Quick Holiday Cash, the Non-Scam Way

November 24, 2021

The holidays can already be stressful enough without the concern on if you are being scammed by a deal that is too good to be true. There are a lot of scams out there: ones that try to convince you to donate to a charity, fake gift exchanges, or temporary holiday jobs.

Now, working a holiday job can be a good way to earn some extra cash, but be careful as to if it is legitimate or not. If they are offering high wages for routine tasks like stuffing envelopes or answering phones it could be a scam. The saying of ‘if it sounds to good to be true… it probably is’ should be ringing in your ears in this scenario or any situation that seems fishy. You should request an official offer letter that details the job being hired for and the wages before starting any work.

There are some websites you can go to for cross referencing on if a business is reputable: cportcu.org

  • Better Business Bureau (BBB) https://www.bbb.org/: There is an entire database that tracks scams.
  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC) https://www.ftc.gov/: Has a scam alert page that is always being updated on current scams.

Some creative ways that you can make some quick cash could be by doing ride share or food delivery jobs (Uber/Lyft, FoodDudes/DoorDash). Another idea is to sell things that you no longer need. If you have children, you could also encourage them to sell toys they no longer play with.

If you like these ideas or want other ideas reach out to us and one of our counselors can meet with you. We can also help review documents if you are concerned on it being a scam. You can schedule an appointment by calling us at 1-888-258-2227 or by visiting our website at www.lsssd.org.

Written by Cassandra Johnson, Financial Counselor and Educator

Photo credit: cportcu.org

LSS Center for Financial Resources
Consumer Credit Counseling Service | Housing Resources | Sharpen Your Financial Focus | Financial Fitness Education
705 East 41st Street, Suite 100 | Sioux Falls SD 57105-6047
605-330-2700 or 888-258-2227
www.LssSD.org
Strengthening Individuals, Families & Communities

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Skip the Hassle. Buy Local!

November 11, 2021

You hear it every year in November. Buy local! Support Small Business Saturday! Yes, I am a big supporter of small businesses because they are the fabric of our community. Small businesses help develop a unique and vibrant local culture. We all know money spent with local businesses stays in the local economy and in turn helps not only our city but surrounding communities grow and prosper. But did you know small businesses donate 250% more than larger businesses to local nonprofits and community causes? Read the rest of this entry »


How Many Years will I Be Paying My Student Loans?!

October 28, 2021

I was pretty excited to see when I logged in to make my monthly student loan payment last spring that my payments were put into forbearance (but I could still make payments if I’d like) and no interest was accruing! There are two things I’m going to touch on in today’s blog. JQ7IJP2ZC5FF3DE4FINJKL76NI

  • For those that have student loans the final extension of the pause on payments ends on January 31, 2022. At that time payments will start again for federal loans that the forbearance pertained too, along with interest, and collection practices on defaulted loans.
  • Another new update that has occurred; on October, 6th the Biden Administration announced some major changes that are going into place for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF). A limited waiver is in the works to allow those that have previously been denied, or who weren’t set up under the correct type of payment plan could now qualify. This is only available until October 31st, 2022 for completing. Here is a link to the Student Aid government website that explains the process further:

Read the rest of this entry »


Volunteer of the Year: 2021

October 26, 2021


Karen: LSS 2021 Volunteer of the Year

The English classrooms at the Center for New Americans rely heavily on the support and expertise of volunteers. Volunteers aid the teacher in classroom management (both online and in person), assist one-on-one tutoring, lead classroom and small group activities, and provide support to the teachers in numerous ways.


Each year the Education Program has the opportunity to honor one of our hardworking volunteers and nominate them for the Distinguished Volunteer of the Year Award for LSS of SD. This past week, our nominee, Karen Kraus, was recognized at the 2021 Distinguished Volunteer of the Year.


Here’s her nomination:
Karen Kraus started volunteering at the LSS Center for New Americans on 12/14/2016. Since her first day she has provided 460 hours of ESL classroom help for our adult Refugee and Immigrant students.


She has worked with all the English class levels and has also tutored one-to-one a student who had no prior literacy with the challenging task of learning to decode. Karen has been an amazing volunteer – flexible and consistent – in supporting the Education Program at LSS.


When the pandemic closed our in-person classrooms, she reached out to her assigned teacher to see how she could still help. While volunteers typically work once a week for two hours, she joined the online students in Zoom every day until other volunteers could be trained. At the training meetings, she was able to speak with the other volunteers, answering their questions about how it felt to assist in Zoom. She encouraged them to jump in and continue to help out even if they could not see the student due to technology challenges. She spoke about how the students still needed their volunteers more than ever in the Zoom Classrooms.


