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.
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.
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 »
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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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