How To NOT Pay For Your Neighbor’s New Hip

February 25, 2015

Have you heard about the crisis in Tennessee recently?  Things have been nearly shut down all over the place down there due to the unexpected.  Because it is such a rare occurrence, they simply don’t know what to do with it or how to go about daily business when it happens.  Are you ready?  They got a little ice and then a whole inch of snow on top of it.

Yes, most of us from South Dakota will just laugh at the absurdity of shutting down over an inch of snow and ice.  If we did that, we would have most of the winter as a vacation.  In all fairness, we need to give those from the South a little bit of a break.  They just don’t see that kind of weather very often.  As such, they don’t have enough experience to really know how to deal with it. Read the rest of this entry »

“Mentors make kids happy.” Meet Janet & Daytona

February 23, 2015

When recruiting new mentors, some common questions we get asked are what do mentors do, how does the program work, etc. We often respond with the solid research that proves mentoring works, the outcomes LSS Mentoring Services reaches each year, the number of people who are mentoring and the number of kids waiting for their mentor.

In its simplest form, mentors “make kids happy,” according to Daytona, a 5th grader at Eugene Field Elementary. Daytona has been matched with her mentor Janet for the past five years. The two met when Daytona was a first grader, and the talkative girl was a bit quieter. At first, she thought that someone was paying Janet to come visit her. After Janet explained that she managed Breadsmith and mentoring had nothing to do with her job, the two developed a great bond.

“Mentoring lets you develop the best relationship you could ever have,” said Janet. “I know that mentoring is a service for kids, but it has been great for me. It reminds me of what is important. That people are important.”

Daytona likes talking to Janet. They talk about their pets. They also play board games and cards. Anything that makes Daytona laugh is Janet’s favorite thing to do each week.

For Daytona, the best thing about having a mentor is “knowing that someone always has your back and can help you.” And for Janet, the best part about mentoring is, “knowing you can make a difference. And it is just fun to be in a school each week!”

Becoming A Trump

February 20, 2015

This week I watched the season finale of The Celebrity Apprentice (to be more correct, my wife was watching it and I happened to be around). In case you missed it, a large portion of the show was Donald Trump himself seated at the middle of a large boardroom table. On either side of The Donald were Donald Jr. and Ivanka, his kids. The Donald’s younger son Eric was in the crowd as well.

It was like watching a little Trump family reunion. You knew exactly who was a Trump. Not only do they all look alike, but they all looked like a million bucks. Probably rightfully so since each is worth well more than that. Having a professional athlete and model for a mother probably doesn’t hurt either. Read the rest of this entry »

Know a Good Mentor?

February 19, 2015

LSS Mentoring Services seeks nominations for the 2015 Citibank Outstanding Mentor, the Outstanding Rookiephoto Mentor and First PREMIER Bank/PREMIER Bankcard Community Partner awards. The awards, to be presented at the Annual Mentor Appreciation Breakfast on April 16, provide a platform to honor the contributions of individuals and organizations that have shown outstanding commitment to the mentor program.

Outstanding mentors are individuals who have proven their dedication to their student and the program. Rookie mentor nominees are people who have made a big impact in their first year of mentoring. Community partners nominations can include businesses, organizations, civic groups, schools or churches that have encouraged and advocated mentoring. If a community partner has received the award in the previous three years, they are not eligible this year. Organizations not eligible are Wells Fargo (2014), Raven (2013) and Cimarron Label (2012).

Nominations are encouraged and may be submitted by the community at large. Self-nominations are accepted. Click here for the nomination form. All nominations are due by Friday, February 27. Materials may be sent via email to, via fax to 221-2404 or mailed to LSS Mentoring Services, 621 E Presentation Street, Sioux Falls, SD 57104.

For additional information on the nomination process, or to become a mentor, please call LSS Mentoring Services at 221-2403 or email

What Do 40 Days Mean to LSS?

February 18, 2015

LSS.tagToday is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. The 40 days of the Lenten season are a time of preparation and prayer, repentance and forgiveness, almsgiving and self-denial. It is a time of reflection as we ponder the great mystery of God’s everlasting love for us and God’s willingness to send his son, Jesus Christ, to suffer and die for us so that we might have everlasting life.

The number 40 is frequently found in the Bible, Old Testament as well as New. Moses spent 40 days on Mount Sinai with God. Noah spent forty days and nights on the Ark during the great flood. The people of Israel wandered in the desert for 40 years before coming to the promised land. Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness before beginning his public ministry. Jesus lay in the tomb for 40 hours before rising from the dead.

