A Word From our New President & CEO

New LSSNY President & CEO, Damyn Kelly, meeting with community partners at a Welcome Reception on February 27, 2017

Finding Ourselves, Through Service

Mahatma Gandhi said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” As I spend my first weeks settling in as President & CEO of LSSNY, I’m busy meeting with our staff, touring program sites and talking to community and church partners. What’s struck me the most? It’s the belief among everyone in our community that to honor our true selves, we must help others. We want to build communities, make the road a little easier for our neighbors and guide people toward a better future. Across programs as varied as hunger prevention, immigration legal, early childhood education, housing, foster care and special education, a common thread becomes apparent: fostering human dignity for all. As I carve out a path for us in the coming years, foremost in my planning are goals to:

  • Strengthen our position as a thought leader in the human services industry
  • Ensure quality services through evidence-based practices and programs
  • Stay ahead of the curve with innovative ideas and solutions
  • Connect with Lutheran congregations and community partners to ensure our collective work benefits the most people, and secure our financial viability

This lofty list can only be undertaken in collaboration with our talented staff and volunteers — who dive into their work each day —perhaps “losing themselves” in the face of that hard work, only to find their greater self in their service to others.

Damyn Kelly

Damyn Kelly


The New LIFE School Achieves 700% Increase in Regents Exam Pass Rates

Every year, thousands of 10th and 11th graders take Regents exams in a variety of subjects to graduate from high school. For students with special needs, passing the three-hour exams can be one of the biggest challenges they face in high school, and an obstacle to graduating on time, if at all. That’s why the astounding growth in Regents pass rates at The New LIFE School (TNLS), a 700% increase in school year 2015-16, is so remarkable. To make this happen, the school administration, especially the guidance department, worked hard to link students to individualized and targeted academic support. Principal Rachel Kornfeld attributed the growth to “a new wave of teachers with passion and skill for meeting students at their level and helping them to reach their true potential.” Collectively, the school emphasized:

  • a multidisciplinary approach using classroom activities, academic field trips and social/emotional engagement techniques to motivate students to want to progress at school
  • a heavy focus on aligning the classroom curriculum to the Common Core concepts found on the new Regents exams
  • the recruitment of innovative teaching staff and a math tutor focused on Regents prep
  • the use of paired classroom teachers and teaching assistants who work together to plan and teach
  • better computer access for teachers to plan multi-sensory lessons

A goal of TNLS is “to make the school fit the student, not the student to the school,” by emphasizing instruction that’s tailored to students’ needs. The positive impact of that philosophy is now being realized — with Regents scores that students can be proud of.

Health Homes are Helping Children with Chronic Health Conditions

As a provider of Head Start services in our Early LIFE childhood education centers, LSSNY has a history of providing holistic programs (education for preschoolers and toddlers, parent workshops, and nutritional support and guidance) to communities in need. LSSNY has recently been designated as a Health Home Care Management Agency of the Collaborative for Children & Families. LSSNY’s care managers will work with families on Medicaid who have children with chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes and HIV/AIDS, to provide comprehensive care management and family support so that children have consistent access to the healthcare they need to stay healthy.

Find out more about the program here.

New Immigration Hotline

LSSNY’s Immigration Legal Program has opened a new Immigration Hotline to help immigrants and their families understand the impact of recent executive orders on immigration policies. They can answer questions about immigration law, policies, and help people access additional assistance. Calls will be answered in person from 3:30pm-4:30pm, Monday to Friday. At other times, callers can leave a message and someone from the Immigration Legal Program will call them back.

Earth Day 2017

 We at LSSNY believe in being good stewards of our environment. We will celebrate Earth Day throughout our programs and services with a range of activities, from volunteers creating gardens at our residences for the formerly homeless to interactive learning projects about the environment at our Early LIFE Childhood Education Centers.

Join us at our 12th Annual Awards Reception!

Lutheran Social Services of New York is hosting the next event in its educational series to commemorate the 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation. The Celebration of Joy honors the blessings LSSNY has received from friends and supporters as it works to provide human services to those in need. This gathering will feature presentations by religious scholars on the pivotal connection between Martin Luther’s legacy and the provision of human services in the metropolitan New York area.

 Click here to purchase a sponsorship or tickets.

Lenten Prayer Requests

We invite you to share your prayer requests with us during the Lenten Season and we will include them in our weekly staff devotion. Your support of our mission and work improves the lives of 7,000 people every day. Thank you.

Click here to send us your prayer request.


Head Teacher – Early LIFE Program  The Head Teacher is responsible for the academic, instructional, remedial, behavioral and adaptive needs of all their children in an assigned age level classroom, as part of LSSNY’s early childhood program. The teacher must have a functional understanding and ability to meet all reporting mandates as determined by various governmental agencies.

The Director of Early LIFE Center –The Director of Early LIFE Preschool is responsible for the running of a daily childhood program at a particular site, current and future planning opportunities, supervision of staff and children and the provision of all needed and required services at that particular site, as presented by Federal, State, local government mandates and the Early Learn Contract with ACS.

Outreach Care Manager  The Outreach Care Manager conducts outreach to a diverse group of clients with varying physical and mental health disabilities. The position involves significant time spent independently in the community. In the Care Manager role, s/he is ultimately responsible for the overall provision and coordination of services to patients on the assigned caseload.

Volunteers: Embracing Life through Service

Our volunteers go above and beyond when it comes to helping clients and supporting our programs. We have volunteers and interns in programs such as Foster Care, Early LIFE childhood education, New LIFE Center – Long Island Food Pantry, The New Life School and in our central office. Volunteers do office work, read to students and support classrooms, distribute food to the hungry, and even write/edit marketing materials for the agency. Altogether, an estimated 50 volunteers and interns spend 350 hours per month working at LSSNY. In the summertime, we are blessed to have high-school students who volunteer as interns. They visit from as far away as Colorado and North Carolina, spending six weeks with our staff.

Interested in volunteering? Contact James Darden, Director of Volunteers and Interns at jdarden@lssny.org.