From Iraq to Sioux Falls: A 24-year-old’s Journey

July 30, 2013

“Eat pizza, hang out at Falls Park, text with friends, and take pictures of snow and ice-covered artwork at Downtown’s Sculpture Walk”. His answer (and the speedy production of accompanying photos of the sculptures on his phone) was so normal for a young adult living in Sioux Falls. When I asked Dillovan (name changed for safety reasons), “What do you do for fun in Sioux Falls?” I didn’t expect such a regular answer. After all, Dillovan’s path to Sioux Falls was anything but ordinary.  Read the rest of this entry »

So Long & Farewell!

July 26, 2013


Today is Glenn Strand’s last day with us here at LSS Consumer Credit Counseling Service – he is retiring after 17 years and 8 months. We celebrated this achievement with a party this past Wednesday (photos below). Please join us in wishing Glenn well! Read the rest of this entry »

Love Languages for Children and Teens

July 25, 2013

Having children in your life whether through birth, adoption, foster care, kinship can be rewarding yet challenging; peaceful yet chaotic; fun yet work AND never boring!  Each child brings his or her own personality and character to the family.  Because of this diversity there is not one set template of parenting that works for every child in your home! 

 A tool that is very helpful in knowing what approach to parenting and interacting with the child or children you care for are the books, The 5 Love Languages of Children and The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers written by Gary Chapman.  They provide insight on understanding children and teens and what type of expressions of love the child responds best to.  These love languages include:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Physical Touch
  • Quality Time
  • Acts of Service
  • Gifts

 The information provided on determining your child’s love language, tools and techniques makes sense and is interesting.  It makes parenting your child with love easy in today’s complicated world! I would recommend these books to anyone who cares for a child or children. Enjoy and learn!

Dede Mogck, Director of Adoption and Foster Care

Summer Reading= Summer Fun

July 24, 2013

Most people agree that it is very important for children to read throughout the summer. Sometimes that is easier to say than it is to convince children to do. We’ve got some tips to help make it happen painlessly. Read the rest of this entry »

The opportunity to take a different path

July 23, 2013

acI became interested in serving through AmeriCorps during college. I was looking at my options after graduation and became discouraged in this impossible job market. I knew I wanted a career in public service with a non-profit organization, but was struggling finding the right fit. AmeriCorps offered me an excellent chance to combine my education background in marketing and communications with my interest in public service.

Through my experience with AmeriCorps, I have learned the opportunities and challenges of the financial counseling industry, a sector I previously knew very little about. My position has helped develop my writing and public speaking skills, organizational abilities, and problem solving skills. Read the rest of this entry »

Before I say goodbye . . .

July 16, 2013
Co-workers and friends Deborah Deng and Amy S.Z.

Co-workers and friends Deborah Deng and Amy S.Z.

This is my last week here. I’ve worked at LSS Refugee & Immigration for the last 4 years, and it has been a beautiful thing. Grad school is summoning me east, but I will miss this office and the people who fill it.

I’ve learned so much while working with people from around the world . . .

I’ve learned that spicy is relative to one’s taste buds.

I’ve learned that racism is still alive and well, but so are people working actively against it.

I’ve learned to avoid the word “helping”—the only way to improve someone’s life is to realize that you need them too.

I’ve learned that persistence is not overrated—it’s vital to doing any good in this world.

When there’s no common language, I’ve learned that playing a rousing game of charades can be surprisingly effective in explaining yourself.

I’ve learned that hospitality is a spiritual act, right up there with prayer.

I’ve learned from the eyes and the scars of my friends that war is evil; it encompasses torture, home burnings, gang rape, starvation . . . and we should never idealize it.

I’ve learned that politicians can’t save the world, but they sure can help or hurt efforts to.

I’ve learned that the exporting of media largely filmed in balmy Hollywood, California gives people an extra shock when they first encounter snow.

I’ve learned that people can overcome their upbringing, even if they were raised in a refugee camp.

I’ve learned that people can overcome their upbringing, even if they were taught to love money.

I’ve learned that I can’t change everything, I can’t control everything, but I can stubbornly speak up for justice and peace.

I’ve learned that chai means more than a tasty drink—it also means friendship. 

I’ve learned that the most courageous people in this world are refugees; I will miss these friends. 

[Post by Amy S.Z.]

Debit vs. Credit – How Do I Choose?

July 15, 2013
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /

Cash, check, or card? Those used to be our three choices for payment. But these days, the choices do not end there. It can be overwhelming to remember the terms of every plastic card stuffed in our wallet. To make it a bit easier, here is a quick cheat sheet for cards you may already use, or cards you may come across in the future. Read the rest of this entry »

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