Author: amphsnational

Founded in 2010, AMPHS strives to create a local system of making care more accessible to immigrant New Yorkers through culturally-sensitive intervention methods, de-institutionalized healthcare environments, and grassroots outreach. Our Mission: Academy of Medical & Public Health Services is a not-for-profit health service organization with a triple aim to identify barriers to health and wellness in underserved immigrant communities; coordinate truly needed primary care with social assistance; and deliver care with dignity and empathy to marginalized New Yorkers. Through its community public health interventions, AMPHS lends to the empowerment of individuals and communities to create their own local and culturally-sensitive health and wellness paradigms. Our Vision: AMPHS strives to be a premiere interdisciplinary health service organization, building faith and transparency within our communities. From strengthening our foundation through the public trust, we work to integrate healthcare systems, education, awareness, and disease prevention such that all people can appreciate healthcare not as a privilege, but as a basic human right.

AMPHS CORONAVIRUS UPDATES AS OF 3/28/2020

Click on these links to see this in: English, Spanish (español), Chinese (中文), Arabic (عربى)

While we are all staying at home to ensure safe social distancing, we want to let you know that AMPHS is here to help! On Wednesday, March 25, we celebrated our tenth birthday since AMPHS was founded in 2010, at a time when we are undergoing one of our greatest public health crises and when we know how important health justice means to our communities. If you need to speak with someone to receive social assistance services during this difficult time, our phone lines are open Tuesday to Saturday, 10 AM – 6 PM at (212) 256-9036

We are aware that this week has been an eventful one for many parents in our community as remote learning began Monday, March 23rd, 2020. We understand that this new system continues to cause confusion and concerns for many families. Today’s newsletter is meant to share updates from the Department of Education and to help alleviate some of the community’s concerns regarding this shift to remote learning. As of today, there were 52,318 cases in NYS and 29,766 in NYC.

Where and when can I or my child get free meals?

The New York City Department of Education is committed to making three free meals available daily for all NYC children. Beginning March 23, meals will be distributed at more than 400 sites across the city. Three meals a day will be available to all NYC children, Monday through Friday 7:30 am to 1:30 pm at locations across the city.  Parents can find the closest location serving meals here. Families may also text the word “Food” or “Comida” to  877-877 to find the closest meal hub.

What do I need to pick up free meals?

Meal distribution hubs will serve anybody, including adults, and have been directed to not turn anyone away. Parents and guardians may pick up meals for themselves and their children without the child present, and should simply tell the staff at the location how many people they need to feed‎. No registration, ID, or documentation required. All three meals may (and should) be picked up at the same time to minimize contact. No dining space is available, so meals must be eaten off premises. .

What platform is being used for remote learning?

Each school has its own online platform, with many schools using Google Classroom. Educators have contacted school communities to let you know what remote learning tool your child’s school will be using. You can find instructions on DOE student accounts and getting started in Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams at schools.nyc.gov/learnathome. If you are having additional problems connecting, contact your school directly via email. Find a School tool can help you find contact information for your school as well, if you do not already have it: schools.nyc.gov/find-a-school.

What devices can be used for remote learning?

Families can access remote learning from any internet-enabled electronic device including laptops, Chromebooks, iPads, X-box, Playstation, cellphones, etc.  If families need an electronic device, Parent Coordinators can help them fill out the request form.

My child doesn’t have a device at home for remote learning, how can we get access to one?

The Department of Education (DOE) will help you get a device with internet connection. If your child needs a device to participate in remote learning, and you have not yet filled out a device request form, please visit coronavirus.schools.nyc/RemoteLearningDevices

Throughout last week, the many schools distributed the devices they previously had to students and the DOE has secured additional devices that it will be distributing to students under tiered “priority” categories over the next several weeks. Apple has donated 300,000 iPads to the DOE. The first 25,000 of this 300,000 began delivery Monday, March 23rd, to students in temporary housing. As they receive the next shipment of 50,000 next week, the DOE will continue to ensure that the 100,000  students in temporary housing have priority for delivery. They anticipate another delivery of 50,000 each week until they have given out all 300,000. Devices are being given on a rolling basis, so families that have filled out the survey should expect to be contacted soon. 

Families who have trouble connecting should reach out to their schools directly. Each school will be troubleshooting its own remote technology issues with support from DOE. The DOE is working to create more supports for parents in this transition. Educators have received both guidance and training to support them during this switch to remote learning. 

How many devices should each family receive? 

Each school-aged child should receive their own device. If your school has only provided one device for multiple children, you should fill out the survey to request additional devices. 

Will digital assistance be provided to families in other languages? 

The DOE is working directly with Google to create tutorials and guidance in all the top 9 languages, and will also work to get more languages available. The call line 718-935-5100, option 5, should also have translation services available. 

What will happen if my child is in an Individualized Education Program (IEP)?

If your student is recommended for integrated co-teaching, special class, or special education teacher support services, your school will make every effort to arrange for them to continue to receive instruction from the same special education teachers and classroom paraprofessionals that usually teach them. Someone from your school will contact you to discuss how instruction will be delivered. Your child’s IEP meetings will still take place; IEP meetings will be conducted by phone. To make a referral for initial evaluation or reevaluation, you can email your principal or specialeducation@schools.nyc.gov, or call 311. For more on remote learning for students with IEPs, please visit schools.nyc.gov/learnathome.

How can families contact schools? 

 You may contact schools via phone, however, they have suggested the best way to reach out is by email. Emails for principals, parent coordinators, and teachers are available on the school websites that are publicly available. Please contact Deputy Director for Community Affairs, Michele Martinez Gugerli, (MMartinezgugerli@schools.nyc.gov) if a school does not have email contacts on their website. The DOE will continue to work on developing ways for families to connect with their schools.

How can newly arrived immigrants enroll in school?

Family Welcome Center (FWC) staff are available remotely to assist with enrollment and placement of new admissions, questions around admissions, information about offers, and waitlists. To receive direct support e-mail your questions to (and/or call 311):

How can families who don’t have Wi-Fi access remote learning for their children?

If the youth receives a loaned DOE device, the device will be WiFi enabled. However, for areas where these services are not yet provided and/or for other issues regarding WiFi, the DOE says they will continue to work with providers and find solutions.

