Teaching Kids Resilience

June 30, 2014

“Economists refer to these as noncognitive skills, psychologists call them personality traits, and the rest of us sometimes think of them as character.” These are words from Paul Tough’s most recent book where he describes the traits that may be more important than intelligence when it comes to succeeding in life.

LSS Mentoring Services will offer a training based on the book How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character.In this book, Tough writes about his interviews with professionals from a variety of different fields including economists, neuroscientists, psychologists and medical doctors; they all might not be working together but they seem to all be coming to similar conclusions. The New York Times review of the book can be found here.

Over the years, a belief has developed in our schools and communities that the most important skills for children to learn are those that are cognitive and can be measured on IQ tests, like ones related to reading and math. What these professionals (including many researchers) have uncovered is that these are not the most important skills for children to learn and that this intense focus on intelligence is actually limiting how far kids are able to go in life.

Instead, it has been found that the strongest predictors of success actually come from character traits. Many have come to the conclusion that even if a child does not receive straight A’s, if s/he possesses large amounts of self-control, optimism and grit, s/he has a stronger likelihood of being successful in life. It is one thing to be smart enough to get into college but it’s another thing to have the determination and self-control to finish all four years and receive that diploma.

Something even more exciting (and relevant for mentors) is that these character traits can be taught. Caregivers, teachers and mentors alike all have the ability to help a child develop these traits. Another topic that Tough explores is the significance of emotional support for children in helping to grow resilience; something that mentors also can help with! In this training we will reflect on these various research findings and look at ways we can help prepare our mentees for a life of success.

The training will be offered July 10 OR July 15, 12-1 PM at the LSS Center for Children & Youth (621 E Presentation Street).

Families Celebrate Adoption

June 27, 2014

Several LSS adoptive families and lots of kids came together to celebrate adoption on June 20! There were children from age 6 months to 40+ years of age in attendance. Included in the group of children were three sets of twins! The evening was full of sharing stories, children playing and good company.

photo 2

Picnic participants – all adoptees and their family.

The oldest and youngest adoptee in attendance pose for a photo!

The oldest and youngest adoptee in attendance pose for a photo!

On behalf of the Adoption staff and LSS we want to thank all of the LSS adoptive families who helped us celebrate. We are blessed to be part of growing your families through adoption!!


FAQs about Refugees and Resettlement in the U.S.

June 26, 2014

Who Brings Refugees to South Dakota?
Currently there are an estimated 15 million people from around the world who have fled their homes because of religious, political and racial persecution. These people are the world’s refugees. The U.S. Government, as determined by the President of the United States, allowed approximately 68,000 refugees to enter our country last year. About 35 to 40 percent of refugees resettled in the U.S. are children.

The U.S. Department of State works with the National Voluntary Agencies to establish the number of refugees placed in each state. Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota helped resettle 320 individuals within Sioux Falls this year. This is less than 1% of the total population of refugees resettled in the U.S. Read the rest of this entry »

Are You inSUREd?

June 23, 2014

I used to love storms through the spring and summer. I found the towering clouds and lightning’s fireworks displays truly awesome to watch. The uncontrollable power of the weather can be so grand. Then, as if in an encore performance, the passing of the storm would usually greatly reduce the temperature, humidity, and wind making for a beautiful evening.storm

While the storms are still grand and powerful, my opinion has changed now that I am a homeowner and responsible for the cleanup bills after the storms roll through. I have had hail damage to our vehicle and shingles, water in my basement, and ice-storm damage that involved the removal of two huge trees, parts of two more trees, and 10 stitches in my head. In the grand scope of it all, however, I have been quite lucky. My home has never been completely or even partially destroyed as many in our area have experienced this spring. Read the rest of this entry »

June 20th- World Refugee Day

June 20, 2014

Today, along with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), LSS Center for New Americans honors World Refugee Day, a day to become informed of the plight of millions of refugees, asylum seekers, and internally displaced persons.

Today is a call to remember and a call to act!Unhcr_logo

So what can you do?

