1000 pages!

June 20, 2017

Year after year, a great volunteer group from CIGNA comes together to make Life book pages for children and youth in foster care.  These caring and talented volunteers outdo themselves each year!  This year they put together over 1000 pages in one day!  That’s right, 1000 pages!  Read the rest of this entry »

What School Counselors Think About Mentoring

June 19, 2017

Every year, LSS surveys school counselors in the area about their partnership with LSS Mentoring Services. The results this year were excellent! ALL counselors agreed that mentoring makes an impact at their school – with 93% STRONGLY agreeing that it makes an impact. Here are just of the wonderful things they wrote in the survey:

  • The child’s attendance and mood is better on mentor days.
  • Mentoring is so beneficial for each student that I have involved in the program. It is so great for students to have a consistent fun time to look forward to, and for a lot of these students, mentoring is that positive future-oriented event in their life that they look forward to.
  • The child is happy and bubbly every week of the day their mentor is coming. Before the match, this student did not smile a lot, but now I know I will see her smile at least on mentor days and I even hear her laughing. She loves her mentor who is one of the only positive adults in her life outside of school.
  • Students with mentors look forward to coming to school – even when it’s hard or not what they want to do. They seem to brighten up at the attention they receive.

The counselors did have one universal request – more mentors. If you want to get involved with youth and make a difference, please consider mentoring! You can complete an application today.

Thanks to the school counselors for making this partnership work! We look forward to the upcoming school year!

Post by Michelle Madsen

World Refugee Day Open House

June 16, 2017

Tuesday, June 20th is World Refugee Day – a day set aside to raise awareness of the situation of refugees throughout the world.  Please join us for an open house at LSS Center for New Americans to learn more about the refugee experience.

June 20th 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

300 E 6th Street, Sioux Falls, SD 57104

Walk in the footsteps of refugees and see what they experience as they flee their homes, connect with the United Nations and eventually arrive in the US.  Tours of the Center for New Americans will be offered.  Local food trucks will be on site to offer food.

Co-hosted with Pax Christi South Dakota, Caminando Juntos, the Multi Cultural Center, Refugee Congress.  And special thanks to the local businesses and organizations that are helping at the event.


In A House But Not Married

June 15, 2017

Not long ago, as we were doing introductions at the beginning of our Homebuyer Express class, one of the participants stated that he was scheduled to close on his new house in two weeks, but was still shopping around.

Ummmm, what???

As the story goes, he and his girlfriend were going to buy the house together and he, in the interest of peace and harmony, let her pick out the house.  But now, before closing, she was no longer girlfriend.  He could still afford the home, but it wasn’t the home he wanted.  So he was still looking around and trying to decide if the extra costs of backing out were worth it for him.

As more and more unmarried people are buying homes together, it brings some “interesting” potential issues to the surface.  Even if the individuals buying together aren’t a couple, but rather siblings, business partners, or just friends, the situations can provide for some more challenging “now what” moments. Read the rest of this entry »

Attention, Dell Rapids! We need more mentors!

June 9, 2017

When LSS Mentoring expanded to the Dell Rapids School District in 2011, Jill Hansen was one of the first volunteers to sign up. She attended a Try-It session at the school and was hooked right away.

“My kids were growing up and graduating, so I wanted to still be involved in the school,” said Jill. “This is easy to do and I like that I can have a positive influence on children other than my own. It helps keep me young too!”

Jill has been meeting with Adisen for the past two years. She was matched with her when her first student moved out of the district. Adisen, who is in 6th grade this year has enjoyed having a mentor. “It’s really fun,” said Adisen. “Everyone should have someone to talk to who is not their family or a teacher or counselor.”

The two meet every week and typically play games. They are especially fond of Racko. A time that stands out is when the conference room was in use and they met on the stage. They played tag and had a great time pretending to act and perform. They also did a taste test of Kit-Kat bars – one bought locally and one bought in Canada. They concluded that not all Kit_Kat bars are equal and there is a difference!

Most of all, they both seem to enjoy the conversations. “She is always telling me to never give up and to keep smiling. She is encouraging and tells me to do my best,” said Adisen.

Both Jill and Adisen would like to see more mentor matches in Dell Rapids. “This does not take a lot of time,” said Jill. “You don’t need to be a teacher to be able to relate to kids, you just need to spend time.” And Adisen agrees. As far as student needs go, she said, “You don’t need to have a big problem in life to have a mentor. We could all use someone else to talk to.”

Should You Buy a House?  5 Things to Consider.

June 8, 2017

As June is National Homeownership Month, we are doing a series of blog posts relating to home ownership.  Each will have a different perspective, so stay tuned for more.

First, full disclosure.  I teach our homebuyer education course.  I have my real estate license.  Even though my license is inactive, I am still involved in our local real estate association.  I even teach the classes required to get your real estate license.  Am I invested in that world?  Yes.

I’ve been both a renter and home-owner.  I currently own my own home and would have it no other way.

I am a big fan of home ownership.  It is no secret.

I’ll also be the first one to tell you that home ownership is NOT for everyone. Read the rest of this entry »

And the Winner is – Lutheran Social Services!

June 7, 2017

The Dakota Region Porsche Club held their second annual 2.4 Hours of Dakota fundraiser on February 25 in support of LSS Center for New Americans.

Winners: Second place finisher Laura Smith-Hill, winner Jacklyn Mollison with her Porsche Cup and third place finisher Jamie Lennon.

The event pits car enthusiasts of all ages against each other in a race for the finish line and the honor of claiming the coveted Porsche Cup. More than 40 cars participated with racers aged 8 to 70. A hotly contested competition was eventually won by Jacklyn Mollison (pictured proudly displaying her Porsche Cup).

The Dakota Region Porsche Club elected to donate proceeds from the event to LSS Center for New Americans to assist newly arrived refugees with transportation. With a record turnout this year, the Dakota Region Porsche Club was able to present LSS with a check for $1,550.

Dakota Region Porsche Club annual 2.4 Hours of Dakota

Representatives from the Dakota Region Porsche Club present a check for $1,550 to LSS Center for New Americans. Pictured left to right: John Mollison, DRPC Event Director; Sue Johannsen, DRPC President; Ahmed Abogn, LSS Center for New Americans; Jamie Lennon, LSS Development & Foundation.

“This is our second year and, on behalf of the club, we’re thrilled it was such a success for LSS!” stated John Mollison, DRPC Event Director. “It was so good that people of all ages raced. We had nearly 40 racers from age 8 to 70!”

Please join us for next year’s event. For more information on the Porsche Club and the 2.4 Hours of Dakota race, please visit www.24Dakota.com.

Thank you to all the members of the Dakota Region Porsche Club and to all who came out to compete in the 2.4 Hours of Dakota race. See you again next year!

Jamie Lennon, Development Director
LSS Development & Foundation

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