This week, the LSS Touching Lives team of bloggers will focus on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Be sure to check the blog throughout the week to learn more about Dr. King and how we value and apply his work, words and action into our work at LSS.
“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I was sure that my cup of blessings was overflowing and couldn’t dream of more but recently I was given another enormous dose of blessings in the form of a new LSS program. Here4Youth, a local organization offering individualized care for youth with special needs and their siblings, recently became a program of LSS Childcare & Education Services.
I am so thankful that the talented and dedicated board that served Here4Youth for so long decided that LSS would be able to offer stable leadership and a dedication to high quality service delivery to carry Here4Youth into a great future.
For the youth and families that depend on the After-School and Summer Program at Here4Youth this change brings confidence that a high quality program will continue to meet their needs. Nothing less than painstaking excellence is an option when educating and caring for youth. This is our goal.
For me, this means the many blessings associated with each of the incredible youth that attend the LSS Here4Youth location. In addition to the hundreds of children I know and love at the other 5 LSS Childcare and Education Services locations, I now know and love the youth, ages 3 to 21 at Here4Youth. As I laughed with a little boy about the way the fish chase one another in the new aquarium, my eyes welled up with joy. I cannot believe that I am paid for this incredible blessing. As I get my fourth hug from a young lady that is always glad to see me, my eyes well up again. I hope she understands that I am just as happy that I get to come to Here4Youth. As I watch a staff person patiently help a young man turn on the I-pad to begin a game, I realize that like the moments in the other five other locations, these will someday feel routine. This is what we do. I am glad for another reminder of how special that gift is.
Here are some things that I want you to know about Here4Youth:
It is a place about what kids can do, not what they can’t.
It is for youth of all abilities ages 3 to 21. We have a primary focus on working with youth who need more attention and specialized help with health, behavioral, developmental, and cognitive needs. Therefore, we staff at a 1 to 4 ratio; this allows the staff to give the youth the attention and care that they may need.
There aren’t other programs like it in South Dakota so the need for this program is great. Support from generous donors, grants and the Sioux Empire United Way make it possible.
The staff at Here4Youth is dedicated and caring. They are incredible people. They fit right in with the LSS team!
At Here4Youth we offer programs before and after school, when there is no school for breaks and throughout the summer. We also offer respite care on a Friday or Saturday evening couple of times per month. The youth have fun and their parents get a little break.
I have learned so much already! I have studied autism (I will always keep trying to learn more), I know who to call when the wheelchair access button stops working and I have shopped for the best enabling switch-activated toys and I-pad apps. For each thing I learn, I discover many more I will need to learn. This new adventure is everything I could ask for and more.
Heather DeWit, Director of Childcare and Education Services
Parents interested in LSS Childcare & Education Services at Here4Youth can visit www.LssSD.org or call 605-271-6327.
PS- Take a peek at the video below to see the new Sensory Room at Here4Youth.