It seems to be coming more apparent that people really want to get out of the house. And one of the things I’ve noticed Read the rest of this entry »
My mentor is amazing, funny and adventurous. – Cheyenne
My mentee is fearless, caring, outgoing, cheerful and artistic. – Erica
Erica was involved with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sioux Empire program since 2009. When her “little” ended their match when the program changed to LSS, Erica wasted no time in letting us know she wanted a new mentee. Eight months ago we were able to match her with Cheyenne, and as they say, the rest is history.
Erica has continued to mentor for over a decade because of the quality time and the look on kids faces after they spend time together. Oftentimes, mentors get to have a front row seat as kids experience their firsts — first time ice skating, first time bowling, first time eating at a particular restaurant or trying a new-to-them food. Erica has learned to appreciate those moments with the youth that she has been matched with. Cheyenne included!
Cheyenne says the best thing about having a mentor is just talking, and like Erica, having someone to try new things with. When with Erica, Cheyenne says she feels excited and like all of her problems disappear. Like any relationship it took time and Cheyenne acknowledges that she was slow to open up. Erica did not give up and now they are much more comfortable when they are together. Erica says that now Cheyenne talks about anything that is on her mind.
Over time, rapport was built over their common interests – a shared love for dogs and and doing activities that feed their creative spirits. Erica says that a favorite memory is doing string art together and watching Cheyenne’s hesitation turn into confidence. In just under a year, this match has learned to approach new situations with positive attitudes and try new things…together.
We hope they will continue to do new things TOGETHER for years to come!
There are currently a number of kids (mostly boys) in need of a mentor in the LSS Climb program. If interested, please call us at 605-444-7803, email Mentoring@LssSD.org or check out our website for more details.
If you didn’t know already, this weekend is Mother’s Day. Typically the busiest day of the year for restaurants and a busy one for florists as well. What? Read the rest of this entry »
April, 2021 was another busy month at LSS Mentoring Services! Here are three things that stood out this month.
ONE – Winner, Winner!
We applied for funding from the Lyon County Riverboat Days and were awarded an $1,800 grant. The much needed funds will go towards covering monthly events for our LSS Climb matches. Each month, the matches are invited to participate in a group activity. We will now have funds available to help pay various admission charges, provide a meal or purchase supplies. This will help offset the costs for mentors and will give kids in the program some new opportunities to experience Sioux Falls.
For example, last month the group went bowling at Suburban Lanes. It was a great night and many of the kids first time bowling ever. Matches were responsible for their shoe rental, but if we take the group bowling again LSS would be able to cover that cost for mentors and kids. Thank you, Lyon County Riverboat Days and Grand Falls Casino for your support!
TWO – Learning & Teaching
April was full of great training opportunities – both for our volunteers and staff. LSS hosted a training with Keystone Treatment Center and also with the LSS Street Outreach Program for mentors. We were able to help volunteers learn a little bit more about some tough issues kids are dealing with and how to work with us on prevention efforts. Each month we have a support training scheduled. In May, we will learn more about Mental Health First Aid with a professional from Southeastern Behavioral Health. And in June, we will have a presentation on LGBTQ+ with The Transformation Project.
LSS staff was also hard at work updating our volunteer orientation. We are continually looking through the newest resources and get so excited to share those with mentors!
Lastly, our staff was able to partake in staff development trainings. The program is on its way to becoming certified in Disability Youth Mentoring through a course from the Partners for Youth with Disabilities. We are learning a lot and know how to better support youth of all abilities. Staff also enjoyed a three-day presentation from the Search Institute on developmental assets.
THREE – Appreciation
We were able to show our volunteers some appreciation by coordinating an effort to collect handwritten notes from students and our Better Together neighbors. The love was felt for sure! We could write a whole post about this – and we might do just that soon – but for now, here is one touching card we received:
I am really glad to have a Better Together match. My friend (volunteer) comes to see me whenever he can and sometimes even takes time out from his work to come to visit me. I really had fun and enjoyed myself the night we went to the Women’s Basketball game at SDSU and I had a lot of fun the night you took me out for ice cream, then we went to look at Christmas Lights. If you would have never started to be my friend I probably would still be just sitting around being depressed and isolated in my apartment. I think I have the best friend anyone could ever have and I hope you will be my friend for a long time to come.
We hope this match will be together for a long time to come, too!
April was a great month and we are excited to see what may come next month. Check out a few photos of our April activities below. If you’d like to be part of Mentoring, we are always looking for people to get involved. Send us an email to Mentoring@LssSD.org or call us at 605-444-7803 for more information!
Post by Michelle Madsen
Students and teachers at the Center for New Americans rely on the help and support of classroom volunteers. When our classes went online last spring, we had to find innovative ways to bring the volunteers back into the classroom. Volunteers that were used to the traditional classroom have now become efficient and comfortable with the virtual online classroom.
This is the first in a series of three interviews. Stayed tuned in the coming weeks to hear more about volunteering via Zoom.
This week I talked with Volunteer Carole. She has been a volunteer since the fall of 2018.
First, how did you hear about the Center for New Americans?
I always enjoyed working with the refugee population when I was at Avera. I knew some of them were enrolled in classes and a friend of mine told me she was volunteering as a classroom assistant. I was looking for things to do in my retirement and it was a perfect fit.
Why did you want to get involved?
I know learning the English language is the first step to their success and path to citizenship. I want to help in any way I can.
What are some of your favorite memories from working with a student/in class?
My favorite memories are seeing students who “get it” and are so proud and seeing them move up in classes! There were a lot of smiles and laughter when we met in person – they really support each other. I really enjoy talking with students one-on-one about their families and lives. Our community is so enriched by their presence!
How has Covid changed the way you volunteer and how are you adapting?
I have been volunteering through Zoom since the fall. I wasn’t sure how it would work but I like it a lot! I love the Zoom breakout sessions and working with smaller numbers. I really like that their names show up on the screen, because it’s so hard for me to remember names sometimes, and I like to be called by my name. I’ll enjoy being back in person but am happy that students can still participate.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about volunteering at CNA?
I would encourage anyone to volunteer! I’ve gained a new appreciation for all the students have to go through to obtain citizenship. The students are so appreciative, and the teachers make it easy for volunteers to feel useful.
Want to be a classroom volunteer?
Written by Heather Glidewell | LSS Center for New Americans | Adult ESL Instructor
300 East 6th Street, Suite 100 | Sioux Falls, SD 57103