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
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.”
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,
To the fathers that hugged a son goodbye, hoping the hug would not be the last,
To the grandparents, filled with pride but also sadly aware of the possible cost,
To the little sister that doesn’t understand but has to learn too soon,
To the brave men and women in uniform that are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice,
I am always thankful but today, we remember.
Heather DeWit, Director of Childcare and Education Services
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
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
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 email@example.com or call 605-731-2009.
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.”
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