In celebration of Mother’s Day Justine Simmons, featured cast member of the reality television series Run’s House and supermodel and LESC Ambassador Heidi Albertsen, heidialbertsen.com, recently visited Su Casa – a residential treatment facility of the Lower Eastside Service Center (LESC).
Among the several programs included at Su Casa is the Pregnant Women & Infants Program (PWIP) – a unique program created to benefit the unmet needs of pregnant women with opiate addiction. The hope and encouragement that Ms. Simmons and Ms. Albertsen continue to give these women is remarkable. One woman, In particular, was incredibly moved by the warmth and caring offered by these celebrities.
LESC, long considered a pioneer in the substance abuse treatment field, recognized the heartrending critical needs of chemically dependent pregnant women in the New York community and created a first-ever residential treatment program to benefit opiate dependant soon-to-be-moms, to help them learn to successfully attend to their newborns.
In the words of LESC’s President and CEO, Herb Barish, “These pregnant women come to us addicted to opiates and, through the efforts of our qualified team of professionals, we create individualized medicated assisted treatment plans which include specialized high-risk obstetrical and neonatal care.” PWIP offers women the opportunity to live in its residential program while pregnant and continue to live there with their child for up to a year after giving birth. After giving birth these women are given the extraordinary opportunity to taper off drugs while at the same time learning the skills needed to care for their new born.
When women arrive at PWIP their future appears bleak, their prospects of recovery uncertain, and their babies’ futures hold little hope. For many women, PWIP is their only hope for learning how to bond with and care for their children, keep a clean and stable home, and to return to their families, home, neighborhoods and jobs. Our extremely successful and one-of-a-kind PWIP program empowers mother, nurtures babies and advances recovery.
The visit by Ms. Simmons and Ms. Albertsen simply let our clients know that there are people who really do care. It seems that the love, hugs and kisses shared by Ms. Simmons, Ms. Albertsen and the residents during that much appreciated visit will be remembered by all for a long time to come.
Celebrating its 52nd anniversary LESC is a non-profit, 501 (C) 3 tax-exempt, organization that provides a full continuum of on-site treatment and care for New Yorkers living with chemical dependency and/or mental illness. LESC offers a variety of programs, including several residential treatment programs and several out- patient treatment programs, a pregnant women and infants program, a permanent supportive housing complex for individuals living with HIV/AIDS, a continuing day treatment program for New Yorker’s Chinatown community on the Lower East Side and our newest venture, Bridge2Life.
In addition to creating PWIP, Herb Barish, LESC’s President & CEO is also responsible for creating one of the more innovative programs recently developed by LESC – Bridge2Life Camp & Charles Evans Kids Club – a one-of-a-kind program benefiting the needs of children in families with a history of addiction.
The Kids Club offers a year-round program for children, ages 8-12, anchored by Bridge2Life Camp where inner-city kids are given the opportunity to escape from the asphalt jungle and experience all the joys that summer camp has to offer. Our goal is to interrupt the vicious cycle of addiction, which is more likely to occur among these children than among their peers.