Better Than Billy at Back to School

August 31, 2015

This week all of our blog posts will be following a ‘Back to School’ theme from the perspective of each of our departments.  Check back each day for something new.  For today, it’s the Center for Financial Resources….

“Back to school. Back to school, to prove to Dad that I’m not a fool. I got my lunch packed up, my boots tied tight, I hope I don’t get in a fight. Oh! Back to school… back to school… back to school. Well, here goes nothing.” – Billy Madison Read the rest of this entry »

Pregnancy Counseling… Where Does One Start?

August 28, 2015

You take the test, and when you see the result is positive, panic sets in – you are pregnant, and you don’t know where to turn, what to do, or who to call. You can turn to Lutheran Social Services to get confidential pregnancy counseling, no matter where you live in South Dakota. LSS is there for you, to help you make a plan – whether it is to parent your child or make an adoption plan. And the best part is this counseling is completely FREE. Read the rest of this entry »

The Back to School Blues Strike Again

August 27, 2015

Today my sister posted pictures of my beautiful 5-year-old niece grinning ear to ear on her first day of kindergarten. Oh my! The memories just came flooding back. This year I will drop off my 5th grade daughter for her very last “first day” of elementary school. Time rushes by so quickly. I wrote the words below when she went to kindergarten. If you also had a tough time on the first day of school please read on. You are not alone if the first day was a little emotional.

hands Read the rest of this entry »

From “No English” to “No interpreter”: Emma’s story

August 26, 2015

Emma started English classes before at the LSS Center for New Americans, but eventually stopped attending because she was tired from work.  “I was in Class 2 and 3, then…when I started my job in 1999, I don’t need English.”  Originally from Honduras, Emma first lived in California before coming to Sioux Falls for work.  “I come here…very, very nice…for job…for quiet.  I like my job.”

Emma eventually returned to English class and has now graduated to Level 4, but measures her English ability in a different way. “Now, I’m not nervous.  I go to the doctor…I go to the dentist…I don’t need interpreter.  I’m very, very happy.“ 

And that is the goal for most students attending English language classes.  In our most recent survey conducted this past spring, our students almost unanimously said that their goal in studying English was to be able to communicate with anyone in the community without the need of an interpreter.  On average more than 400 students attend our classes each month and more than 1,000 per year.  On our busiest day, 49 classes are offered!  The students attending classes from around the world–from more than 46 different countries.   Though their backgrounds are diverse, these students all share the same goal:  Fluency.

Emma, whose daily schedule goes like this: “I work 9 hours everyday.  I take a shower.  I eat.  I rest…maybe half an hour and I come here” would like to see more English classes offered in the evenings at the Center for New Americans. “I think we need 4 days of English,” she said before quickly slipping back into her classroom to join her classmates, classmates who have also worked full days at their own jobs and who come to class every Tuesday and Thursday evening to learn the language of the place they now all call “home.”

Volunteers are always welcome in our classes to provide support for our students as they learn English.  If you are interested in volunteering, please call 605-731-2000 or visit our website  to sign up!

Emma and her current teacher, Deanna

Emma and her current teacher, Deanna

Originally written by Kadie Becker, information updated by Kristyne Walth, Volunteer Coordinator Center for New Americans

#StartWithHeart – And Better Together

August 24, 2015

We hope that most everyone in the Sioux Falls area has heard all of the buzz about the 2016 Sioux Empire United Way campaign, #StartWithHeart! LSS is just one of the many partner agencies that benefits annually from the generous community support the United Way provides. Funding from the United Way impacts Mentoring, Center for Financial Resources, Childcare and Counseling Services at LSS. Read the rest of this entry »

Dear Fellow Parent,

August 21, 2015

I am a member of a Facebook group of local parents and often find myself enjoying the conversations that this group of creative and passionate women engage in. Recently, a mom brought a question to the group that I thought was a great topic. She isn’t able to send her child to preschool this year but wondered how to prepare her child for kindergarten while still taking care of all of the things that need her attention each day, including a younger child. I began to ponder how she could take some of the fun things we do in preschool and bring them home for her child. I came up with a few ideas that we can all bring into our homes because even kids that are in school can have fun learning with our families!

Dear Fellow Mom,

Please do your child and yourself a favor and keep the fun in learning. Use the things you know your child loves to do and connect them with what your child needs to know. I’ll give you some ideas to get you started but be creative! You are a great mom. You can do this!

Kids love time with a parent, so use that time for one thing that impacts your child’s learning the most-READING! Read to your child whenever you can fit it in. If you walk into our preschool classrooms, you will see books everywhere! There are teachers reading to the group, kids in the reading corner curled up with a favorite story and teachers reading one on one with kids. At home, there are many ways to help your child become a reader. Please read our previous post on that topic: Help Your Child Love to Read.