  • Charter Communications is giving households with K-12 and college students free Spectrum Wi-Fi for 60 days, along with free installation of the service for low-income families. Those who qualify as low-income will still be eligible for high-speed broadband. Charter will also expand Wi-Fi hotspots to the public in areas covered in Charter’s available regions. To enroll your household in this Spectrum offer, call 1-844-488-8395. Customers who sign up for the free service will automatically be billed for using internet access after the first 60 days unless they call Spectrum to cancel the service. Availability of services also depends on your address.
  • Low-income families who live in a Comcast (Xifinity) service area can sign up for 60 days of free Internet Essentials service as a new customer. The company is also increasing internet speeds for the Internet Essentials service from 15/2 Mbps to 25/3 Mbps for all new and existing customers indefinitely. To enroll your household in this offer, you can do so online by visiting  www.internetessentials.com, or you may call 1-855-846-8376 for English and 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.
  • AT&T will be offering free service at their public wifi hotspots for 60 days.
  • Verizon, AT&T, Spectrum, and Comcast will not charge late fees or disconnect accounts for an indefinite amount of time.
  • T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, and Comcast are all lifting their unlimited data caps for cell phone subscribers for at least 60 days.

What will happen if students don’t have their technology in time?  

The DOE knows there will be a lag time as people get access to technology and Wi-Fi and/or adjust to online learning. Students will not be penalized for any gaps during this time of transition. Prior to receiving their technology, schools should be providing packets and printed materials, which are also available at Regional Enrichment Center. Schools may also be providing delivery if students are unable to pick up materials. If you face any issues, reach out to your school’s Principal or Superintendent. 

Are parents required to print assignments for their children?

No, teachers  cannot require students and their parents to use printed materials unless they are provided. If your child’s teacher is requiring printing, please inform your Principal or Superintendent.

Are schools taking attendance? Is there a uniform policy? 

A uniform set of guidance has been sent around to schools. Parents should not be asked to confirm attendance for their children. Please reach out to your Principal or Superintendent if you have been told this was a requirement.

What are Regional Enrichment Centers? 

Starting March 23rd, the Department of Education opened around 93 “Regional Enrichment Centers” and child care sites across the city for all city children of healthcare, emergency services, transit workers, grocery and pharmacy workers regardless of whether they go to public or private school. Children of other “essential” service jobs may be allowed at these sites as space permits. They are open 7:30AM to 6:00PM. Each room serves a minimum of 12 children and children will have the opportunity to participate in remote learning as well as art, music, and physical education. Parents should fill out this survey to find out if they qualify for childcare at this time.

What is the eligibility for Regional Enrichment Centers? 

While DOE has not finalized the list of eligible youth, currently centers will serve the children of first responders and critical staff, including Emergency Medical Services, healthcare workers, transit workers, and other critical workers. It also recently expanded to include grocery and pharmacy workers (please note that criteria is not as expansive as statewide executive order definitions). 

Additional Resources

Supplemental Learn-at-Home Resources for your Children

Free printable K-8 Reading and Math activity packs (available in English and Spanish)

Chinese Learning Activities

Parents’ Guide to Google Classroom

The following are locations offering free meals to families within District 15 and District 20. All locations, dates, times and menus are subject to change.

District 15:

District 20:

AMPHS CORONAVIRUS UPDATES AS OF 3/20/2020

Click on these links to see this in: English, Spanish (español), Chinese (中文)

We hope everyone is staying safe. AMPHS began to transition to remote services this week. Our phone lines will still be open Tuesday to Saturday, 10 AM – 6 PM at (212) 256-9036 and our counseling services will transition to a videoconference service. During these difficult times, it has been gratifying to see the community come together, especially mutual aid groups of concerned neighbors. We are happy to have been able to provide supplies to help support the volunteers at United Senior Citizens Center deliver meals to seniors and to collaborate with community activists to organize a fundraising campaign to support struggling small businesses.

There have been many changes over the past weeks regarding guidance for the coronavirus crisis. Please see the latest updates, based on changes from New York State Governor’s Office, NYC Mayor’s Office, and NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene as of March 20, 2020. At this time, there are 6,211 cases in NYC and 10,356 in NYS. Our staff are working hard to ensure that everyone has the up-to-date information in your language. If you are interested in volunteering to translate material, please email us at personnel.resources@amphsonline.org. All updates are also available online on our blog.

DAILY LIVING 

What is the current public health guidance?

There is widespread community transmission of COVID-19 happening in New York City. Community transmission means that COVID-19 is circulating in NYC and that we should act as if we are all exposed.  If you are sick, you must stay home. All New Yorkers must monitor their health carefully. Only seek health care if you are very sick. The city needs to make sure people with severe illness will be able to stay in a hospital or intensive care unit if they need to. Even if you are not sick, stay home as much as you can: work from home, study from home and avoid all unnecessary interactions and events.

What is the current requirement for businesses’ workforce?

As of 8PM on Sunday, March 22, 2020, 100% of New York’s workforce will have to stay home; only essential business will remain open. Essential businesses include: grocers and restaurants, health care providers, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, banks, hardware stores, laundromats and cleaners, child-care providers, auto repair shops, utility companies, warehouses and distributors, delivery services, plumbers and other skilled contractors, animal-care providers, transportation providers, construction companies and many kinds of manufacturers. Starting on Saturday, March 21, 2020, all barber shops, hair and nail salons, tattoo or piercing parlors and other personal care businesses in New York State must close. There will be civil fines and mandatory closures for businesses not in compliance. 

What are the guidelines for smaller gatherings, such as if I have a gathering at home with friends or family?

Governor Cuomo’s policy bans all nonessential gatherings of any size for any reason and asks every New Yorker to stay home. 

What is a “shelter in place” and how likely is it that it will happen in NYC?

Mayor De Blasio has been advocating for a “shelter-in-place” order for New York City; however, this is not in effect right now until the Governor approves it. This is a directive to maximize people being at home and to reduce all non-essential activity. It does not involve shutting down the city and closing bridges or borders. A similar shelter-in-place is already happening in San Francisco.

Is mass transportation being affected by the coronavirus?

