THANKS for Doing Good on the Green

August 16, 2017

The 7th annual LSS Golf Tournament at Cattail Crossing Golf Course in Watertown was another success! All funds raised go toward client services in the Watertown area – strengthening individuals and families. Services include adoption services, mental health counseling, and financial counseling and education.

We would like to say a special thank you to Reliabank, our presenting sponsor, along with the following sponsors:

Dale McElhany welcomed 84 registered golfers before teeing off at the 7th Annual LSS Golf Tournament in Watertown.

Dennis & Shirley Larson
Falcon Tour River Adventures
First Premier Bank
Sharp Automotive
Diamond Realty
Larry’s Lumber
First Bank & Trust
Aason Engineering
KWAT Radio
KXLG Radio
Macksteel Warehouse
Citi-Wide Property Management

We would like to send a special thank you to Levi Pearson and everyone at Cattail Crossing Golf Course for always helping us put on an amazing golf tournament!

We want to recognize Dale McElhany for his vision and efforts in helping to put this golf tournament together each year!

Betty Oldenkamp, LSS President/CEO and Mary Johnson, LSS Counseling Services in Watertown, pay tribute to Ronald Flemming, who dedicated 25 years to LSS prior to passing away almost a year ago.

This year, we had the privilege to pay tribute to Ron Flemming, who was a LSS clinical therapist for 25 years. Ron passed away less than a year ago and he touched many lives during the time he was with LSS. A print was dedicated to the Watertown LSS Counseling office in Ron’s honor for his dedicated service, devotion and commitment to LSS.

Following 18-holes of golf, golfers enjoyed a steak dinner and learned more about the many LSS services in the Northeast.

We would like to acknowledge all of the participating golfers and volunteers from the LSS Golf Tournament! We truly have such a smooth process with these events because of our wonderful volunteers!

Have we said THANK YOU yet?
We truly appreciate all of you.

 

Liesl Hovel, Development Director, Northeast Region
LSS Development & Foundation
605-262-6301 direct,  Liesl.Hovel@lsssd.org
www.LssSD.org


Better Together Coming to Brookings!

August 9, 2017

Better Together, a program of Lutheran Social Services designed to improve quality of life activities for older adults will expand to Brookings this fall!

The program started in Sioux Falls in January 2015 in collaboration with the Sioux Empire United Way. In early 2017, LSS contracted with a consulting firm to look at opportunities to expand the program beyond Sioux Falls. Brookings was the community identified through this process as being the most capable and ready for Better Together.

To help carry out the program in Brookings, LSS has partnered with the Volunteer Service Bank. This organization, embarking on its 25th year of service will assist with local coordination and will help both volunteers and seniors get started.

 

In the program, trained volunteers will be matched with an older adult based on similar interests and schedule. Volunteer and older adult matches will spend four hours per month together going on outings, talking, pursuing hobbies, and other relationship-building activities.

With nearly half of people aged 65 and older in South Dakota living alone, there is need to use volunteers to help maintain or reestablish a connection to their community.

If you are interested in being one of the first to volunteer for the program in Brookings, apply here. If you know of an older adult who would benefit from this service, please let them know to call us at 444-7801 or complete an intake application.


Meet Eric and Ethan

August 4, 2017

Eric Sather was involved with coordinating the youth group at First Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls and wanted to do more to impact young people in our community. He was visiting with a mentor of his own about this, and they pointed him to LSS. Eric applied and as they say, the rest is history.

Eric, who works at Scheel’s, said he has found mentoring to be a great way to give back. He has mentored for several years and has been matched with Ethan for the past five. The two enjoy their weekly meetings and Eric is quick to point out that Ethan has thanked him for coming every week.

“Kids are the next generation and we need to do all we can to help them start on the right foot,” said Eric. “Having adults spend time with them and having someone to look up to is so important.”

Ethan, who will be a 7th grader at Memorial Middle School says, “Having a mentor is like having a dad that you just talk with and there are not any distractions.” He and Eric have played a lot of games over the years (Ethan says they are both very competitive) and have visited a lot.

Ethan has plans to be a mechanical engineer someday and knows having Eric by his side will only help him in achieving his goals. They have grown personally through their relationship and look forward to the future. Ethan had one last comment that he wanted to make sure got included, “Eric is awesome!”

Wouldn’t it be great if more kids could say they had an awesome friend like Eric in their life? As we approach the back to school season, please apply today to volunteer to mentor and befriend a child in our community this year.


Dream Series – Your Credit Reputation

August 3, 2017

Let’s be honest – so much of life is about your reputation.  People want to get to know you before considering you a friend.  It’s all about reputation on social media.  Potential employers check your reputation via your resume, references, and possibly a background check or two.  It’s no different if a bank or other lender is going to go into business with you.  Oh yeah, and landlords, utility companies, insurance companies, and even licensing agencies.

As we continue our Dream Series, educating people towards achieve their dreams, we want to help you understand your credit reputation that many, many people will be looking at.  We’ve already looked at setting goals and knowing where you are starting.  Now we’ll look at how people and businesses will measure your credit reputation. Read the rest of this entry »


On the Road to Citizenship!

August 1, 2017

On Friday and Saturday mornings, something special takes place at the Center for New Americans. As soon as the doors open, about 100 adult students show up, eager, happy, and ready to work.  There are always lots of smiles and laughter, but the students come for some very serious work.