What do 40 days mean to LSS? This past year LSS touched more than 56,000 lives. That is 153 lives a day or 6,137 lives in 40 days.

Who were these lives that we touched? Genesis 16:13 says “God sees me and cares for me.” Through Christ’s eyes, this is whom we have seen and for whom we have cared. It could have been a senior citizen who lost their home and possessions in the tornado at Wessington Springs or the flood in Canton. It could have been a young couple adopting their first child. It may have been a widower coming for counseling after losing a spouse, or someone needing help in overcoming a financial crisis. It could have been almost anyone in South Dakota for almost any reason.

The season of Lent is a time that we, at LSS, reflect upon the lives of those we touch and the tradition of almsgiving to aid in those we serve. The tradition of almsgiving is an ancient one, but one that is reflected in our modern day tradition of benefit lunches and dinners which go to support the many services of LSS.

Almsgiving is a tradition of giving money, food and clothing to the poor, the sick or the distressed. The LSS benefit events raise money to support the many services provided by LSS to our clients throughout South Dakota. Fifty-five percent of the clients LSS serves report incomes less than $20,000. Without the support of our benefits, we could not provide the services so desperately needed nor touch 56,000 lives a year. Please join us at one of our upcoming benefit events.

West River Benefit Dinner, Rapid City, Sunday, March 15, 2015

Brookings Area Benefit Dinner, Saturday, March 28, 2015

Southeast Benefit Lunch, Sioux Falls, Sunday, April 12, 2015

Northeast Benefit Dinner, Aberdeen, Saturday, April 18, 2015

We wish you the blessings of the promises of Lent. And, we ask that you continue to bless us and our social ministry at LSS through your support of our benefit events.

Bill Peterson, LSS Vice President, Development & Foundation

Xcel Energy Grant Funds Unique Class

February 17, 2015

“I can farm.”  It is the skill I most often hear mentioned in my Job Interview classes.  The majority of these learners come from agricultural backgrounds and thanks to a $7000 grant from Xcel Energy to the Center for New Americans; these learners have been given the opportunity to attend a unique pre-employment class that draws on their background knowledge and farming experience.  Xcel Energy’s grant is part of the company’s corporate giving Economic Sustainability focus area, promoting workforce development, workforce readiness, specific job skills training, job placement and job creation.

(From left to right) Laura Smith-Hill (Education Coordinator at CNA), Carol Hudson (ESL Instructor at CNA), Hari Chhetri (student in English for Gardening Class),  Tim Jurgens (Director of CNA), Pabi Biswa (student in English for Gardening Class) and

(From left to right) Laura Smith-Hill (Education Coordinator at CNA), Carol Hudson (ESL Instructor at CNA), Hari Chhetri (student in English for Gardening Class), Tim Jurgens (Director of CNA), Pabi Biswa (student in English for Gardening Class) and Eric Pauli (Xcel Energy Representative)

Xcel Energy’s grant recently funded “English for Gardening Class,” a pre-employment class that helped refugees learn English skills needed for entry-level jobs in local greenhouses or garden centers

I had the chance to interview some of the learners that attended the class Learners practiced English vocabulary for “annual,” “perennial,” “herb,” “root,” “shelf,” “planter,” and other relevant words for this industry along with gaining hands-on experience.  “It was all very practical,” said one learner through the use of a translator.  “They taught us how to fertilize and water…how to pull up plants properly.”

“Why did you like the class?” I asked.  Many learners cited their previous work experience as farmers in their countries.  One women shared, “In Bhutan, I had a kitchen garden…the same interest was here.”  All agreed the class was helpful and interesting and were looking forward to applying for jobs in local greenhouses or garden centers in and around Sioux Falls.

The Center for New Americans would like to thank Xcel Energy on behalf of our clients for their financial support and partnership in the work of welcoming!

Presidential Predictions- 2055

February 16, 2015

I am almost sure that I’ve met the President of the United States…the future President of the United States that is. I am almost positive that I’ve wiped the Presidential nose. I have hugged a brain surgeon, read to a teacher, given Cheerios to the person that will cure cancer and cheered on a Grammy winning artist. Speaking of artists, I’m very certain that I’ve calmed the tantrum of a future Oscar nominee.

question kid

On a day set aside to celebrate presidential history, I am thankful to be part of “team future.” Our country is one of rich history but I cannot wait to see what the future holds. I’m lucky enough to get a sneak peek. These kids are amazing!

Enjoying the Fun,

Heather DeWit, Director of Childcare and Education Services

Do you want to join the team? Click to learn more: 

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