546 St Johns Place
Riverhead, NY 11901
(631) 369 4601
(631) 727 1069
Established in 1996 by Sister Margaret Smyth, OP, the North Fork Spanish Apostolate has been a catalyst for social change on Long Island’s East End. By collaborating with government agencies, not for profit groups, and community members seeking significant lasting solutions, we have enhanced thousands of lives in our community’s underserved population including women, children and immigrants. NFSA services are designed to break the cycle of poverty and to help achieve a long-term, sustainable difference.
We work to empower low-income and immigrant populations to find their own voice and become active members of our society. Our focus continues to be:
Our goal is really quite simple. If there is a need in our community, we work to fill it. We believe that Because Everyone Matters, every person should have access to proper healthcare, education and opportunities regardless of where they come from. We work towards this vision every day.
The North Fork Spanish Apostolate builds integrated communities by empowering low-income people on Long Island, particularly immigrants living or working on the East End, to become self-sufficient and active members of society. NFSA provides basic services, education, leadership development and advocacy opportunities to improve the lives of those we serve and make Long Island a diverse and inclusive place to live.
Founder and Executive Director
Sister Margaret Rose Smyth, OP, has been an activist and educator since 1963; working with poor Black and Hispanic communities. In Crown Heights, NY she walked the streets while teaching high school and assisted the Hasidic community. Affectionately known as Hermana Margarita throughout the East End, Sister Margaret ran meetings for thousands in Brooklyn, worked in storefronts, and marched with Caesar Chavez. Her work stems from her Irish immigrant background.
Listening to the challenges faced in leaving home, the sorrows in separation, and the difficulties in living a new and different life laid her foundation. She wondered how to affect change. Living with different cultures and races opened her heart and eyes. It has motivated her to be a voice for the voiceless and cemented her decision to help empower people to find their own voice and use it.
Arriving in 1997, as the Director of the North Fork Spanish Apostolate, Sister Margaret’s goal was to work with the Hispanic community on issues of health care, education, employment and immigration. Initially met with fear and mistrust, she put 53,000 miles on her car, gave out business cards and spoke Spanish with anyone who would speak with her. Housing, work and immigration were immediate issues. Assessing community needs; she began to gain trust and her constituents’ lives improved.
Sister Margaret earned her Bachelor of the Arts in Spanish from St. John’s University. She received her Master of Science in Religious Education and Master of the Arts in Urban Education from Fordham University.