Karen brings amazing qualities and skills to our English Language Classes at LSS. Patient, insightful and collaborative – Karen communicates clearly and effectively with true beginners. She is a talented co-teacher in any classroom and a treasured partner in the team effort that is equipping our adult English learners with knowledge of the language, literacy and the content they need to communicate and succeed as new residents of South Dakota.


Here are a few of Karen’s insights about volunteering at LSS Center for New Americans.


What are some of your favorite memories from working with a student/in class?
I especially have enjoyed the following experiences:

o Assisting a student who just sounded out a word and seeing the big smile on their face!

o I love it when a joke is shared and understood even through our language barriers!

o The students call all of us “Teacher.” I can tell it is a term of honor by the way they say it.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about volunteering at CNA?
For me, it feels like an honor to be a small part of an English Language Learners’ journey. I strongly encourage anyone who might be interested to give this a try. The classroom teachers will first ask you to observe, then will give you direction on how to work directly with students. It’s a chance to meet people from other cultures, right here in Sioux Falls. I learn so much. It’s fun, it’s interesting, and it allows me to volunteer in a meaningful way.

Would YOU like to join our team as a classroom volunteer?
Contact diana.streleck@lsssd.org
Apply Here
https://lsssd.org/what-we-do/center-for-new-americans/volunteerapplication.html

Written by Heather Glidewell | LSS Center for New Americans | Adult ESL Instructor
300 East 6th Street, Suite 100 | Sioux Falls, SD 57103
1-866-242-2447 toll free | 605-731-2059 fax


America 101: Cultural Orientation at LSS

October 19, 2021

Two PowerPoint slides shown to students in Cultural Orientation class

Adjusting to life in a new country is no easy task. New arrivals to the United States must learn new practices and ways of being to survive and thrive. To help with this transition, LSS offers Cultural Orientation class every month. The class is offered to clients who have just arrived in the U.S. and teaches essential skills and knowledge about American life. It covers topics including home safety, American laws, banking and finances, education and healthcare.


One special feature of this class is its use of guest speakers. LSS invites community members to Cultural Orientation to lend their expertise on pertinent topics. We have law enforcement officers, health professionals and financial experts come in to speak to the students. Not only do the students benefit from the insights of these guest speakers but they are also introduced to trusted community members that they can call upon later for help and support. Building these bridges helps make the transition to life in Sioux Falls easier for new arrivals.


Community building is done not only through guest speakers but also through the dynamic, multicultural nature of the class itself. Students in the class come from many different countries, cultures, languages and backgrounds but they are all there for the same reason: to learn how to live and thrive in their new home. This shared purpose helps the students bond and build community in the class. Cultural Orientation’s teacher, Silke Hansen, notes, “One of my favorite things about Orientation is that new arrivals from different countries meet and get to know each other which might not have happened otherwise.”


Cultural Orientation is taught for two weeks every month from Monday through Friday for 3 hours per day.

Kate Harris ESL Instructor & Career Navigator
LSS Center for New Americans
P: 605-731-2000 | F: 605-731-2059
300 East 6th Street, Suite 100 Sioux Falls, SD 57103
LssSD.org


Dakota Wesleyan University Spotlight

October 14, 2021

Some of our counselors had a busy week at the end of September doing some speed counseling with students at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, SD. Brian Ringler, Dawson Muska, and Olivia Lima met with 79 students in 15 minute increments to discuss money management, what costs will look like when they complete school, and any questions they had. Everyone’s situation was so different: ranging from freshman with $100/month budget, to married students with $4000 plus a month in their budget.

Speed-Coaching-Logo-Website-1-BLACK-01

This was a great opportunity for students to get a glimpse of what things may look like with their finances once they graduate, and also a way for them to see all the services we have to offer at Center for Financial Resources to help them with their financial goals.

Now, even thougsh these sessions were 15 minutes long, our normal session is about an hour long, and usually takes a few meetings. Winning a race doesn’t happen overnight, it takes practice, and same goes with financial goals, which our counselors would love to help. If you need a second set of eyes to help go over your financial goals, or even where to start on creating your goals give us a call at 1-888-258-2227 or online at www.lsssd.org.

