As we say good-bye to October, National Down Syndrome Month, and hello to November, National Adoption Month, I would be remiss to not mention the joys of adopting a child who has Down Syndrome. By now you are probably asking – what does this have to do with Batman and Robin?! Well, in my home it has everything to do with the Caped Crusader and his Sidekick! 17 years ago I was blessed to adopt my daughter who coincidently has Down Syndrome. This past year she has begun to call me Batman and continually reminds me that she is Robin, Batman’s trusty sidekick. Read the rest of this entry »
Do you know of a proven way to lessen your stress, improve your health, have more purpose and be more engaged with what is going on in your life?
In recent UnitedHealth Group study, researchers measured the impact of the simple act of one giving their time to benefit others. It turns out the ones giving their time were just as much (maybe even more) impacted as those receiving services.
Here are four key takeaways from the report: Read the rest of this entry »
Costumes should be safe! Avoid masks that impede vision. Avoid hard accessories like plastic swords or broomsticks that could poke your child or others. Be sure shoes and costumes aren’t a tripping hazard.
Always check treats and candy to be sure they are safe.
Never let them go alone. Walk with your child. If you think they are old enough to go without an adult, be sure they are with friends you trust. Teach them about crosswalks and talk about where they are allowed to go.
Don’t forget the lights! Be sure that children are walking with bright lights so that others can see them and they can see where they are going. Be sure candles in jack-o-lanterns and luminaries are flameless or out of reach of children.
You are the best judge of what is safe for your child. Don’t be afraid to say “no” to your child even if all of their friends are doing something. Keep your child safe.
We’re all looking for ways to save money, especially as the holiday season draws near.
So, here’s our list of 8 ways to cut costs and save money as you try to reduce monthly expenses in your household: Read the rest of this entry »
Here begins a series on the five largest ethnic groups the Center for New Americans has resettled in Sioux Falls recently. Upcoming blog posts will focus on the following topics: Conflict History, Cultural Differences, and New American Success Stories. Please join us as we learn together about our new neighbors and their courageous stories.
New American Series: The Bhutanese-Nepali
Bhutan (official name: Kingdom of Bhutan) is nestled amongst the Himalayan Mountains between India and China. Its geographic location had kept it isolated for centuries and outsiders were only allowed to enter starting in the 1970s. The Drukpa people are the ethnic majority in Bhutan, practicing Buddhism and speaking Dzongkha. They live mostly in the northern part of the country.
According to the Cultural Orientation Resource Center’s Refugee Backgrounder: The great majority of Bhutanese refugees are descendants of people who in the late 1800s began immigrating to southern Bhutan—lowland, malarial-infested regions shunned by the Druk Buddhist majority—in search of farmland. There they became known as Lhotsampas (“People of the South”).
Contact between the Druk in the north and the Lhotsampas in the south was limited, and over the years, the Lhotsampas retained their highly distinctive Nepali language, culture, and religion. Relations between the groups were for the most part conflict free. Under Bhutan’s Nationality Law of 1958, the Lhotsampas enjoyed Bhutanese citizenship and were allowed to hold government jobs.
Starting in the 1980s; however, there was a change in the government’s attitude towards the Lhotsampas as the Druk majority began a policy of “Bhutanization,” desiring a unified language, culture, and religion.
The policies imposed the Druk dress code and customs on the Lhotsampas and prohibited the use of the Nepali language in schools. Nepali teachers were dismissed, and Nepali books were reportedly burned. The government also established new eligibility requirements for Bhutanese citizenship that disenfranchised many ethnic Nepalis, depriving them of their citizenship and civil rights.2
In 1990, violent clashes between politically organized Lhotsampas and the Bhutanese government led to tens of thousands fleeing to refugee camps in Nepal and India’s West Bengal. Others were forced to sign “voluntary migration certificates” before being expelled from the country. The goal of repatriation, always discussed between the Nepali and Bhutanese governments, has proven fruitless in over twenty years of discussions. Several political roadblocks have prevented Bhutanese refugees from settling permanently in Nepal.
Local integration has not been possible for political reasons. Moreover, Nepali government policy denies the refugees two basic rights that are prerequisites for local integration: freedom of movement and the right to work and earn a living.2
With no movement towards repatriation or local integration in over twenty years, resettlement was seen as the only solution for the over 100,000 Bhutanese refugees living in 7 refugee camps in Nepal. Resettlement to the United States began in late 2007.
 “Bhutan Profile” BBC News, 4 June 2013. Web. 20 October 2013. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-12480707>
 Ranard, Donald A. “Bhutanese Refugees in Nepal.” Cultural Orientation Resource Center. Center for Applied Linguistics, October 2007. Web. 20 October 2013. <http://www.culturalorientation.net/learning/populations/bhutanese>
Mentor Try-It Lunches Scheduled for this Fall
Have you ever thought about becoming a mentor but wanted more information? LSS Mentoring Services invites you to come to a “Mentor Try-It” Lunch at Garfield Elementary School on Tuesday, October 29 from 12-12:45 PM, at Garretson Elementary on Wednesday, November 6 from 11:45-12:45, or at Edison Middle School on Thursday, November 14 from 11:45-12:45. The event is an opportunity for anyone interested in learning more about school-based mentoring to give it a try without any obligation. Participants will enjoy lunch (not a school lunch!) and do an activity with students. Read the rest of this entry »