S.P.A.R.K.S Center, developed by a core of community leaders passionate about preventing, detecting, and treating women who develop perinatal mood disorders, is making astounding inroads and setting high standards for community based PPD programs. Founded by Esther Koenigsburg to end suffering and offer accessible affordable services, SPARKS has rapidly acquired the reputation for expedient, compassionate and stigma reducing help.
S.P.A.R.K.S stands for Serving Pre and postnatal women with Awareness, Relief, Knowledge and Support. This mission is realized through a series of innovative services which cover the full spectrum of a family’s psychosocial needs.
S.P.A.R.K.S motto states: “The hope and dream of every parent is to raise their children in a healthy home and environment.” To that end, SPARKS’ mission is to provide mothers and families who are struggling and suffering the preventable pain of PPD, with the proper care they deserve, making this dream a reality.
Upon learning that: more than one in eight new mothers is afflicted with Postpartum Depression (PPD); the barrier of shame that leads to dismissal of severe symptoms by the woman and her family which can result in tragic or fatal consequences; the confusion, chaos and heartbreak in the immediate family which can disintegrate marriages and families, SPARKS has mounted a comprehensive attack on the ravages of PPD which includes the following philosophy and services:
1. SPARKS values each woman’s uniqueness and need for privacy. Each situation is approached with the utmost sensitivity and expertise.
2. SPARKS has established a vast network of licensed psychiatrists and social workers who have been specially trained to help women throughout the perinatal period. In addition, numerous doctors, alternative practitioners and nutritionists have joined SPARKS’ team of dedicated professionals to bring a continuum of dedicated and appropriate care at affordable fees.
3. SPARKS supports every individual’s right to self-determination, complete information and active participation in all health care decisions. Our practice guidelines provide for medical consultation, collaboration and referral, and linkages with health and human services.
4. SPARKS’ hotline 718-2-SPARKS(77-2757) is operated by full time professional counselors.
5. SPARKS has countless community members, who themselves have overcome PPD, and who are now trained as volunteer mentors.
6. Additionally, Mom’s Support Groups and Parenting classes provide immediate relief and support to struggling mothers and their families.
7. In select situations, we provide nightly meals for families who qualify for this service.
8. SPARKS will soon offer pre and post natal classes to individuals prior to their marriage, believing AWARENESS is the most effective tool in preventing a full-blown PPD crisis.
9. An educational CD/DVD, focusing on the topic of PPD, is currently available, featuring the lectures of world renowned psychiatrist, Rabbi Dr. Abraham J. Twerski, as well as Reb. Malkie Schick, a seasoned PPD survivor. Those suffering from PPD, as well as their husbands are sure to gain invaluable information and support from this enlightening and informative compilation.
10. In addition, educational videos will be posted on the website and updated frequently to give visitors the most up to date clinical and social information on perinatal mood disorders.
To date, over 1,000 families have been helped, restoring peace and stability to their homes.
Thanks to SPARKS these mothers can once again experience the joys of motherhood, with love and warmth permeating their home.
With its multi faceted approach to helping women and families combating perinatal mood disorders, SPARKS Center is a responsive and excellent program which should be held as a benchmark standard for community based programs across the country. PerinatalPro recognizes its substantial contributions to women, infants and families and hopes it will inspire others to model its compassionate and comprehensive services. To donate, please visit their website.