The MTA is no longer scheduling shared rides for Access-A-Ride services effective Thursday, March 19 in order to protect riders. Riders can travel with a personal care attendant or approved guest. Mass transit will continue to function regularly.Most buses in New York City will be free starting on Monday, March 23, as the M.T.A. tries to keep service going while protecting workers and riders. They will require rear bus entry.

Are there changes to important deadlines?

  • As of Friday, March 20th, 2020, Tax Day will be moved to July 15, giving Americans an additional three months to file their income tax returns.
  • The deadline to submit pre-K applications has been extended to March 29th. Families can apply both online, 24 hours a day, via MySchools or via phone at 718-935-2009 between the hours of 8:00 AM-6:00 PM Monday-Friday. Additional questions about applications should be directed to the above phone line or to ESEnrollment@schools.nyc.gov.
  • As of March 18, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has suspended routine in-person services until at least April 1st, but will continue its other daily operations. However, USCIS will provide emergency services for limited situations. To schedule an emergency appointment contact the USCIS Contact Center.
  • New York State will temporarily suspend collection of student, medical, and other state-referred debt for at least 30 days, through April 15. 
  • The Governor has ordered banks and financial institutions to waive mortgage payments for three months for homeowners facing virus-related financial hardship if they are not working or only working part-time.
  • There are no more in-person interviews for food stamps or public assistance. All of that has been converted to online and phone interviews and processing.
  • Enrollment for New York State of Health Affordable Care Act has opened again, through April 15th. You can sign up through the online insurance exchange or by contacting navigator programs, like the Community Service Society of New York.
  • There is a 90-day moratorium on residential and commercial evictions.

I do not have access to Wi-Fi at home, are there any providers offering free access to internet services?

  • Charter Communications is giving households with K-12 and college students free Spectrum Wi-Fi for 60 days, along with free installation of the service for low-income families. Those who qualify as low-income will still be eligible for high-speed broadband. Charter will also expand Wi-Fi hotspots to the public in areas covered in Charter’s available regions. To enroll your household in this Spectrum offer, call 1-844-488-8395. Customers who sign up for the free service will automatically be billed for using internet access after the first 60 days unless they call Spectrum to cancel the service. Availability of services also depends on your address.
  • Low-income families who live in a Comcast (Xifinity) service area can sign up for 60 days of free Internet Essentials service as a new customer. The company is also increasing internet speeds for the Internet Essentials service from 15/2 Mbps to 25/3 Mbps for all new and existing customers indefinitely. To enroll your household in this offer, you can do so online by visiting  www.internetessentials.com, or you may call 1-855-846-8376 for English and 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.
  • AT&T will be offering free service at their public wifi hotspots for 60 days.
  • Verizon, AT&T, Spectrum, and Comcast will not charge late fees or disconnect accounts for an indefinite amount of time.
  • T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, and Comcast are all lifting their unlimited data caps for cell phone subscribers for at least 60 days.

What steps are being taken to ensure New Yorkers who use section 8 rental assistance vouchers have undisrupted access to housing?

  • The City will automatically extend any Section 8 voucher set to expire. Voucher holders do not need to reach out to the City for an extension. 
  • All subsidy terminations that are in process are suspended until further notice.
  • Any HPD Section 8 voucher holders facing rent hardships due to decreases in income should contact HPD.  
  •  NYCHA encourages households experiencing a loss of income to visit the NYCHA Self-Service Portal. 

DISEASE TREATMENT AND PREVENTION

Where can I get tested for COVID-19?

There is now expanded testing capacity across 10 acute care hospitals, 7 Gotham Health community-based health centers and 4 drive-thru sites. Priority will be given to people over 50 years old who are experiencing symptoms and have underlying health issues (chronic lung disease, heart disease, diabetes, cancer or a weakened immune system). If you do not fall into this category, you should continue to practice social distancing and call a healthcare provider if symptoms do not subside in 3-4 days; they can make an appointment to get you tested if needed. Here is the current list of testing facilities:

  • Health+Hospitals: Bellevue, Elmhurst, Harlem, Metropolitan, Kings County, Lincoln, Woodhull, Queens, Coney Island (drive-thru), and Jacobi (drive-thru) – Assessment & Testing Centers, BY APPOINTMENT ONLY: (844) 692-4692. 
  • Brooklyn Hospital (121 DeKalb Avenue) – Outdoor Tent at Emergency Room Entrance for Pre-Screening (no appointment needed)
  • South Beach Behavioral Health Center Parking Lot (Seaview Avenue) – Drive Thru, BY APPOINTMENT ONLY: (888) 364-3065. 

What does a test involve?

Testing is 15 minutes and requires a nasal or throat swab. Results are ready in 2-3 days.

Can COVID-19 be transmitted through food?

According to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), transmission through food is unlikely and there is no evidence of this occurring with COVID-19 to date; however, investigations into how the virus spreads are continuing.  It is still important that everyone continues to practice good hygiene when preparing and handling food, which helps avoid cross contamination between raw or undercooked foods and cooked or ready to eat foods. As an added precaution, if you have suspected symptoms of respiratory illness you should avoid preparing food for other people.

Should I be wearing a facemask and use gloves to prevent COVID-19?

Face masks are worn for a variety of reasons, such as occupation or allergies. For preventing COVID-19, wearing a face mask is not enough to protect you from the virus. Many times face masks are worn incorrectly, or for too long and people usually end up touching their face more often than those who do not wear face masks. A face mask is as effective as covering your mouth with your elbow bend. Similarly, gloves are not effective in preventing COVID-19 because you don’t contract the virus through your hands; the disease is contracted when you touch your eyes, nose or mouth after touching a contaminated surface. Therefore, if you touch your face while wearing gloves, there is still a chance that you will become infected.

If it is not an airborne disease, why is the coronavirus so contagious?

According to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the transmission and containment of the coronavirus is modulated by our behavior. The disease is not airborne. It is spread by droplets that are released when coughing or sneezing. Exposure to COVID-19 also occurs when droplets land on a surface and another person touches that contaminated surface and touches their eyes, nose or mouth. Prevention of COVID-19 relies heavily on frequent hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer, and also avoiding touching one’s face. Further, people should stay home as much as possible even if they are healthy. If individuals do go outside, they should maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet from others. Transmission of COVID-19 will be lower if we follow the guidelines provided by the Department of Health. 

Resources

1. List of employment resources, food assistance, medical assistance, financial  assistance 

2. Supports for Victim Services

3. COVID-19 Resource Guide

4. FoodBank NYC Map of Food Pantries

5. Hungerfree America Neighborhood Guide to Food Assistance

6. NYC DOHMH Coronavirus Updates

AMPHS Coronavirus Updates as of 3/17/2020

Scroll to the bottom and see page 1 for English, page 2 for Spanish, page 3 for Chinese; desplácese hacia abajo y vea la pagina 2 para español; 去下面找中文第三頁

(Rev. 3/17/2020)

AMPHS is committed to continue providing up-to-date information related to the coronavirus in your language. There have been a lot of changes in recent days that not only impact AMPHS’ service provisions but the critical services that we use everyday. We will be providing you with regular information from NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene and Center for Disease Control so you can understand how to protect yourself and your loved ones. Below are the most recent updates as of March 17, 2020. At the moment, there are 814 confirmed cases in NYC and 1,374 positive cases in NYS.

How are AMPHS’ services impacted?

To ensure the health and safety of our staff and community members, AMPHS will not be open for walk-in services between March 17, 2020 and Tuesday, April 21, 2020. In April, we will make a determination to reinstate in-person services based on City, State, and Federal recommendations. All programs and events held at our AMPHS center and partner sites, including Adult Literacy classes, are cancelled or postponed until further notice; classes and some counseling services will continue to be offered through online platforms or by phone as permitted by HIPAA privacy guidelines During this time, we encourage community members to call us at (212) 256-9036 with any questions . Our phone lines are open between Tuesday to Saturday, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM to serve you. We will continue to offer vital services to the extent possible through our hotline. Community members with existing appointments will receive a call from our team regarding alternative arrangements. 

What is the latest guidance for NYC schools and libraries?

  • As of March 15, 2020, all NYC schools will be closed immediately with a tentative restart date of April 20, 2020 Remote learning will go into effect for grades K-12 as of March 23, 2020. The Department of Education will support schools at all levels of readiness to deliver remote learning; more information will be provided to families about online platforms. Students who do not have access to the necessary technology for remote learning can pick up devices from Thursday, March 19th through Friday, March 20th. To keep students busy at this time, the New York City Department of Education (DOE) has learn-at-home resources as supplementary learning materials, which does not replace remote learning.
  • During this critical time, it is vital that NYC families have a central way to stay connected with student progress. The #NYCSchoolsAccount lets you see your student’s grades, attendance, schedule, and more from any computer, phone, or tablet: http://schools.nyc.gov/nycsa. If you do not have an account, please make sure you sign up for one. If you need help with signing up for an account, call us at (212) 256-9036.
  • All library branches will also be closed; Brooklyn Public Library will be closed until at least March 31st. To access digital resources, please visit https://www.bklynlibrary.org/coronavirus.
  • The pre-K application deadline has been extended to Sunday, March 29th. Families can apply online through MySchools or over the phone by calling 718-935-2009 (Monday through Friday, 8am to 6pm).

Will schools continue to provide breakfast and lunch?

Grab-and-Go breakfast and lunch will be available at the entrance of every building every weekday from 7:30 am-1:30 pm, to any child under 18, no matter what school they may attend, be it charter, public or private. This program will be available at every school site for this week, and students don’t need to go to their actual home institution but can pick up the food at whatever school is convenient. The plan is to then switch to centralized hubs for food service as the city does during summer breaks.

I still need to go to work. How can I get childcare services?

Starting Monday, March 23, 2020, Regional Enrichment Centers will be available for the children of first-responders, healthcare workers, and our most vulnerable populations, with more details to follow. Some mutual aid networks might also offer childcare services; see Resource #3 below.

What are the current recommendations for group gatherings?

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that no gatherings with 50 people or more take place for the next eight weeks to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. These gatherings include both indoor and outdoor, such as conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings and other types of assemblies. For more information about places of public gathering and scheduled events, contact those facilities or visit their websites.For gatherings with 49 people or fewer, the CDC advises facilities to remain at less than 50% capacity in order to better encourage social distancing. 

How is service at bars, restaurants and entertainment venues being affected?

Starting Tuesday, March 17, restaurants, bars and cafes may only serve food take-out and delivery. Casinos, nightclubs, movie theaters, small theater houses, concert venues and gyms must all close. 

Important cleaning and coronavirus prevention supplies are not only limited, but the costs are high. Is this allowed? 

An emergency rule banning price gouging on supplies needed to treat or prevent coronavirus has been implemented. The items include thermometers, sanitizing wipes and baby wipes, paper towels, latex gloves, face masks, fever reducers, cough suppressants, zinc oxide supplements, facial tissue, toilet paper, rubbing alcohol and Aloe Vera. Retailers cannot increase the price of these items by more than 10 percent. With every violation, there will be a $350 fine. To report price gouging, please submit a complaint to the Office of New York State Attorney General Letitica James.

I just got back from a CDC-designated country and am supposed to home self-monitor. What do I need to do?

  • Take your temperature twice a day. 
  • Check for symptoms — fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
  • Stay at home and remain out of public places. Do not go to school or work. 
  • If you experience symptoms, call your regular healthcare provider regarding your symptoms and do not show up at the clinic without calling. If you do not have a regular healthcare provider, see Resource #8 below.
  • You need to do this for 14 days since the day you left the CDC designated country that requires home self-monitoring, even if you spent time in another country before entering the U.S. 

How are seniors affected?

All senior centers are closed until further notice. Citymeals on Wheels is providing centers with emergency meals and continues to operate its home-delivered meals program. Continue to check in on your elderly loved ones by giving them a call regularly.

I have been told to practice safe “social distancing.” What is it and why is it effective?

The idea is to maintain a distance between you and other people — in this case, at least six feet. That also means minimizing contact with people. Avoid public transportation whenever possible, limit nonessential travel, work from home, and skip social gatherings. You are not required to remain indoors all day; you may leave your house to get some fresh air, just make sure to avoid being in close contact with people. 

When you do leave your home, wipe down any surfaces you come into contact with, disinfect your hands with an alcohol-based sanitizer and avoid touching your face. Above all, frequently wash your hands — especially whenever you come in from outside, before you eat or before you’re in contact with the very old or very young.

