A Gift to Show We Care

May 29, 2015

As part of their grand opening on Friday, May 1st, Burlington Coat Factory celebrated by giving generous gifts to several community organizations in Sioux Falls. Members from the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce, Burlington Coat Factory, and City Hall, including Mayor Mike Huether, were present to commemorate the store’s opening and spoke about what it means for Sioux Falls.

Loading the donations to LSS from Burlington Coat Factory

Loading the donations to LSS from Burlington Coat Factory

LSS received a very generous gift of merchandise from the store including a large assortment of women’s clothing and coats; men’s clothing, shoes, and coats; children’s clothing, coats and toys; and bedding. These items will go to clients throughout LSS. Kristyne Walth, the Center for New Americans volunteer coordinator, attended the event and was grateful for the donation. “With this donation we will be able to provide much for our clients. Every piece of bedding, every coat, every toy…is one less thing they must purchase upon their arrival. It is also something brand new to call their own after living with very little in the refugee camps. It is a gift to show that people in Sioux Falls care.”

29 Years of Tradition & 30,000+ Chocolate Peanut Clusters

May 27, 2015

2015 Synod Assembly candy makingMore than 1,000 homemade chocolate peanut clusters are ready for the upcoming 2015 South Dakota Synod Assembly of the ELCA at Calvary Lutheran in Rapid City this weekend. This tradition was begun 29 years ago by Fran Alberty, former LSS communication coordinator, to draw attendees to the LSS display booth at this annual assembly. The idea worked and has been an assembly staple ever since.

Synod candy KatieWhen Fran retired 17 years ago, I came on board and this was my first assigned project: gather supplies, ask for volunteers and make candy. Thanks to Fran, I was hooked on LSS and these yummy morsels ever since.

In the beginning, the only time that worked for both Fran and me was Memorial Day, so my toddler daughters came along to help our volunteers. In the beginning, it was a blessing in disguise as Katie (age 5) and Megan (age 3) kept many of our grandma volunteers entertained between batches. Their helping hands grew each year. Katie and Megan, now 22 and 20, haven’t missed a year of volunteering to make these chocolate peanut clusters. Some of those years, we made more than 2,400 morsels. Since then, we’ve streamlined the process and the three of us make the morsels together in our home.

Meg, Synod Assembly candy makingTiming of this project has dictated on or near Memorial Day, which I am thankful as we celebrate those candy makers who have since passed and honor those who continue to be friends of LSS. There are many memories of our dedicated volunteers that warm our hearts and many memories that still make us giggle. In addition to Fran, we enjoyed the helping hands of Angie, Ruth, Tina, Edith, Henrietta, Lucille, Esther, Ione, Mildred, Lela, Beatrice and Joanne. We also enjoyed the helping hands of co-workers Heidi and Jodi.

For those attending the 2015 South Dakota Synod Assembly, stop by the LSS display and enjoy our chocolate peanut clusters.

LSS Peanut Clusters

1 1/2 to 2 lbs. vanilla candy coating (almond bark)

1 – 12 oz. pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 – 12 oz. pkg. milk chocolate chips

Melt the above together in a microwave stirring occasionally while melting. Mix in 1 1/2 lbs. salted peanuts (about 4 1/2 cups). Spoon into small paper bonbon wrappers.

If you would like to make a gift in memory or honor of someone special, click here. Your donation is a blessing to the thousands of individuals and families served by LSS each year. Together, where there is need, we offer helping hands.

Barb, Katie and Megan Goldammer

Memorial Day Gratitude

May 24, 2015

I often ask my daughters questions to learn more about what they think and believe. One of my favorites is asking them which 3 words they would use to describe themselves. In the last few months, my seven year old has added a new word to her list- patriotic. Her favorite colors are now red, white and blue. It makes me smile.

In light of Memorial Day, her love of country took on new meaning for me. I thought for a moment about what it would be like if she grew up to serve our country in the military. My first thought was that I would be incredibly proud. But I quickly started to think about how scared I would feel if she were fighting for our freedom and how much it would hurt if something happened to her. My thoughts turned to the many mothers that have lost their own precious children for our country. I am so humbled by that sort of sacrifice.


To the mothers that lay awake at night, fearing the worst, and praying for the best,

Thank you.

To the fathers that hugged a son goodbye, hoping the hug would not be the last,

Thank you.

To the grandparents, filled with pride but also sadly aware of the possible cost,

Thank you.

