Spiritual AND Financial New Beginnings

March 31, 2015

As we journey through Holy Week and Easter, the LSS blog topics are following a theme of “New Beginnings”. Each day, a different department will post a relevant topic that follows the theme of the week. Check back each day for a new post. Today’s post comes from the Center for Financial Resources.

Ahhh, Holy Week. For those following the tradition in the church year, it is the culmination of 6 weeks of reflection, repentance, sacrifice, and various other not-so-joyous activities. It started with Ash Wednesday when people went to church to have someone rub ashes on their forehead (a sign of mourning) and comes to a cataclysmic ending on Good Friday when we remember Christ’s death on the cross. Really? You call that ‘good’?cross_sunset_sunrise

It is good. It was on that Friday that Christ died to forgive our sins so that we can have eternal life in heaven regardless of our own merit or worthiness. How’s that for good? Easter is a huge celebration as it celebrates the new life, the new beginning that we have in Christ’s death and resurrection. Given our theme for this week, how do I connect that to financial wellness? Well, here we go…. Read the rest of this entry »

Great People: Outstanding Rookie Mentors 2015

March 26, 2015

Starting something new can often be difficult. And while mentoring is not necessarily difficult to do, the first year of involvement can stretch a volunteer’s commitment. There might be long silences, awkward moments and just unfamiliarity with each other. Every mentor has gone through it. I (and many other mentors) can tell you one of the BEST moments in mentoring is reconnecting at school after the first summer break. A lot of the anxiety goes away and things become routing. You just need to get there though!

But, back to the title of the post – great people. Each year LSS asks school counselors to take a few minutes to write up stories about especially compelling moments they have seen between students and mentors. And there were three first year mentors this year who did not disappoint. We are happy to share these stories with you as short snippets and examples of what mentors all across the community are doing. Hope you enjoy! Read the rest of this entry »

“Welcome Home” New Americans Visit SD Capital

March 25, 2015

On Thursday, March 5th before the sun rose, 53 adult refugee and immigrant learners from the Center for New Americans got on a bus to take them to visit South Dakota’s capital.  For many years LSS has organized educational trips to the capital.

After their three-hour drive west and north to Pierre, the students’ first stop was the Soldiers and Sailors World War Memorial near the Capitol Building.

IMG_1899 Read the rest of this entry »

Mrs. South Dakota to present bullying prevention workshop

March 20, 2015

Almost everyone knows what bullying means and what it entails. We might know a victim, have heard a story imagesabout its impact. There are so many different kinds of bullying that can happen to anyone at any age. In 2014, StopBullying.gov did a study that showed about 30% of students in the U.S. between 6th and 12th grade have experienced some kind of bullying. But what can we do to prevent it?

Mrs. South Dakota 2015, Shirlene Hagler has made it her platform to spread awareness of bullying related issues. Anyone interested in preventing bullying is welcome to attend this presentation. She will discuss bullying prevention. Having awareness of this issue and being proactive to stop bullying when someone you know might experience it are key prevention tactics.

Please join us on Thursday, March 26, 11:30-12:30 at the LSS Center for Children & Youth, 621 E Presentation Street in Sioux Falls.
RSVP by using the form below:

Financial Fitness Is No Mickey Mouse Subject

March 19, 2015

My family and I just got back from a trip to that magical mecca of all things entertainment and marketing – Disney World. I have to say, it was a great trip and Disney really does a great job of making sure everything is taken care of for you. Not only are the bathrooms clean (a big deal in our family), but we didn’t even have to wait at the airport for our bags. They just magically showed up in our room. The kids had fun. I ate a lot. It was all good. Although I do have to admit that there was one point where my mood nearly broke, changing me to a raging, lecturing know-it-all. Read the rest of this entry »

There are New Beginnings Everyday at LSS

March 18, 2015

We all love springtime. It is said that hope blooms eternal in the spring, probably because we see the earth come to life again after a long winter slumber. It is a time of renewal, rebirth, rejuvenation and new beginnings. The earth warms up with days of increasing temperatures. We put away our heavy winter clothing and we bring out our spring colors of yellow, pink and lavender.

We begin to think of planting our flower and vegetable gardens. We start walking outside instead of on the treadmill. We vow to lose those 5 to 10 pounds we put on over a winter of inactivity. We start putting out lawn furniture and begin planning that long overdue spring cleaning. Farmers and ranchers welcome new life during calving and lambing season. Farmers ready their tractors and equipment for spring planting.

We are fortunate to see new beginnings everyday at LSS, not just in the spring. We see it when a couple finds the courage to walk in our front doors asking for financial help. We see it when a family seeks counseling to get them through a difficult time. The first step marks a beginning of hope for a new way of life.

LSS sees and plays a part in thousands of positive outcomes and new beginnings each year. A couple who prayed for a child to call their own was able to adopt. A refugee family seeking safety for many years found a place they can call home. A young adult struggling through life with no family support graduated from high school and now looks forward to attending college. Last year, LSS touched more than 56,000 lives right here in South Dakota, helping those seeking rejuvenation and new beginnings in their lives.

As we approach Easter Sunday, we reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the resurrection and the rebirth that comes to all who believe in Him and commit themselves to Him.

May you and your family find renewal, rejuvenation and new beginnings this spring season. For information on all LSS services, read more on our website LssSD.org.

Bill Peterson, Vice President, LSS Development & Foundation

Students and Staff Serve Together

March 17, 2015

It is 5:30.  I was supposed to be there at 5:15.  I’m running late…I’m always running late.  I pull into the parking lot on East 8th Street thinking “Oh, no!  I forgot to remind the class last week about serving at the Banquet!”   But as I peek into the brightly-lit dining hall, quickly shucking my coat and filling out a name tag, there they are, all smiles and on time, unlike their citizenship instructor.

Blerim, Abrahim, Jose, Elizabeth, and Elida—all English and Citizenship students at the Center  for New Americans—along with staff from the Center for New Americans, served the evening meal at the Banquet on February 27th alongside Augustana College students enrolled in a capstone course about issues surrounding poverty taught by Professor Reynold Nesiba.   The meal had been prepared earlier that afternoon by several English students and LSS staff.  Partnering to serve with another group was a valuable experience for me and the students.  “I liked helping with other people…I liked serving with them.” Jose shared.


While serving in the food line, washing tables, and filling the endless requests for more coffee, water, and milk, clients, students and staff alike all learned more about people who are hungry in Sioux Falls.  I saw looks of surprise on my students’ faces as the line for a hot supper continued to remain constant an hour into our time there.

The Banquet staff encourages all volunteers to sit down and eat with guests during some point in the evening, providing an opportunity to experience some common ground and solidarity and give the large and complex issue of hunger a face and a personal story.  When the doors closed, we had served a total of 273 guests (22 of whom were children) and 18 gallons of milk.   After being one of the volunteers who was in charge of refilling the milk, coffee, and water pitchers, Jose shared “It’s a good place [The Banquet]…a good place for people to get food who don’t have it.”

Serving at the Banquet is always rewarding, but also challenging.  One leaves with a full belly and tired feet, but also a helping of sadness, desire for change, and a sense of urgency.

~Written by Kadie Becker, ESL Instructor at the Center for New Americans

Meet the Bloggers: Kadie

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