opportunity to participate in educational and recreational activities such as English for Speakers of Other Languages, immigration counseling, yoga, entitlement counseling, health education, computer classes, walking club monthly trips, and arts and crafts.

  • Magical Years Early Childhood Center
  • St. Andrew’s Community Day Care
  • Warren Street Center for Children and Families

Health Accent Wellness Program – 55 + and Going Strong

Health Accent is an activity and wellness program for adults 55 years of age and older. Its goal is to help older adults remain active within their own community by providing health promotion and disease prevention programs. Members receive free screenings, and are invited to attend health education seminars on disease prevention. In addition, Health Accent offers recreational and educational opportunities, a Walkers Group and the Swim & Water Aerobics Program. There is a nominal membership fee and members receive a quarterly newsletter and invitations to participate in exciting hospital events and programs.

Volunteer Opportunities

Each year more than 600 concerned and dedicated community members serve as Lutheran HealthCare volunteers, enhancing the quality of our services by providing assistance to patients, their families, visitors and staff. Our volunteers are high school and college students, retirees, career professionals, employed and unemployed, couples and former patients or their family members and friends. We invite you to become involved and make a difference in patient’s lives.

What We Offer

We have volunteer opportunities to match your interests, skills and schedule. Join us to make good things happen in our community, explore health career opportunities, gain work experience, brush up on your skills, meet academic requirements and meet new people.

How to Get Started

If you’re interested in volunteering at Lutheran HealthCare, please:

  • Review and complete the application
  • Bring your completed application to the interview appointment
  • Review of your application and the interview will help us determine the best volunteer assignment/position for you
  • Complete and return your medical clearance forms
  • You will receive the form at the time of your interview
  • Attend all orientations and trainings required for your assignment

Volunteer Opportunities

Lutheran HealthCare is committed to complementing and supporting the goals and objectives of many departments and programs by providing compassionate, well-trained, and resourceful individuals whop help enhance the quality of services for our customers. Many of our volunteers are bilingual. We are actively recruiting bilingual volunteers who represent the communities we serve.

There are more than 80 areas and programs in which volunteers are placed. Placements range from those with direct patient contact, such as the Rehabilitation Programs to those with little patient contact, such as clerical support. Here is a sample listing:

Patient Support Services

  • Ambassador Program
  • Ambulatory Surgery
  • Emergency Department Family Liaison
  • Escort Service
  • Health Literacy Program
  • Interpreter Services
  • Pastoral Care
  • Patient Assistance – Nursing Units
  • Patient Navigators – Oncology
  • Pediatrics Play Program
  • Physical and Occupational Therapy
  • Pups for Patients
  • Reach Out and Read
  • Recreational Activities

Office Support Programs

  • Data Entry Projects
  • External Affairs
  • Information Desk
  • Medical Records
  • Pastoral Care
  • Patient Relations
  • Performance Management
  • Pre-Admission Testing
  • Research Projects
  • Special Mailings and Projects

Outreach and Support Services

  • Community Health Education – Health Fairs
  • Fundraising
  • One Time Projects
  • Seniors in Touch – Recreation with the Elderly
  • Telephone Survey

Q & A

What are the time requirements?
The minimum time commitment is 4 hours a week, unless otherwise specified. Volunteers are asked to make a commitment to serve at least 150 hours over a period of one year or a minimum of six (6) months. Letters of reference are written for 150 hours of service or more. Academic requirements for internship hours for one term can be discussed at the initial interview appointment.

What is the minimum age to volunteer?
The minimum age is 14.

How long does it take to be processed once the application is completed?
On average it takes about 4 weeks to be processed and ready for placement.

Are there volunteer opportunities in the summer?
We accept students for summer placements. Many students volunteer from June – August. A minimum of 10 hours per week is required. Apply by the month of May to assure summer placement.

If I volunteer during the summer, may I return at vacation time or next summer?
Yes, when you leave at the end of the summer, let us know that you intend to return during vacation times and the following summer.

Does volunteering at the hospital mean I will be able to get a job there?
Volunteering at the hospital does not guarantee employment.


Lutheran HealthCare volunteers receive:

  • A courtesy meal ticket each day worked
  • A letter of recommendation upon request (minimum of 150 hours required)
  • A volunteer uniform to wear on hospital premises
  • An invitation to the annual recognition event
  • A free annual flu shot
  • Rewards affiliated with helping others

Lutheran Medical Center Auxiliary

The LMC Auxiliary is an integral part of the Lutheran HealthCare family. Started in 1906, the auxiliary supports the work of the medical center through service-oriented projects and fundraising activities. Through the years, the auxiliary has donated more than $2 million dollars to purchase a new trauma service ambulance, multilingual signage for the hospital, cutting edge radiation therapy equipment for cancer patients, expansion of the emergency room and recovery rooms, renovation of the NICU and the addition of new elevators.

Members of the auxiliary are dedicated to:

  • Providing services to patients and their families.
  • Promoting the hospital in the community.
  • Fundraising to support patient care needs.

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