I was laid off from my workplace over the past couple of weeks. Can I apply for unemployment?

The seven day waiting period to apply for unemployment has been waived for people who are out of work due to COVID-19 closures or quarantines. For more information visit: https://labor.ny.gov/ui/how_to_file_claim.shtm

How is vehicular transportation impacted?

Alternate side of the street parking rules are suspended through March 24. Additionally, all ride hailing carpools (such as Uber and Lyft) are banned. People who are a couple can ride together.

What are the latest developments around testing?

  • The City is now able to test 5,000 people a day for coronavirus, a major increase from the current capacity of several hundred people a day. 
  • Brooklyn Hospital will begin pre-screening potentially infected patients with basic thermometers and other tools at a new outdoor facility (121 Dekalb Ave, Brooklyn).

The following are some local resources that can be useful during this time:

  1. AMPHS’ Blog – See here for a list of COVID-19 FAQs as the situation continues to change.
  1. Corona Couriers – A collective of cyclists willing to courier supplies to people in need for free, using the low contact methods first implemented in Wuhan. Anyone in need can e-mail requests to coronacourier@protonmail.com.
  1. New York City Democratic Socialists Resource Document – https://bit.ly/NYCDSACovid19 
  1. Invisible Hands Deliver – Grocery Delivery Website, Tweet
  1. Heights and Hills – Volunteer to support home-bound seniors – Google Form, Tweet, Website
  1. Tenants Rights Hotline- English & Spanish (212) 979-0611
  1. For real-time updates from NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, text “COVID” for English or “COVIDESP” for Spanish to 692692. Messages and data rates may apply. Visit nyc.gov/coronavirus for additional resources and information. 
  1. If you need a provider, NYC Health and Hospitals provides care to all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status, insurance status or ability to pay. Call 844-NYC-4NYC (844-692-4692) or 311. 
  1. If you are feeling anxious, stressed or overwhelmed, connect with trained counselors at NYC Well, the City’s confidential helpline. Call 888-NYC-WELL (888-692-9355), text “WELL” to 65173. Or chat online at nyc.gov/nycwell.

AMPHS Response to Coronavirus & Important FAQs

See page 1 for English; Vea la pagina 2 para español; 中文参见第3页

(Rev. 3/15/2020)

Here at the AMPHS, the health and safety of our communities is our highest priority. We understand the concern over the coronavirus and will continue to send information about preventive measures as we learn more. Here are answers to important questions:

How are AMPHS’ services impacted?

We are dedicated to providing you the needed services and will continue to offer essential services Tuesday to Saturday, 10AM – 6PM until further notice while maintaining social distancing guidelines. Please continue using the services at AMPHS and other community organizations if they are important to you, unless you are displaying symptoms of fever, cough, sneezing, sore throat, runny nose, and/or shortness of breath or have a pre-existing condition. We are taking the necessary precautions to protect our members because your health is our priority. 

Currently, New York State and New York City are in a State of Emergency. What does that mean? 

The number of positive coronavirus cases in NYC has risen to 269 as of today. A State of Emergency means that the Governor and Mayor can more rapidly reallocate funding and create new rules  to protect New Yorkers.

Should I go outside into crowds or gatherings?

Gatherings with 500 people or more have been banned – with the exception of schools, hospitals, nursing homes and mass transit facilities. Venues with capacity of less than 500 will reduce capacity by 50%. This goes into effect at 5 PM on March 13. Small gatherings are still permissible, but individuals should maintain social distancing of 6 feet. 

How are schools impacted?

While local public school districts can elect to close, the only mandatory closures at this time are if a member of the school community, which includes staff, faculty, and students, tests positive for coronavirus. In that case, the school will close for a minimum of 24 hours. If a school is closed for 24 hours, grab-and-go breakfast and lunch will be available for any student who wants it at the entrance of their school building. Student tardiness and absences in the current school year will not count against students for their admissions to middle school and high school. However, families must notify schools of the reason for the absence.

How is mass transit affected?

Mass transit will not be halted, but workers will be conducting a deep clean every 72 hours, including Access-A-Ride. However, it is advisable to avoid packed train cars and traveling during rush hour.

How are seniors at nursing homes protected?

Only screened medical staff will be admitted to nursing homes – no visitors will be permitted due to the severity of the virus for seniors, with some exceptions.

How is the virus spread?

The virus spreads from one person to another between people who are in close contact, through respiratory droplets that are produced when one coughs or sneezes within a radius of 6 feet. Another way a person may contract the virus is by touching a surface or object that has the virus and proceed to touch their mouth, nose, or eyes (however this is not the main way the virus is spread).

How can I protect myself and my family from the virus?

The easiest and most effective way to prevent the coronavirus is through frequent handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If you do not have soap or water, use hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol level or higher. Maintain more vigilant hygiene practices — disinfectant your doorknobs, phones, sinks, and handles regularly. 

How can I get tested?

The City approved 23,000 new tests, which will be prioritized for those who have been exposed to someone diagnosed with a confirmed case of coronavirus, returned from impacted travel areas, seniors with pre-existing conditions, and for those who already display symptoms and have had other tests come back negative (meaning they likely have coronavirus). 

Do I have to pay for the tests?

If you have health insurance, you are not responsible for copays or coinsurance for the test.

If you do not have health insurance and need coronavirus testing, you may call 311 and they will refer you to a public hospital where you will receive the test for free.

My business is seeing less business and I cannot pay my employees? How can I get help?

New York City will provide relief for small businesses seeing a reduction in revenue because of COVID-19. Businesses with fewer than 100 employees with decreased sales of 25% or more will be eligible for zero interest loans of up to $75,000. Small businesses with fewer than 5 employees can apply for a grant to cover 40% of payroll costs for two months to help retain employees. Eligible owners should fill out this interest form.

We are closely monitoring the situation and will send regular updates. If you do feel sick or have symptoms, you should call and seek guidance from a health professional or call the state’s helpline: 1-888-364-3065 or the city’s help-line 311. If you experience any discrimination or harassment, call 311 and file a complaint with the Commission on Human Rights. For regular updates from NYC, text “COVID” to 692692 or visit the NYC DOHMH website.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us at (212) 256-9036 and we will connect you with the appropriate resources or a counselor. You can also check out our Immigrant Resources Directory to find a social service provider.