To the little sister that doesn’t understand but has to learn too soon,

Thank you.

To the brave men and women in uniform that are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice,

Thank you.

I am always thankful but today, we remember.

With gratitude,
Heather DeWit, Director of Childcare and Education Services

Mentoring in One Photo

May 20, 2015

This is what it is all about. Michelle and Mytae have been together since 2003. And on Sunday, Mytae had just one more cheerleader in the crowd as she walked across the stage to receive her high school diploma. We are SO PROUD of both of them! We will tell you more about their story eventually, but today, we just want to leave it with this picture that is worth more than words.

Mytae and Michelle

Mytae and Michelle

Tuesdays with Frank

May 19, 2015

“It’s Tuesday. Oh, good. Frank’s coming today.” This reassuring thought occurs weekly about fifteen minutes before 10:00 every Tuesday morning. LSS Center for New Americans recently nominated Frank Boerema for the Helpline Center’s “Spirit of Volunteerism Award,” an award honoring outstanding volunteers in the Sioux Empire. Frank started volunteering in our English classes in June 2014 and has become a familiar and much-welcomed face around the place. I feel privileged to have Frank in my own classroom and appreciate his easy rapport and patient demeanor with our low level English speakers.

Kristyne (Volunteer Coordinator at LSS CNA), Frank, and me, Kadie, at the Helpline's luncheon

Kristyne (Volunteer Coordinator at LSS CNA), Frank, and me, Kadie, at the Helpline’s luncheon

I asked Frank a couple questions the other day about his experience volunteering at the Center for New Americans. His responses were just too good not to share with everyone.

Why did you choose to start volunteering at LSS Center for New Americans?
I didn’t really know anything about LSS Center for New Americans until I was invited to the Taste of Cultures event last year. There was a brochure at the table of different ways to volunteer at the Center and then to my surprise, I find out it is right across the street from where I live. I was invited to take a tour and immediately I knew I wanted to become involved.

What do you enjoy most? What have you learned through your time with our clients?
What a great joy it is to help in the classrooms and get to know the students, to be so warmly greeted by them and their big smiles every time I come. I have learned a great respect for the students, their determination to learn and their desire to live here in America. I have learned a great respect for the teachers, their efforts to bring understanding and all the time and skill they bring into the classroom.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about volunteering in our English classes?
When people ask me about volunteering at the Center, I tell them their life will change as well as their perspective of people from other cultures. The students probably teach us as much as we teach them. It is always hard to leave when my scheduled time is over. I tell them that this is a powerful experience and that they are needed by the teachers as well as the students.

Interested in learning how to get involved as a volunteer in our English classes like Frank? Email Kristyne Walth at kristyne.walth@lsssd.org or call 605-731-2009.

Calling All Online Shoppers: Support LSS While Shopping on AmazonSmile

May 13, 2015

That’s right. You can make purchases for all your favorite items and support the mission of LSS at the same time.

AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support LSS every time you shop, at no extra cost to you. When you purchase items at smile.amazon.com/ch/46-0224731 you’ll find the same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to LSS.

It is a great way to support the mission of LSS while treating yourself to the latest top selling novel or that new movie release. With each purchase you make through AmazonSmile, Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases to LSS. Simply log onto smile.amazon.com/ch/46-0224731 and use your Amazon login credentials (if you don’t have an Amazon account you can create one from the same link).

Once you have logged in, shop the online store as normal and make purchases in the same way. Just be sure that your supporting organization is listed the top see picture below.

Blog amazonsmile

Once you have made your purchase, LSS will receive a donation from Amazon for all eligible purchases.

Thank you for your continued support of LSS and our mission. Your support helped touch the lives of 56,212 South Dakotans last year. Your continued support can extend that reach in 2015.

donate button


Jamie Lennon, LSS Development & Foundation

Harrisburg School District staff member goes the extra mile for a student

May 11, 2015

For over 30 mentors in the LSS program, they do not need to look far to find a student in need of extra support. They work for one of our 11 partner school districts, and can see the needs daily. One of those mentors is Maria McKnight.

Maria has been matched with Alexa for two years. Maria is the Administrative Assistant and Harrisburg South Middle School, and Alexa is in 7th grade there. They meet for lunch once a week, and both have really enjoyed their time together.

“I like having someone to talk to and hang out with at school,” said Alexa. “I am not very social so having a mentor is like having an extra friend.”
Read the rest of this entry »

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