As the Volunteer Coordinator at the Center for New Americans, I can tell you that no two days are the same for me. And I LOVE it! At times I wear many different hats. My first hat is helping to recruit and coordinate volunteers at the Center for New Americans. Many of our volunteers assist our instructors with our adult learners in the ESL and Citizenship classrooms. Other volunteers spend their time as mentors, working closely with a newly arrived family and helping them adjust to living in Sioux Falls. I really enjoy this part of my position because it allows me to meet so many wonderful people. Our awesome volunteers all share the same passion–helping refugees become self-sufficient! I also get to see the successes of our clients, like seeing their language skills grow as they attend classes or when they call to tell me about their new job! And I get to see them experience some of their “firsts” here in America, like their first American potluck last weekend where they tried Jell-O and played Jenga for the first time! Hopefully you share this passion also and want to get involved! You can go to http://www.lsssd.org/family_services/refugee/volunteer.html and become a volunteer!!
Another hat I wear is education. I am lucky enough that I get to go out to the community and teach others about the mission of LSS and the Center for New Americans. I have been able to visit schools, churches and community groups interested in learning about the new faces in our city! My last main hat is managing the Center for New Americans’ Facebook page. I enjoy finding interesting new articles and pictures from around the world to share with everyone. Every now and then, I guest blog here too!
Before I came to LSS I did a variety of things. I graduated from Augustana College in 2011 where I studied Sociology and Psychology. It was during this time that I got involved with the kids robotics program, FIRST LEGO League! The program is aimed at making S.T.E.M. subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math) fun and exciting for kids ages 9-14. In LEGO League, I have enjoyed helping as South Dakota’s State Volunteer Coordinator for the last 4 years, which helped me discover the joy of coordinating volunteers, which eventually led me to LSS! I also spent time with the Brandon Valley Marching Band coaching the Color guard (you know…the pretty flags and stuff!)
When I’m not at the Center for New Americans supporting volunteers and the work of resettlement, I enjoy quiet evenings at home watching TV or movies, reading books and cross-stitching. Last year, we adopted a Lhasa Apso named Walker from the Humane Society, and we’ve been enjoying spoiling him in his forever home.
If you are interested in learning more about refugees or getting involved at the Center for New Americans give me a call at (605) 731-2000!! I’d love to help you!