AMPHS is Hiring!

AMPHS Year-End Campaign Collage

AMPHS is expanding its programs and seeking new members like you to join its team! Become a part of a dedicated team of volunteers and staff working towards expanding healthcare access among our most vulnerable communities.

Full-Time Positions:

Manager of Health Programs

Executive Assistant

Part-Time Positions:

ESOL Instructor

Mental Health Therapist (Chinese-Speaking)

Bookkeeper

Volunteer/Internship Positions: 

COVID-19 Response Intern

ESOL Tutor

Clinical Volunteer

For more information or to apply, please contact personnel.resources@amphsonline.org.

AMPHS Announced as Complete Count Fund Awardee Joining Citywide Effort to Ensure a Fair and Complete Count

New York, NY— Academy of Medical & Public Health Services is pleased to announce it has received a $75,000 award from the NYC Complete Count Fund — a partnership between CUNY, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Council. The NYC Complete Count Fund is a first-of-its-kind Census-related community organizing program that will support and resource community-based organizations to help NYC reach a full and accurate count in the 2020 Census. These funds will support Census outreach through AMPHS health and education programs.

The Complete Count Fund was built with the understanding that local community-based organizations — which serve New Yorkers in the communities where they live and in the languages that they speak — are the most trusted messengers of important and sensitive information.

AMPHS is proud to join this coordinated citywide effort to build awareness about the census, convey its importance, fight the spread of mis- and disinformation, and help bridge the digital divide that might prevent many New Yorkers from participating in next year’s first online census.

A complete count is important to ensuring that the communities AMPHS serves receive funding for community resources to maintain healthy communities. In 2010, Sunset Park and Borough Park were designated two of the country’s hardest-to-count neighborhoods, housing ten of the tracts with the lowest response rates, with the lowest at 56.6%. In one tract, 24.9% of households had limited internet access and only 1% had a cellular data plan, indicating low projected response rates to the digital Census 2020 survey. Sunset Park alone houses nearly 130,000 residents — nearly half who are immigrants lacking English proficiency and are uninsured or underinsured; about a third who live in poverty. It is also home to one of NYC’s highest concentration of undocumented and newly arrived immigrants.

AMPHS recognizes the importance of increased outreach in hard-to-count communities in ensuring proper Congressional and electoral representation, funding allocations, and redistricting. Bolstered with our long history in Sunset Park, we will approach Census outreach by building Census awareness into our various existing and forthcoming health and education programs. We will center its Census outreach activities on immigrant communities in Sunset Park and neighboring South Brooklyn areas of Bay Ridge, Besonhurst, New Utrecht and Borough Park, concentrating primarily on Latino, Chinese, and Muslim populations. Specific strategies include: 

  • Integrating Census education into AMPHS’ education and social services
  • Conducting “civics” workshops and Census completion sessions as a part of our Adult Literacy ESOL course curriculum
  • Conducting community workshops and disseminating information at partner sites throughout the community
  • Working with local Councilmembers to integrate Census education into participatory budgeting outreach initiatives
  • Holding Census Days of Action to conduct active grassroots street outreach and business canvassing
  • Holding specialized events such as pop-up clinics, health fairs and career resource days that include Census outreach
  • Implementing social media and texting campaigns for Census outreach

“As the number of immigrants continue to grow, we cannot allow issues like housing, healthcare, employment, and school overcrowding — which already plague our community — to continue to affect its socioeconomic vitality, health and wellness,” said Mon Yuck Yu, AMPHS’ Executive Vice President.

In 2015, New York received $53 billion in federal funding for programs like Medicaid, Medicare Part B, Section 8, Title 1 grants and SNAP — making up a third of state funding. Brooklyn was one of the most undercounted counties across the country.

“That’s why we have schools with 30 students crammed into one classroom; why community members wait hours in the emergency room before being seen; why we still have families of five or six living together in one small living room,” Yu states. “Only with a fair and accurate Census count can we ensure that adequate funding is allocated to reverse this situation and ensure that our communities remain healthy and safe.”

A complete and accurate count is critical to the future of New York City. The census will determine how more than $650 billion in federal funds for public education, public housing, roads and bridges, and more, gets distributed annually throughout the country. It will also determine the number of seats each state is allocated in the House of Representatives (and thus, the Electoral College). Based on current estimates, an undercount could cost the State of New York up to two congressional seats.

In such a complex city, enriched by such linguistic and cultural diversity, New York City’s full participation in the first online census faces a unique set of challenges. As New Yorkers, we have embraced these challenges as an opportunity. Together, these citywide efforts will lay the groundwork for a civic engagement apparatus that will continue well beyond the 2020 census. 

According to Yu, “there are incessant barriers to help us achieve an accurate count. The digital divide, the fear of ICE being at the door, the fear of repercussions for completing the Census — all of these issues are real. Community groups like ours become one of their few trusted sources of information, providing the cultural and linguistic competence to educate our communities. With this funding, we be part of a movement to ensure that our communities will not be undercounted again in 2020.”

The Complete Count Fund will launch in early January with an all-day kick-off event and training.

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About your organization

AMPHS aims to make care more accessible to immigrant New Yorkers through grassroots, culturally-sensitive intervention methods and de-institutionalized healthcare environments. AMPHS’ mission is to identify and address barriers to health and wellness; coordinate needed primary care with social assistance; and deliver care with dignity and empathy to marginalized immigrant communities. Through its public health interventions, AMPHS lends to the empowerment of individuals and communities to create their own local and culturally-sensitive health and wellness paradigms, making healthcare more personable, accessible and holistic.

AMPHS provides coordinated and integrated interventions in three program areas—clinical services, social services, and education—addressing the root causes contributing to the health disparities and poor outcomes facing immigrant populations. Programs include: free health screenings and medical/dietary consultations; mental health therapy; social assistance counseling; health literacy, health access, and immigrant rights workshops; English Adult Literacy classes; Mental Health First Aid workshops; and emergency preparedness training. It also publishes health and immigrant resource guides for community education and coordinate monthly pop-up health events, as well as an annual resource fair serving over 1,250 people per year, where it provides free testing and community resources.        