All of these students are refugees and immigrants who have lived in the United States for the past year or more, and now they want the opportunity to become citizens of this country where they have felt welcomed and secure, raised their families, paid taxes, and grown to love. These super dedicated students take time out of their lives, their work schedules, their families, to come and learn about U.S. history, U.S. civics, and U.S. geography.  Students learn how to read and write English and build confidence in their listening and speaking skills. They faithfully come to Citizenship class, because they all share the hope and dream of becoming a citizen themselves…some day!

Sitting alongside these students are classroom volunteers. Just like the students they help, these volunteers set aside time out of their busy weekly schedules to make a difference. Being a volunteer is an invaluable experience.  Here are a few of the benefits of being a volunteer:

  • Enjoy helping others learn
  • Give back to the community
  • Become aware of needs in the community
  • Share valuable skills and knowledge
  • Learn about new cultures
  • Help people understand American culture, history, and the English language
  • Build bridges across cultures
  • Make new friends
  • Discover and build new skills and ideas
  • Have an overall positive experience

What does it take to become a U.S. Citizen?

The U.S. naturalization process is an expensive and difficult process. Candidates for naturalization need to undergo and pass an intensive interview in English.

Candidates must then undergo an oral examination on U.S. history and government where they must listen to and correctly answer six out of ten questions that are randomly chosen from 100 possible civics, history, and geography questions. Would you pass? The USCIS has an online practice test: https://my.uscis.gov/prep/test/civics

Finally candidates are required to demonstrate their English reading and writing ability. Candidates must pass all three exams before being recommended for citizenship (naturalization).

Want to be a citizenship classroom volunteer?

Contact Kristyne.Walth@lsssd.org.

Need free citizenship classes?

You can receive free citizenship classes if you bring your green card. Call 731-2000 to schedule an enrollment appointment for the next class session.

Want help filling out the “citizenship application” or N-400?

Call 731-2000 to schedule an appointment with an immigration attorney for reduced or free rates.

Want to know more about the process of becoming a citizen?

Visit the USCIS website https://www.uscis.gov/ for details.

Written by Heather Glidewell

 


A Summer of New Experiences

August 1, 2017

Imagine for a moment some of the tasks on your to-do list this week. Chances are a lot of things on the list are “just get it done” tasks, the kind of thing you have to remember to do, but you don’t think about very much –picking up prescriptions, grabbing groceries for the week, scheduling a dental appointment for your child.

Now imagine you’ve been dropped off in a totally new country – a place where people don’t speak your language, you don’t get food at the same kind of store, and you have no idea who to call or even if you can call to make that dentist appointment. Suddenly, that “just get it done” to-do list has become full of looming, seemingly impossible tasks. Common activities are suddenly hopelessly confusing. This is the reality for many refugee families when they first arrive in the United States.

This summer I’ve had the pleasure to work with many of Sioux Falls’ refugee families through an internship at the LSS Center for New Americans. When refugees arrive in Sioux Falls, they are assigned a set of LSS case managers. These case managers have varying specialties, such as locating housing, navigating the medical system, finding employment, and enrolling children in public school.   However, I think of myself as the luckiest person working here, because, as the intern, I get to help out in all of these specialties.

Leigha Vilen

CNA Intern Leigha Vilen

As someone who has never spent much time outside the United States (I thought the move to college was a big transition!), I have been awed and inspired by the resilience of the refugee families we work with as they negotiate living within an unfamiliar culture. The role of the caseworker is primarily as a facilitator, helping to navigate the challenges created by this unfamiliarity. Our clients take this little bit of help and use it to build amazing futures: achieving new educational goals, advancing in their careers, and creating the best possible futures for their children and grandchildren.

Leigha working at her desk

Leigha working at her desk.

I owe LSS and the families I was lucky enough to work with a huge thank you for an amazing summer. I came in hoping to learn a little bit about social work and refugee resettlement, but I’m walking away with a vision of what the American Dream can look like at its best.

 

Leigha Vilen

Summer 2017 Intern, LSS Center for New Americans


Four Ways to Help LSS Mentoring Without Being a Mentor

July 26, 2017

For many people, volunteering as a mentor may not be possible due to their schedule or ability to commit to a child. However, we know that people are supportive of LSS Mentoring Services and may be willing to help out in other ways! Here are a few ideas to help the program without being a mentor.

  1. Recruit. You may not be able to be a mentor, but you know of a retired neighbor who seems to be available throughout the day or a friend who now has an empty nest, or even a manager who would like to get their employees involved in the community. Tell them about this program! We are happy to present information to individuals and groups about what we do and how people can get involved. Word of mouth is so important and our best form of advertising!
  2. Donate Supplies. Schools are in need of new or very gently used games, puzzles, card games and art supplies. If you have been meaning to clear out some space at your home, consider donating to LSS! Or you may feel to drive to help when you’re shopping and come across something that may be of use. Games that require only two players work best. Just drop them off at our office and we will get them to schools in need.
  3. Donate Tickets or Offer Discounts. If you have seats to a game or play in town that you are not able to use, let us know! Our USucceed and Better Together matches are able to go out and about in the community and are always looking for things to do. The more advanced notice we get, the better the chance is for them to be put to use. Why let your seats go unused – just think of the thrill of a child going to a game for the first time or the joy you would bring to the life of an older adult instead.
  4. Make a Financial Gift. Like everything, programs need financial support to continue to develop and grow. If you’d like to make a gift to LSS, please go here to make your donation online!

While we would love for everyone to be a mentor, we know it’s not possible. We hope you still consider supporting the work that we do and can find your own way to make a difference!

Post by Michelle Madsen


%d bloggers like this: