Celebrating the Fourth of July Safely

June 29, 2013

 Independence Day celebrations are often filled with smiles, excitement and fun. However, as quickly as the fun begins it can turn dangerous. We searched out some tips to share so that everyone’s holiday will be fun and safe!


 Kids and adults alike enjoy the bright lights and sounds. Follow this link from The Consumer Product Safety Commission for information. Following are some of their safety tips. I underlined one that I thought might be surprising. (Their infographic is also shared at the end of this post.)

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.

Food Safety

Hot dogs, apple pie, potato salad and other goodies are tasty but can become dangerous if not handled safely. Often at picnics and potlucks food is left out for awhile or temperatures can be too hot or too cool. Web MD has the details.

Sun and Heat

Be sun safe. Use sunscreen and limit time in the heat. Stay hydrated. The FDA has additional tips.

Supervise Well

Whether it is with fireworks, near water, around a campfire or just playing please watch children closely.  Sometimes children can act impulsively or without considering all of the consequences. As adults, we can help them learn to make choices that are safe and will help them have fun. While we are keeping them safe, we can enjoy their company as well!


Even our four legged friends need some love this summer. Pet MD has some helpful hints to keep our pets safe while we enjoy the day. Remember that those spent fireworks can become poison to a dog. Also, a dog that usually stays close to home may run away when scared by the cracks and booms of fireworks.

 We hope you enjoy the traditions and adventures you have planned for Independance Day this year!

Together we can make a difference. Make a financial gift to LSS today.

World Refugee Day: A place to call home

June 28, 2013
On June 17th, about 40 people listened to a panel discussion featuring volunteers and refugees.

On June 17th, about 40 people listened to a panel discussion featuring volunteers and refugees.

On Monday, June 17th, about 40 people gathered at the Main Library in celebration of World Refugee Day. After watching two mini-documentaries, the group heard from some of those featured in the films: mentors Becky Sather Durr, Maria Guarraci, and Sarah Zoutendam and refugee mentee Khagendra Chhetri.

In the films and the panel, the audience learned about the joys and challenges of refugee mentor relationships.

The panelists—both volunteers and refugees—began by sharing their stories of uprooting and beginning again, finding themselves in Sioux Falls after living in Nebraska or Jordan or Bhutan.

“A place to call home is important to so many people,” said Sarah Zoutendam. Sarah was born in Jordan to American parents and has traveled to and worked in many countries since. “I’ve lived in enough different places that I don’t take home for granted anymore.”

Becky and Maria, who worked with Khagendra Chhetri and his family, described some of their mentorship activities that made everyone feel more at home: canoeing, sharing meals, and, of course, shopping.

In addition to discussing the importance of home, the mentors also stressed the importance of mutuality in mentor relationships—instead of “helping” refugees, the best mentor relationships are ones where all parties are givers and receivers. It can’t be a one-way street; it must be a two-way highway.

“It sounds bad, but I think you can volunteer for selfish reasons, because you want to learn about another culture,” Maria Guarraci said. “And the Chhetris have taught me so much.”

Khagendra Chhetri agreed. His family became friends with Maria, Becky, and their book club when they arrived to Sioux Falls from a refugee camp in Nepal last summer. He felt similarly about the giving and receiving that transform mentors into family members.

“They [mentors] teach me about American culture and I share my culture with them through food, festivals, music, and drumming,” Khagendra said. “I am very happy with my American family.”

World Refugee Day (June 20th) is an international day to honor the courage and contribution of refugees worldwide. If you would like to celebrate this day by beginning a refugee mentor relationship of your own, please contact our office at (605) 731-2000.

To contribute to the work of welcoming the stranger, make a financial gift to LSS today.

[Post by Amy S.Z.]

Can a Housing Counselor Help Me?

June 27, 2013

Yes! Housing counseling is not just for homeowners facing foreclosure. Homebuyers, renters, and others can also benefit from meeting with one of our Certified Housing Counselors. Check out the ways that Lutheran Social Services Consumer Credit Counseling Service can help you through our housing counseling services.

Fliker Creative Commons | Some rights reserved by silent7seven

Fliker Creative Commons | Some rights reserved by silent7seven

Read the rest of this entry »

Mentor Match: Dana and Sean

June 24, 2013

Eleven years ago, Dana Hagen met Sean, a kindergartener at Sean and Dana Dana and SeanJane Addams Elementary. Fast forward to today, and they are still meeting once a week (now at Roosevelt) through LSS Mentoring Services. Read the rest of this entry »

The Frugal Homeowner’s Guide to Maintenance

June 21, 2013
Flikr Creative Commons | Some rights reserved by akeg

Flikr Creative Commons | Some rights reserved by akeg

Just as the joys of home ownership appear in ways large and small, so do home maintenance needs and expenses.

In honor of Homeownership Month, here are do-it-yourself ways to tackle that to-do list on a budget: Read the rest of this entry »

Swimming Safety

June 19, 2013

The weather is beautiful and our students have started to splash and swim. While we are enjoying their beautiful smiles we are also working hard as a staff to be sure everyone is staying safe. The staff have been reviewing a number of articles and we thought it would be wise to share a few of  them with our blog readers as well.

Perhaps the most helpful article was one called Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning by Mario Vittone. In short, it highlights the fact that drowning “does not look like most people expect. There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind.” This is an important reminder of how essential it is to supervise carefully. Even at pools that have lifeguards, it is our job as caregivers and parents to keep a close eye on the children we are with. The article includes a list of what we should watch for including floating without using legs, eyes closed or glassy, movement like climbing a ladder and trying to roll to back.

News articles have also highlighted dry drowning http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dry_drowning and delayed drowning. Essentially, it is important to remember that if something doesn’t seem right, we need to head to the doctor. Sometimes a “close call” can cause damage to the lungs and therefore cause an individual to experience severe symptoms well after the incident.

The CDC offers this article which includes many of the details regarding water-related injuries. The article reminds us that supervision is an important part of keeping children safe while swimming. Enrolling children in swimming lessons and using life jackets are also recommended.

Please enjoy swimming safely this summer. We’ll see you at the pool!

-Heather DeWit, Director of Childcare and Education at LSSswimming girl

Very Last Call!

June 17, 2013

Tej pray

We have a few seats left at tonight’s event. Call 605-731-2000 by 2:00 p.m. today to reserve yours!


Mini-Documentary Viewing

Monday, June 17, 2013

6:30 to 8:00 p.m.

Main Library, 200 N. Dakota Ave, Sioux Falls

 Following the film, we will hear from the people featured in the mini-documentaries in a panel discussion. You don’t want to miss it!

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