About NYC Census 2020
NYC Census 2020 was established as a first-of-its-kind organizing initiative by Mayor de Blasio to ensure a complete and accurate count of all New Yorkers in the 2020 Census. The program is built on four pillars: (1) a community-based awards program, The New York City Complete Count Fund; (2) an in-house “Get Out the Count” field campaign; (3) an innovative, multi-lingual, tailored messaging and marketing; as well as (4) an in-depth Agency and Partnerships engagement plan that seeks to leverage the power of the City’s 350,000-strong workforce and the city’s major institutions, including libraries, hospitals, faith-based, cultural institutions, and higher educational institutions, and more, to communicate with New Yorkers about the critical importance of census participation.

Celebrating the Holidays with Love

Thank you to everyone who joined us for our AMPHS Holiday Party & Toy/Clothing Drive on December 12th! We had a blast amid drinks, food, games and live jazz. With everyone’s contributions, AMPHS collected over 250 toys and clothing donations! We appreciate everyone who came out to support us, including Team Carlos Menchaca, Zellnor Myrie, and Mark Treyger. Plus, a huge thank you to Empowerment of Asian Americans and MetroPlus Health Plan for the 175+ toys they contributed!

The toys were distributed during AMPHS Annual Holiday Health Extravaganza on December 14th, where 200 children from the families we serve brought home a toy to celebrate the holiday spirit and a bundle of joy that they deserve.

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Every year at our AMPHS Holiday Party & Toy/Clothing Drive, we also honor a partner organization and rockstar volunteer and team member for their exemplary service. This year we are honored to recognize the recipients of our Volunteer of the Year Award, Dr. Htun Min Aung; Advocate of the Year Award, Kathleen Iverson, LCSW; and Building Healthy Communities Award, Chinese-American Planning Council.

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The Volunteer of the Year Award goes to a volunteer who has displayed strong dedication to community service. Dr. Aung volunteers at AMPHS’ clinic twice a month to help provide health screenings for the immigrants in Sunset Park. Many of our community members has not seen a doctor in as many as 40 years. Htun will take his time to work with each community member and make sure they are equipped with the healthcare information they need, sometimes spending 45 minutes to 1 hour with each community member. And he makes sure to never miss a screening day — even if it means coming straight from the airport!

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The Advocate of the Year Award goes to a trailblazing staff member who fights endlessly for our community members, advocating for their rights and expressing the true spirit of the AMPHS mission. Our Social Worker, Kathleen tirelessly fights for the needs and rights of AMPHS’ community members, on both a systemic and individual level. She is always there to provide our communities with services they need — to let them know which direction to turn, to follow up with them; she is a mentor for our teams and will always be able to make a sound judgment about the right course of action.

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Finally, the Building Healthy Communities Award goes to a partner organization that has been truly dedicated to working together to advance the health and wellness of the our communities. The Chinese-American Planning Council has always been there to support our community work, from participating in our annual Health Empowerment Celebration to partnering on outreaching to the community for events and providing space for our evening ESOL classes.

We are so lucky to work with each and every one of you to service our community! Congratulations to all of our honorees!

Congrats to our Adult Literacy Class of 2019!

Last month, the Academy of Medical & Public Health Services graduated our second class of Adult Literacy ESOL students. This year, AMPHS received over 200 registrations and celebrated achievements of 131 of those students on Graduation Day. Students came from 21 different countries across Central America, Latin American, East Asia, South Asia, Central Asia and Africa, and participated in classes at the Beginner, High Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced levels over a period of two semesters. Parents who otherwise would have needed to choose between going to class and taking care of their children were offered free babysitting services during class time. Students also received support through AMPHS’ health, mental health and social services programs throughout the term.

Over the course of the term, students not only developed their written and verbal communication skills, and connected with other English language learners in the community. They participated in workshops about immigrant rights, mental health, personal financial management, and college education opportunities. Classes went on field trips to plays Target Margin Theatre, Brooklyn Public Library, New York Aquarium, Governor’s Island, Sunset Park, NY Lantern Festival and participated in Iftar celebrations with the Arab-American Association of NY and Comptroller Scott Stringer.

In celebration of the holidays in November, students across AMPHS’ class participated in a Thanksgiving Day feast, designed to educate students about the United States Thanksgiving tradition. We transformed cafeteria tables with a long dinner table holiday setting and brought drinks, turkey, and Thanksgiving Day staples. Students brought traditional home cooking to contribute to a multicultural Thanksgiving potluck feast. Teachers discussed the history and tradition of Thanksgiving and reviewed dining and dining etiquette terminology, while students across the different classes networked through food, drink and “speed-dating” activities. Students concluded the evening with a white elephant gift exchange. According to one student, “The event gave me a family feeling and made me feel the holiday spirit. I had never had a feast like that before.”

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They also attended AMPHS’ Holiday Party and had the chance to share their experiences with AMPHS’ programs over food and drink.

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On May 31st, Advanced class student Febe Xu was honored for a essay, “As a Beginner in New York” at the DYCD Student Achievement Ceremony, with a reading by Carlos Montivero, along with Mexican Folk Dance “Ballet Folklorico” from student Fatima Osorio.

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In May, students participated in a rally to advocate for additional funding to support ESOL classes, with an impassioned speech by Intermediate student Mauricio Paz Viola.

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On June 8th, we held our First Annual Sunset Park Career Day featured a combination of workshops, career panels, and tabling throughout the day, with an aim to provide community members with information about workforce development programs, workers’ rights, and job opportunities. The event was open to all members of the community, attracting over 120 attendees including AMPHS’ Adult Literacy students. Career Day connected students to work and training opportunities and showed students that if they committed themselves to achieving their goals, and with a little bit of help along the way, anything is possible — achieving the American Dream is possible.

Workshops were facilitated through the Center for Family Life and CUNY BMCC. Twenty agencies participated to offer information about their job and training opportunities. Panelists shared stories about their struggles entering their professions, including going to school, finding a job as an undocumented person, and dealing with discrimination, and provided recommendations on educational pathways to success.

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To our students, our Adult Literacy classes mean much more than a class or a program. It is a community and an opportunity for education.

“I never went to school when I was young. My parents didn’t allow me to,” said Ms. Li, a student in our Beginner class, who at 80 years old had been enrolled in our program with her daughter since last year. “My daughter only completed elementary school; she was the primary caretaker for her younger siblings and began working as a teenager to earn money for the family. Her brothers had a chance to go to school, but she never did. Now she is my primary caretaker, and I know I owe so much to her. This, for us, is the opportunity of a lifetime.”

The commitment and motivation of our students are unmatched. They are at once the breadwinners, parents and caretakers of the family. While struggling to learn to thrive in a new country, they are also attending classes 6+ hours a week to build upon their English — making a commitment to excel and build a better life for their children. We cannot be more proud of our graduating class and happier to have played a role in their journey. Take a look at our graduation booklet to meet them all!

The success of the classes would not have been possible without the hard work of our 2018-2019 Adult Literacy team: Administrative Support team Mon Yuck Yu, Philip Lindsay, Aimee Kim, Jialiang Huang;  ESOL Instructors Weam Al-Rubaye, Somia El-Rowmeim, Tanya Chambers, and Bonnie Blaha; the Literacy Partners team Adriane Lee, Mary Sillman, Jessica Kan, Caitlin Mroz, Fatema Kabir, Megan McDonald, and Sarah Jaffe. Thank you for all your hard work!

Now Accepting Applications! 

Summer Classes: New and returning students can opt to enroll in a 5-week computer class and conversation table this summer between July 10th and August 10th to continue to build their English skills. Registration is on a rolling basis.

Fall Classes: Registration for our Fall Cycle is now open. To register, please call our offices at (212) 256-9036 to make an appointment for registration and testing.

 

AMPHS Selected as 2019 CRE Rising Fund Recipient!

AMPHS is proud to have been selected as one of six CRE Rising Fund recipients this year. The CRE Rising Fund, now in its fifth year, assists small, dynamic nonprofit organizations that are working to improve the lives of the diverse people and communities of New York City. Through the Rising Fund, expert CRE consultants partner with small nonprofits to complete no-cost, three-month long consulting engagements.

“We are proud to be partnering with these incredible nonprofits,” said Katie Leonberger, President and Chief Executive Officer of CRE. “These groups are working across New York City to support historically underrepresented communities, promote equity, and expand opportunity. We are honored and excited to partner with them to build their capacity for the future.”

“We are so grateful for the opportunity to work with CRE to build our capacity and think strategically about how to make our programs stronger and more impactful for the communities we serve,” said Hewett Chiu, President & CEO. “This will mean better and more effective services, particularly in light of the increasing needs within immigrant communities now.”

The 2019 awardee nonprofits were selected from 28 applications. The six organizations will each receive customized, no cost consulting services to better serve their communities and achieve their missions.

AMPHS has been selected among the following six nonprofit awardees that will receive pro bono consulting services:

  • Academy of Medical & Public Health Services (AMPHS) is a not-for-profit health service organization with a triple aim to identify barriers to health and wellness in underserved immigrant communities; coordinate truly needed primary care with social assistance; and deliver care with dignity and empathy to marginalized New Yorkers.
  • Center for Law & Social Justice (CLSJ) provides quality advocacy, training, and expert services in a personal manner to people of African descent and the disenfranchised. CLSJ conducts research and initiates advocacy projects and litigation on behalf of community organizations and groups that promote human, national, and international understanding.
  • Custom Collaborative trains and supports women from low-income and immigrant communities to launch fashion careers and businesses. By learning the standard techniques and ethical business practices of the fashion industry, participants can achieve secure livelihoods in the fashion industry as designers, entrepreneurs, pattern makers, and seamstresses who create and sell high-quality clothing and accessories.
  • The Feminist Press publishes books that ignite movements and social transformation, lifting up insurgent and marginalized voices from around the world to build a more just future.
  • Friends of WHEELS (Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School)’s goal is to make sure that every student at WHEELS has the information, counseling, and extracurricular experiences they need to get into and succeed in college and beyond.
  • Made in Brownsville is a youth creative agency and innovation hub providing a gateway for young people to learn marketable hard skills in STEAM, access postsecondary education, achieve economic mobility, and engage in placed-based community revitalization.

CRE will partner with AMPHS on a capacity building project that includes strategic planning, board development, and teambuilding. For more information, please visit https://www.crenyc.org/.

Meet Margarita: Immigrant, Mother, and Growing Advocate 

Margarita, 48, lives with her husband and two sons in Bay Ridge. She immigrated to the US from Mexico twenty years ago for financial reasons, and has lived in Brooklyn ever since. When Margarita went searching for a new job in Sunset Park, the Center for Family Life recommended that she focus on improving her English, and referred her to AMPHS. “I said to myself, if that’s the path, then let’s go, let’s get started.”

A few weeks later, she was enrolled in AMPHS’ Advanced English Class with Bonnie Blaha, one of AMPHS ESL instructors. Margarita quickly became one of the most outspoken students in class and often encouraged her classmates to be more active in the classroom. “Bonnie has lots of patience with us. She is wonderful.”

AMPHS English classes provide students with the language skills they need to survive and connect community members to each other through a common goal. They also provide access to holistic health and wellness services, further empowering community members to understand and assert their rights.

Once Margarita also learned about AMPHS health services, she immediately took advantage of AMPHS Saturday health screening services and signed up for weekly counseling with AMPHS’ licensed mental health therapist, Matilde Pedrero. “There are a lot of people here that don’t speak English… there are people who don’t ever receive check-ups. Here they have a chance to see a doctor, to learn English, to understand their situation.”

Though Margarita has graduated from AMPHS Adult Literacy program, she continues to play an important role in the AMPHS community as a volunteer, encouraging others to learn English and spreading the word about the organization. “I bring people in, little by little- my friend, my neighbor.” Margarita often brings her sons Jonathan and Jordan into the office as well. “The kids are happy here, they love to come here. They say, mom, let’s go to the school.”

AMPHS services, she points out, can make an enormous difference in someone’s life: “I am especially worried for my Guatemalan friends, the ones working dangerous jobs, the delivery bikers. Just the other day, a 16-year-old boy was killed delivering food. He probably barely knew how to read the ‘No-turn’ sign… or maybe if he had known some English he wouldn’t have to be dodging cars, maybe he could be waiting tables somewhere instead.”