Don’t worry about worksheets or special books. To help your child learn math, count with her when you already have to count. When you are washing potatoes for supper, have her count them with you as you wash them. Better yet, grab a step stool, fill the sink and let her wash and count while you do other things. Kids can learn about math as you go about the day. When you are putting away groceries say things like, “I have two boxes of mac and cheese in the cupboard but I’m putting these two new ones in. How many do we have now?” Then let her count the boxes. Ask her to help you measure as you cook and then give her the measuring cups to play with and practice her skills in the sink or in a bucket of rice. Let her draw shapes and eventually numbers and letters in a light layer of flour or rice on a cookie sheet. Play board games! This is a lot more fun than “drilling” her to learn to write and will probably occupy her time for hours.

Playdough builds fine motor skills and kids will naturally start to make shapes and even letters when you make it fun for them. Sometimes parents want to sit a child down and force them to do worksheets. For most kids, this isn’t developmentally appropriate or motivating. Help your child love learning and the rest will come. I have watched it happen hundreds of times!
Use motivators that you have at home. If she loves to play outside, have her practice tying her shoes before you head out. Count together as you push the swing. Have her practice skipping as she plays. Encourage and smile. Kids love to make their parents happy.

Let your child play kitchen, store or restaurant. You can use items you have at home and make play money out of plain paper. Let your child use cans from your cupboard. You don’t need anything fancy! Your child can practice writing letters and drawing shapes by making their own recipes, shopping lists and receipts. They can write you notes or letters and if you write back you can help her read it. It isn’t important that what your child writes at first is legible or even using real letters. That comes with time and exposure to print. If you show your child your shopping list and how you write it, she may even want to make her own list to mark off at the store. Let her illustrate her own stories and help her write the book to go with it to show to other people.

Science is an easy at home topic too! Talk about the weather, talk about the world around you, talk about what animals need and how we grow. Your child will learn a lot in kindergarten but you can get her excited now. Our preschool classrooms have plants and our field trips are to places like the pumpkin patch, library, and even local businesses to help kids understand our world.

Another staple in the preschool day is music. There are songs that include the days of the week, the sounds letters make and other educational topics as well as some that are just plain fun! Many are tunes you already know (Row, Row, Row Your Boat) with different words so you easily learn them and teach your child. If you do a simple web search, you will find songs on hundreds of topics. Pick a couple of favorites.

As kids get older, their skills grow and we can do different things with them. For example, where my daughter used to play with measuring cups and help me as I baked, she can now bake from a recipe and even double or triple a recipe on her own.

I know you are busy, so I’ll stop with the ideas for now. But, incase you get stumped, I’ll try to keep some new ideas flowing on our Pinterest account. You can email me at and I can add some ideas from our amazing preschool teachers. They love what they do and they are the best in the world! They are not good just because they are well educated and experienced. They are amazing because they love the kids and care deeply. Relax. You’ve got this! You love your child and that is what matters most. Learning should be fun!
Good Luck!
Heather DeWit, Director of Childcare and Education Services

Doing Good on the Green: LSS Golf Tournament 2015 – Thank You!

August 19, 2015

Reliabank Color no backgroundfdicOur 5th Annual LSS Golf Tournament held Monday, August 3, 2015 at Cattail Crossing Golf Course in Watertown, was a success with 88 golfers participating. Hosting this event required help from so many, and we are grateful to them all. We want to extend a special thank you and recognition of commitment to Dale McElhany, Levi Pearson, David Johnson and all the staff at Reliabank. Their vision and commitment to serving the people in Watertown and area communities as well as LSS is commendable. We especially thank the sponsors below for their generous contributions.

Funds raised at the golf tournament go toward client services in the Watertown area—strengthening individuals and families. Funds raised will help those who long to have a child through the adoption process, mental health counseling and financial counseling and education.

Thank you to our corporate sponsors.Hole Sponsors

Dennis & Shirley Larson
Codington County Chapter of Thrivent Financial
First Bank & Trust
Aason Engineering
Diamond Realty
Elite Exterior
Sharp Automotive
Citi-Wide Property Management
Great Western Bank
KWAT Radio
KXLG Radio

Team Sponsors

Black Line Investment
Dennis Larson
DeSmet Flashes
Diamond Realty
First Premier Bank
Great Western Bank
Hometown Building Center
KWAT Radio
KXLG Radio
Larry’s Lumber
Liberty Drywall
Malchow’s Home Furnishings
McKeever’s Vending
Sharp Automotive
The Country Club of Sioux Falls
Clark County Chapter of Thrivent Financial
Wells Fargo Bank

Award Sponsors

KWAT Radio
Bramble Park Zoo
Dagwood Subs
Dakota Sioux Casino & Hotel
Dorale Foot & Fashion
Expressions Gallery/Knit Nook
Five Loaves
Gas & Goodies
Hedahls, Inc.
Herberger’s Department Store
JC Penney’s Department Store
Kampeska Lodge
LATI Foundation
Lone Pine Bar & Grill
Mahowald’s Hardware
Mainstream Boutique
Mr. T’s Sports Bar
Montgomery’s Furniture
Oscar Nails Spa
Past Times
Pizza Ranch

Liesl Hovel, Northeast Regional Director
LSS Development & Foundation

%d bloggers like this: