Why You Check Your Credit (Even If You Know It’s Fine)

October 18, 2018

No matter how many lines of credit you have open, you know your credit is fine.  You make all of your payments on time.  Heck, there are months you don’t use some credit cards and so you don’t even owe anything to make a payment on.  Maybe you do owe some money, but you are current on everything.  It’s all good.  No worries.  Right?

Well……  You may still want to check on that.  Here’s why. Read the rest of this entry »

Settlement or Management? Which is Right for You?

October 12, 2018

So you’ve run up a little credit card debt.  How much do I mean by ‘a little’?  Well, I’m not really sure, but enough that you are aware of it.  For the sake of this blog post, let’s say it’s enough that the minimum payments are perhaps a struggle some months.  Maybe it’s even enough that you are not making payments because you can’t afford them that month.

Well, let’s talk about your options for dealing with debt. Read the rest of this entry »

LSS Founders Family & Distinguished Partners Luncheon

October 10, 2018

You may have heard us describe the LSS mission as a ministry of presence. But what exactly does that mean? Our programs are designed to meet people where they are in life – without judgment, to provide hope and healing, and to offer a chance for them to change their future. But the truth is our ministry is brought to life, sustained and performed by you – our supporters, partners and advocates.

On August 17, we paid tribute to those who breathe life into our mission at our annual LSS Foundation Founders Family & Distinguished Partners luncheon at Callaway’s in Sioux Falls.

The LSS Foundation Founders Family was established in 1994 to honor those who have committed to establishing a lasting legacy with either a significant gift to the LSS Foundation or by planning a gift to LSS beyond their lifetime.

JamieSince its inception, the LSS Foundation has disbursed over $3 million to continue the mission of LSS and this fund continues to grow each year thanks to our many generous supporters who make our mission a part of their legacy.

This year we welcomed one such supporter as a new member of the LSS Foundation Founders Family, Jamie Lennon. Jamie works for LSS and is a Development Director for the southeast region. We are grateful for his consideration. To learn more about the LSS Foundation Founders Family please click here.

One of the many blessings of living in South Dakota is living in a community of shared values such as the value of caring compassion for each other. These values are reflected not only in our individuals, but in our corporations, our churches and in our communities. At this event, we also celebrated those relationships and paid

particular thanks to our 2018 distinguished partners.

Community partner of the year

DSC04197We recognized and honored Avera Health, who have been a strong and consistent supporters of LSS for many years. Fred Slunecka honored LSS when he took on the role of co-chair of the “Campus on East Bank Campaign” Chamber approved capital campaign. Fred’s leadership was invaluable to the success of the campaign as was Avera’s financial contribution in

support of our efforts. Thanks to them, LSS raised over $1.25 million for the campaign and allowed us to purchase the former Kilian Community College on East Bank and create a permanent home for the LSS Center for New Americans. Additionally, Dr. Dave Kapaska has been a strong advocate for LSS within the business community and Sioux Falls at large specifically our work with refugee resettlement. Avera is also a significant supporter of our Mentoring Program with 33 of their employees serving as mentors…an increase of over 20% from the previous year.

Distinguished Volunteer of the year

Every year LSS recognizes an individual who has made a distinct and lasting difference for the ministry of presence which is LSS. One such volunteer is this year’s award winner. Erv Nesheim came out of retirement to take on a very specific project for the LSS Canyon Hills Center in Spearfish. Erv took on the project of building a multi-use outbuilding for Canyon Hills. The building will be used for supplementary classroom space where young adults can learn various life skills, including basic carpentry and wood working as well as the fundamentals of auto maintenance and repair.

This outbuilding will allow Canyon Hills to make better use of the space in the existing residential facility, allowing them to increase the number of clients who can be served from 25 to 30. Erv donated his time, vision and professional leadership starting with the design, serving as project manager and doing much of the labor himself. He put in over 1,000 hours on the project and traveled over 16,000 miles during the summer of 2017 sometimes working when the temperature was over 100 degrees. This dedication allowed LSS to use volunteers to cover the working portion of the building with the materials being donated by his wife DeMaris. He continues to do finishing work with the landscaping and outdoor areas around the building. Erv was dedicated to ensuring the project was not just completed but done correctly so that LSS has a lasting space to use for the clients from Canyon Hills Center.

Distinguished Congregational Partner of the year


LSS is a social ministry of the ELCA. We depend on our congregational partners for not just financial support but faith support as well. Without them we cannot be the hands and feet of Christ who serve our brothers and sisters in need in South Dakota. We recognized and honored West Nidaros Lutheran Church of Crooks. West Nidaros has been a mission partner to LSS for many years. They have provided mission support to the LSS annual fund for over 20 years. Many members of the congregation are long time individual supporters as well. The WELCA group at West Nidaros has also been a sustaining supporter of the LSS mission for over 30 years. West Nidaros has provided early support for the Campaign for Hope ensuring that the campaign starts off on a sure footing so LSS can enhance its services to South Dakota for a second century. Members of West Nidaros, Dr. Marge and Ron Hegge are also volunteering on the campaign as campaign committee members for the Southeast region. The congregation has been very supportive of the efforts to update our facility on the Campus on East Bank and are excited about the additional elements that the Campaign for Hope will provide.

Thank you to all our distinguished partners and thank you to our many wonderful supporters who have committed to creating a lasting legacy of Strengthening Individuals, Families & Communities.


Tonya Jackson
Development & Foundation Assistant

Do or Do Not. There is No Try.

October 8, 2018

As much everyone loves Yoda, in this case there is a try! LSS Mentoring Services wants you to try mentoring…and then hopefully DO it, but first just TRY it.

The opportunities to try mentoring are on:

  • Thursday, November 15, 12-1 PM at Hawthorne Elementary
  • Tuesday, January 22, 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM at Hayward Elementary

We are in the process of scheduling two additional events, but wanted to start getting information out! At Mentor Try-It events, potential volunteer mentors meet with students for lunch and do an activity together. We are in need of ten volunteers who are not current mentors at each event. There is no commitment to become a mentor by attending the event, but participants will be asked and LSS will follow up with potential volunteers. If you would like to try mentoring, RSVP to LSS at mentoring@lsssd.org or by calling 444-7803.

And to bring this post full circle (and get even more Star Wars references), let’s not forget that Yoda is the ultimate mentor to Luke Skywalker. In The Empire Strikes Back, he taught Luke to think about the here and now. He is supporting, patient and allows Luke to gain confidence. All amazing qualities that mentors from Yoda to even YOU could help bring out to a young person in need.

If you are not able to attend one of the events but would like to volunteer to mentor, please apply today! There are hundreds of kids waiting for someone like you!

Post by Michelle Madsen

The Seinfeld of Blog Posts – All About Nothing

October 4, 2018

I got nothing.  Today is my assigned blogging day for the week.  I’ve known it was coming.  I’ve had other stuff to do, but the blog has been in the back of my mind.  Usually I have at least an idea of what I’m going to write about.  But today I’m blank.  Empty.  I’ve even put everything off to the side to solely focus on my blog; I’ve really given it some thought.   And yet here I sit, writing to you about how I don’t have anything to write about.

So, I guess…..let’s pull the old Jerry Seinfeld and do a blog about nothing and maybe talk about money while we do it.  Ready?  Here we go.  Read the rest of this entry »

Mixing It Up!

October 3, 2018

LSS Mentoring Services held a Fall Mixer on September 17 that drew about 75 people. It was a fun event to celebrate volunteering and friendships. Special thanks to Complete Weddings + Events for providing music, Always & Forever Photography for taking pictures throughout the evening and to Papa Woody’s Wood Fire Pizza and Harry’s Yellow Submarine food trucks for setting up for our guests.

Bringing current volunteers together to talk about what they are doing and inviting people who might be interested is a great way to show people how much impact a program can have! There were many smiles shared and a few people decided to commit to volunteering after attending.


Look for more information about this event to happen again in Fall 2019!

The LSS Adult English Language Students Have Spoken – Student Survey Day 2018

October 2, 2018


by Laura Smith-Hill
Each year the LSS Center for New Americans (CNA) facilitates a “Student Survey Day.” On this day, the program provides interpreters and staff to assist students with completing on-line agency client satisfaction surveys. All fourteen program laptops and all twenty-two tablets are pulled out to assist more than 150 students with completing these surveys throughout one very busy day.
But our program does not stop there! We take this opportunity to inform students about all the classes available to them though the LSS CNA (English speaking classes, English literacy classes, computer classes, workforce training classes, citizenship classes). I, as the Education Program Coordinator, give them a short motivational speech about the journey of acquiring a new language, what they can do to help themselves learn English more quickly and to let them know how we, as their instructors, strive to do our best to help them meet their life goals!
Part of us being our best as English language instructors is taking the time to hear honest feedback from our adult learners. That’s where our student survey discussions come in.
We have students divide up into native language groups with interpreters to discuss their thoughts and feelings about the questions below. Here are the most common responses of our student body.

2018 Student Survey Feedback
1. Why do you want to learn English?
1. To communicate and speak with people.
2. To get a job or a better job.
3. It’s the national language.

2. What do you think of this program?
1. Helpful/Useful
2. Very good teachers
3. Free/not expensive

3. A Great Teacher:
1. Repeats a lot
2. Gives multiple examples
3. Is happy

4. What’s most challenging about learning English?
1. Writing and spelling
2. Speaking and pronunciation
3. Reading

5. How can the teachers help you more?
1. Repeat tasks, words, sentences more to increase student understanding.
2. Offer more hours of class time.
3. More writing, reading, homework and grammar (such as verb tenses).

6. What do you want to learn more about?
1. Speaking and writing
2. Reading
3. Computer
4. Vocabulary and spelling
We take our students’ feedback, suggestions and ideas very seriously. I read each and every groups’ survey notes, share the student body feedback with all our teachers, then we review and debrief the input as an Education Team. We use the students’ feedback to inform our on-going professional and programmatic development.
“Student Survey Day” inspires us as a teaching team. We are reminded of the humility and dedication of our students, and are humbled by their recognition and gratitude for the work we do for them each day. We are blessed to have the opportunity to serve our students through our profession as teachers and to contribute toward the mission of LSS: Inspired by God’s love, we care for, support and strengthen individuals, families and communities.

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