Join us today from 2-4 pm at our new location downtown at 114 S. Main Ave to learn about our resettlement services and refugee populations served in South Dakota.

• Get involved in the work of welcoming with LSS Center for New Americans through mentoring a recently arrived refugee family or assisting in our ESL classrooms. Click here to get started.

• Host your own World Refugee Day event by screening a topical film at your home and inviting your friends and family. Here are some film suggestions from the UNHCR.

• Facilitate a discussion with your small group, place of worship, friends or family members about issues facing refugees. Contact LSS Center for New Americans for possible guest speakers. Our number is (605) 731-2000.

• Support financially the welcoming work of LSS Center for New Americans and other resettlement agencies.

• Interact and learn from experiencing the UNHCR’s online simulation Against All Odds http://www.playagainstallodds.ca/ (Note: this online simulation may not be suitable for small children.)

• Get creative! People all over the world are hosting events in honor of this day and a quick online search can provide you will many wonderful ideas!

2 Months Wasted

June 19, 2014

2 months- the average math achievement lost by students throughout the summer months. Reading loss also averages between 1 to 3 months. Students with fewer economic resources lose more of what they have gained each summer. Fortunately, hundreds of programs around the country, including LSS School Age Summer Programs, are helping kids to combat the loss and spend their summer gaining!

Summer Learning Day

June 20, 2014 is Summer Learning Day. This national annual advocacy day is to highlight the importance of high-quality summer learning programs. Summer Learning Day is a time when advocates, parents, teachers, and students come together to acknowledge the importance of curbing summer learning loss – a significant contributor to the achievement gap.
I get pretty passionate about the summer learning business. You see, I get to see the faces of the hundreds of children we serve each summer and their loving family members. I know that they want the summer to be about gaining, not losing. Students deserve to have the hard work that they put in all school year and the energy that their teachers and parents pour into their education be maximized to benefit them long-term!

Our students deserve to arrive back at school in the fall ready to learn. They deserve to not only start where they left off in May, but to be better. They deserve to bring experience, learning and excitement back to the classroom in the fall.

That is why we invest the energy, learning and passion into the LSS summer programs. Our kids deserve nothing less! The three months of summer are not wasted! In the same way the impacts of this “summer slide” are cumulative, the gains of summer are cumulative as well. What happens in the summer matters! LSS Summer Program students are better for the field trips, park visits, math games, reading times, weekly themes, swimming times, quiet moments, raucous laughter, stories told, friendships made, healthy meals, experiences had and memories made.
With that, I’m off to enjoy the smiling faces of the children at the 5 LSS Summer Program locations. I’m certain that they are making the most of the moments.
Heather DeWit, Director of LSS Childcare and Education Services
Click here for some tips for families from the National Summer Learning Assocation


LSS Disaster Response Activates in Response to Tornado Damage in Wessington Springs

June 19, 2014

LSS is onsite in Wessington Springs early this morning to provide support and leadership in immediate response to the recent tornado. LSS will be establishing a Volunteer Service Center to respond to immediate needs of those affected by the tornado and coordinate volunteer help. More information will be posted as efforts are organized.

LSS Disaster Response will coordinate volunteers, case management, and spiritual and emotional care. LSS anticipates there will be a need to assist homeowners in their efforts to rebuild. More information will be posted as efforts are organized.

Although LSS Disaster Response is on-site in Wessington Springs, efforts continue in response to flooding in many Southeastern South Dakota communities.

The LSS Affordable Housing properties in North Sioux City are within the potential flood zone. LSS is taking precautionary measures to ensure the safety of our residents. More information will be posted as available.

You can help by making a financial donation online today.

Or you can send a gift to:
Development & Foundation
LSS Disaster Response
705 East 41st Street, Suite 200
Sioux Falls, SD 57105

LSS will be coordinating efforts with the Emergency Operations Center (EOC), 211 HelpLine, SD Synod/ELCA, Lutheran Disaster Response and the South Dakota VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster).

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