Mentors are Lucky!

February 15, 2019

Mentoring Services
Post by Michelle Madsen

As we are quickly entering the third month of 2019, many have already Kondo’d their possessions, made fewer visits to the gym each week or have blown their budget goals. If you have already broken your resolution, or maybe did not even make one, LSS has something you can do that will make a difference!

We recently heard from a volunteer who said, “I was honestly nervous to start this…but now I wish I had done it years ago.  It has truly been such a rewarding experience and I look so forward to our visits every week.  Our time goes fast, but before I leave(my student) always asks me how many days it is until I come back.  The only difficult thing has been me wanting to help more…I know there are many things she needs and I wish I could do more to help her and her siblings.  I really enjoy being a mentor!”

NOW is the perfect time to apply! Better yet, LSS is going to run a fun incentive for people who apply (or current volunteers who refer someone to apply) between now and St. Patrick’s Day. While mentors will tell you they are lucky to be part of this program, you really may find some luck! LSS will be giving away gift cards to HyVee, games to a school of your choice and more! Be sure to watch our Facebook page for more details.

Don’t wait for your luck to run out! Apply today.

Winter Reflections

February 12, 2019

Well, the deep freeze has hit us here in Sioux Falls, and for many of our students, this type of frigid weather is a new experience. In my advanced speaking class, we are studying poetry, and when my students were asked to think of something they were afraid of, many of them answered, “Cold weather!”

I asked my Pre-GED English students their thoughts on our winters in South Dakota. Using the sentence starters “When it snows, I …” and “Winter in my country is different from winter here because …” here’s what they wrote. Enjoy!

“When it snows, I look for any reason to go outside because I love the snow. I could be outside all day doing things like going to the grocery store, gas station, The Mall


picture from

on 41st street or just driving around Sioux Falls. When I drive I try to take some  photos or videos so that I can show to my friends from Argentina; they all love it because in Salta we don’t get snow.


Winter in the Northwest of Argentina is totally different. Winter starts in July and is not really cold; It could be 32 but not very cold.” -Student from Argentina who’s been in Sioux Falls for 7 months

“When it snows, I stay at home with my family, because it is warm; also I like to cook. My home is more comfortable, because I like to cook beef soup, chicken soup, and fish soup.


picture from wikipedia

I really enjoy cook this because my home is more warm, and -my body too.


Winter in my home town call Quesada Jutiapa is very good, winter time start on May until November. So, in Quesada sometimes is warm and sometimes is a little cool but not like here. In South Dakota we can see 4 seasons, winter, fall, spring, summer. In my country just 3 seasons not snow.”  –Student from Guatemala who’s been in Sioux Falls for 3 years

“When it snows, I feel good and I like the snow because we have to double up; and I like that very much it makes me feel warm and good and when it snow I like to cook fufu* and soup because it take away the cold from the body and it reduce the coldness. Also when it snow it makes you keep in door and makes you sleep all day for me and also for some people. When it also snow I like to play in the snow and also like to takes pictures with my family and friends.

Winter in my home country in my country during the winter we don’t see snow but we experience rain than snow. And also during the winter we also experience more sun than the winter in America. The weather is always warm and hot so we don’t experience snow but we experience more sun.” -Student from Liberia who’s been in Sioux Falls for 4 months


picture from

*Fufu is a staple food common in West African countries. It’s made by pounding starches like cassava, yams, or plantains into a dough-like consistency; it’s eaten with the fingers and can be dipped into soups or sauces.


I am SO impressed with their writing skills. Can you tell we’ve been working on semicolons? I also love reading how our students think about something that so many of us native Midwesterners take for granted or think of as ordinary (or as something awful!). These students are able to find the good.

Written by Lindy Obach, ESL and Citizenship teacher, Center for New Americans

Fall in Love

February 8, 2019

Valentine’s Day may be the day of love, but there are ample opportunities to find something you love everyday of the year. Today, we want to tell you about a new mentor who attended a Mentor Try-It Lunch in January. When she was least expecting it (volunteering over her lunch hour), she fell in love. Here is what she had to say about the experience…

One morning I received an email from my Human Resource Manager. It was another volunteering opportunity in the subject line. I opened the email and started to read about the LSS Mentoring Program. After I was finished reading through the information, I thought to myself that I really do not do much for people I do not know or for my community. This program would be outside my comfort zone in a way, but right then I made a promise to myself that I would try it out.

I just came back from the event today. I fell in love. I fell in love with the child I was paired with, the meaning behind all of this, and what the program stood for.

There are many families and children struggling around the world; and some of those are in our own backyard. I want to make a difference. It may be a small step forward, but I truly want to help. I want to be a friend to those who need one. I believe I can help change the life of a child in a small way, and they will end up changing mine as well.

So…we challenge you to take a leap of faith and just TRY mentoring. It might be out of your comfort zone. It might be yet another volunteer opportunity. And it might be something that you fall in love with too.