Written by Cassie Johnson, Financial Counselor and Educator

Photo credit: thecoachofspeed.com

LSS Center for Financial Resources
Consumer Credit Counseling Service | Housing Resources | Sharpen Your Financial Focus | Financial Fitness Education
705 East 41st Street, Suite 100 | Sioux Falls SD 57105-6047
605-330-2700 or 888-258-2227
www.LssSD.org
Strengthening Individuals, Families & Communities

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Mini Library at Center for New Americans

October 5, 2021

As I meander the halls of the Center for New Americans, I find a special shelf dedicated to literacy for both our students and their families.  Through an outreach program via Siouxland Libraries, we are able to have a mini library at the convenience and delight of our students. 

Our mini library allows students to check out books to read not only to themselves but also to their children and grandchildren.  Books are in English and multiple target languages such as Spanish, Amharic, Vietnamese, Arabic, etc. 

This opportunity gives our students the capability to practice their English skills and also to pass along their culture and language to their children and grandchildren.

Students are always hungry for new reading materials in English, and as such the library has been a great resource for our students, who immediately started taking advantage of this opportunity.  One grandmother was super excited to see books in Amharic that she could read to her grandchildren.  Another was thrilled to see a book of poems in her language.  Others are excited to see word-to-word translations from their language to English.  There are a variety of books to appeal to everyone.

The books are rotated through Siouxland Library every 3 months so students are able to find new and exciting things to read at home.  Easy access to books helps promote literacy in our adult student population outside of the school setting. 

In the spirit of International Literacy Day (September 8) and National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week (September 19 to 25), here are some ideas to keep reading fun for the whole family:

1.  Read when traveling

2.  Read when on a lunch break

3.  Join a tutoring group or an English class or a book club

4.  Find fun places to read:  coffee shop, park, etc.

5.  Read books that fit reading ability level.

6. Read with a friend or a volunteer.

Our students love to work with volunteers in the classroom. Volunteers help foster a love for reading and build relationships with students.

Want to be a classroom volunteer?
Contact diana.streleck@lsssdblog

Apply Here
https://lsssd.org/what-we-do/center-for-new-americans/volunteerapplication.html

Written by Heather Glidewell | LSS Center for New Americans | Adult ESL Instructor

300 East 6th Street, Suite 100 | Sioux Falls, SD 57103

1-866-242-2447 toll free | 605-731-2059 fax


The Next Journey

September 30, 2021

It’s been kind of a bittersweet week for those of us at the Center for Financial Resources. Read the rest of this entry »


Xcel Energy Helps Immigrants Excel in Sioux Falls

September 28, 2021
Students participate in a hybrid classroom

LSS Center for New Americans once again received a generous grant from Xcel Energy. This grant has helped to provide classes that prepare students to enter the workforce. The project, called Career Literacy for Refugees and Immigrants, teaches students career readiness skills such as critical thinking, teamwork/collaboration, leadership and digital literacy. The project also provides instruction in the four major language skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening. These skills help students find jobs, advance in their current jobs or find jobs that match the skills and training they had before they came to the U.S. Many of our students have gone on to get and excel in jobs in production, manufacturing, industry, customer service and other areas.

One unique feature of these classes is that they use the hybrid model of instruction in which there are some students learning online and some students learning inperson simultaneously. This model enables students to come to class and learn in a way that best suits them, their schedules, and learning preferences. It also provides equity for students who do not have the skills or resources to participate in Zoom instruction. Each LSS classroom is equipped with an OWL (combination camera/speaker/microphone) that allows online students to see and hear their in-person classmates and vice versa. Students have been very receptive to the model, often joking and having conversations between online and in-person students.  In one recent class, a student joining class online for the day instantly recognized the voice of an in-person student; the two students immediately starting chatting like old friends. Interactions like this warm the hearts of our instructors and build community in the hybrid model.

Xcel Energy provides the energy that powers millions of homes and businesses across eight Western and Midwestern states. Headquartered in Minneapolis, the company is an industry leader in responsibly reducing carbon emissions and producing and delivering clean energy solutions from a variety of renewable sources at competitive prices.

The company also supports communities and local community organizations in four major areas: STEM education, workforce development, environmental protection and stewardship and arts and culture. Xcel Energy has partnered with LSS for seventeen years and specifically with the Center for New Americans for the past twelve years.

Thank you to Xcel Energy for your generosity, compassion and commitment to our students. We are thrilled to see our students “xcel” thanks to your sponsorship!

Kate Harris  ESL Instructor & Career Navigator 

LSS Center for New Americans

P:  605-731-2000  | F:  605-731-2059

300 East 6th Street, Suite 100  Sioux Falls, SD 57103

LssSD.org


School Daze

September 23, 2021

You have HOW MUCH in student loan debt?!?  Well, did you know you can pay a mere $5 a month for the next year Read the rest of this entry »


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