It just so happens that LSS is hosting a Try It lunch at the end of the month and we still need a few volunteers. Please join us on Wednesday, February 27, 11:30-12:30 at Lowell Elementary, 710 W 18th Street. If you are able to attend, please send us an email or call us at 605-444-7801 to RSVP by Monday, February 25.

And pssstt….you don’t have to attend a lunch event to become a mentor. We would be happy to meet with you to talk about what mentoring is and how you can help meet the needs of students in our community. Of if you know you want to join us, apply today!

I File, You File, We All File, Why File?

February 7, 2019

I’ve already stated my disdain for doing my taxes.  For whatever reason, I just dread doing them every year.  That said, I pretty much have everything put together and ready to go.  I just need to print out a few of the statements to have in the file.  Yes, my taxes will get done.  As much as I don’t like doing it, I will continue to do it every year.

It amazes me how many people I come across who question whether they should even bother with filing.  There are a lot of reasons why they question and we’ll take a look at some of the most common situations.

To start us off, “Why should I bother filing my income taxes?” Read the rest of this entry »

The Heart-Shaped Holiday

February 6, 2019


Everyone is seeing red. Valentine’s Day is here. The day for lovers, for family, for friends, for co-workers – the official day when we show the important people in our lives how much they mean to us. The day is celebrated with cards, flowers and chocolates – and lots of them. Many of us grew up with the annual tradition of Valentine’s Day, we remember our parents and grandparents reminiscing about it.
But how long has this special day actually been around? The answer is quite simple: Forever. The beginnings of this romantic day are anything but romantic – they are rather mysterious. Christian and Pagan rituals evolved into the way Valentine’s Day is celebrated today.
Many legends surround the saint named Valentine. One story tells about Valentine, a Roman priest, who secretly married young lovers until he was found out and thrown into prison. There, he fell in love with a young woman who visited him on a regular basis. Shortly before his death he penned her a letter and signed it ‘from your Valentine,’ a phrase that is still associated with this special day. All the tales that speak of the beginnings of this tradition center around a romantic hero named Valentine.
The British Library in London has the oldest Valentine’s card on display – written in 1415 by the Duke of Orleans to his wife while he was held in the Tower of London. Americans started designing their own hand-made cards, beautifully decorated with ribbons and lace, as far back as 1700. In 1840 these cards were replaced by the first printed, mass-produced cards. About 150 million Valentine’s Day cards exchange hands every year, only the number of Christmas cards is higher; 85% are bought by women.
Many countries around the world celebrate the day with their own traditions. Denmark sees the exchange of pressed, white flowers called snowdrops. France, with a reputation for romance, had a rather unusual tradition. On February 14, men and women would fill up houses on opposite sides of a street. Then they would call out to each other and pair off that way. The women who were left behind later gathered for a huge bonfire where they burned pictures of the men who stood them up and insulted them greatly. Over the years, this event got so out of hand that the French government banned it altogether. In China women prepare elaborate offerings of fruit to Zhinu, a heavenly king’s daughter, in hopes of attracting a worthy husband.

How are you celebrating Valentine’s Day?


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Written by Silke Hansen, ESL Instructor

LSS Mentoring Seeking Nominations

February 1, 2019

LSS Mentoring Services seeks nominations for the 2019 Citibank Outstanding Mentor, the Sanford Outstanding Rookie Mentor and First PREMIER Bank/PREMIER Bankcard Community Partner awards. The awards, to be presented at the Annual Mentor Appreciation Breakfast on April 12, provide a platform to honor the contributions of individuals and organizations that have shown outstanding commitment to the mentor program.

Outstanding mentors are individuals who have proven their dedication to their student and the program. Rookie mentor nominees are people who have made a big impact in their first two years of mentoring. Community partners nominations can include businesses, organizations, civic groups or churches that have encouraged and advocated mentoring. If a community partner has received the award in the previous three years, they are not eligible this year. Organizations not eligible are Avera, Hegg Realtors and Oak Hills Church.

Nominations are encouraged and may be submitted by the community at large. Self-nominations are accepted. Click here for the Nomination Form. All nominations are due by Friday, March 1. Materials may be sent via email to, via fax to 444-7540 or mailed to LSS Mentoring Services, 705 E 41st Street, Suite 220, Sioux Falls, SD 57105.

Want to Trade Days?

January 31, 2019

So let me tell you about my last 24 hours.  In case you haven’t heard, it’s been cold around here.  Like, really, really, ridiculously cold.  In fact, I heard it’s so cold, THAT place actually had a freeze warning.  Being the GREAT guy that I am, I drove my wife to work the last two days so that she didn’t have to walk the block and a half from the parking lot to her building.  We took the van with remote start and away we went.  Last night, I decided I should probably start my car and get it running a bit so it was ready to go this morning.

Rrrrr……Rrrr…rr………  That’s it.  Nothing.  Dead battery.  True story. Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: