Mixing It Up with the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce… A Good Time was had by All

September 30, 2015

The Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce September Membership Mixer was co-hosted by LSS and Kilian Community College. More than 250 Chamber members enjoyed a beautiful fall afternoon filled with food, drink and the music of the Hegg Brothers.

LSS & Kilian Community College present at Sioux Falls Chamber Mixer.More importantly, they heard an important message from Betty Oldenkamp, President/CEO of LSS, and Mark Millage, President of Kilian Community College, about a new strategic alliance between the two organizations to provide expanded workforce development in the Sioux Falls community.

Workforce development is a significant issue for the Sioux Falls business community as many businesses struggle to find qualified people to fill open positions. At the same time, many people struggle to find a job because they lack the skills necessary for employment. Working together, LSS and Kilian Community College can help meet the needs of both.

Kilian Community College was founded in the 1970s for adult or non-traditional learners who needed additional skills and education for employment. They have a strong record of success in helping these individuals. LSS also helps prepare people for employment through programs such as the Center for New Americans, in-school mentoring and USucceed.

Kilian Community College approached LSS last summer about partnering in various programs to use the skills and strengths of both organizations to better meet the challenges of workforce development in our community. Those discussions led to the message delivered by Betty and Mark at the Chamber Mixer.

There will be more exciting news about this strategic alliance in the weeks and months ahead…stay tuned!

Bill Peterson, Vice President, LSS Development & Foundation

Think Before You Post

September 25, 2015

Today is the final installment of our Internet Safety Week of blogging at LSS. Today, Mentoring Services is encouraging everyone to think before they post!

It all seems very innocent. A volunteer mentor wants to tell their friends about the great things they are doing and how cute their little student is. So they do it the 21st Century way by taking a quick picture with their phone and upload it to Facebook. And then who knows who might see that picture.

Don’t get me wrong, we love to use Facebook in mentoring! We love when mentors talk about their great experiences with the program. We just keep the safety of the children top of mind and don’t love when their images are used without permission.

Why? Unfortunately, predators are everywhere, even Facebook. Photos could also cause conflict for the child or their family if the wrong person sees them. And the last reason – it’s a potential invasion of the child’s privacy. Sure they might like this when they are 10, but if someone finds that picture three years later, what might that kid think?

So, next time you are tempted to take a photo of a child and post to the internet, take a moment to think about the potential consequences. And if you want to gush about your great student, just talk about how much fun you are having when you mentor each week or have them draw a picture for you and take a photo of that to post!

Next week, blog posts will be back to normal! Hope you enjoyed our views related to internet safety this week. Have a great weekend!

Post by Michelle Madsen, Mentoring Services Director

4 Tips for Keeping Kids Safe Online

September 24, 2015
Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I am part of a unique generation. We are tasked with parenting the first generation that doesn’t know life before the World Wide Web but we remember existence before Google and Facebook. I managed to survive most of my childhood without daily access to the internet. However, most in my generation are now actively using technology as a part of our daily lives. We began with the green screen of Oregon Trail and now some of us voice text our kids using a smart watch.

I find myself feeling pretty confident that I’ll be able to keep up with my daughters in the technology department but realize that attitude could lead me right into an app-disaster. With that in mind, I’ve decided to come up with a short list of reminders for myself and the rest of us in the generation that remembers floppy disks that were actually floppy.

  1. Baby Steps and Quality Time:
    Safety online isn’t really that different from safety in the rest of the world. Just like we wouldn’t allow our 2-year-old to cross the street, we also don’t wait until our child’s 12th birthday and send them off into traffic to practice street crossing on their own. We give our kids the privileges and responsibility that they can handle gradually by teaching them and guiding them and certainly not all at once. Enjoy time together using technology. There are many apps and web pages in which you and your child may have shared interest. This provides moments to be a positive role model.
  2. Get Smart:
    Educate yourself on what your child is doing. Fortunately, we have Google at our fingertips! If you want to allow your child to play online games, be sure you understand the game and what the options are for chatting with friends and accessing content that isn’t part of the game. For example, in Minecraft kids can join games with others and chat with them. Just watching your child play for a minute or two wouldn’t necessarily tip you off to that fact. It doesn’t make it a bad game. It just changes the conversation you will want to have with your child before playing. Ask your child questions and listen to their answers. Start a conversation and stay involved.
  3. Set Expectations:
    Some of the best educational games are on the same website as games with violence so helping your child understand what the rules are for your family online is critical and frequent checks are important. As my kids get older and play at a friends’ house, we are talking more about what to do if they are away from us and run into a computer situation that doesn’t fit with our rules. This isn’t different from when we talk about what to do if something in the “real world” makes them uncomfortable away from our parenting umbrella. As they get older and do research for school, they may run across inappropriate content in a search so we talk about the best thing to do if that happens as well. We also talk about what they can share or tell in person or online as well as how we treat others.  Some parents have written contracts with these expectations. At https://thesmarttalk.org/ a parent and child can follow the steps on the page for creating a contract together with some conversation and bonding on the side. Of course, if those expectations aren’t followed, parents follow through with appropriate consequences including reduced privileges.
  4. Monitor:
    It is critical to keep an eye on what is happening. Our house rules ask our kids to use technology in the living room or dining area rather than bedrooms. We also set the expectation that any passwords for apps or devices need to be shared with a parent. As our children get older, they will likely have more freedom since they have been very trustworthy so far. For now we take a peek every so often just to be sure they are still doing ok and haven’t bumped into anything they can’t handle. Children need to understand that parents have the responsibility to keep children safe. Even though the child is trustworthy and makes good choices, others on the internet may not be appropriate, so good parenting requires supervision with the goal of keeping kids safe.

Happy clicking everyone!

Heather DeWit, Director of Childcare and Education Services

Too Good To Be True

September 22, 2015

This week all of our blog posts will be following an “Internet Safety” theme from the perspective of each of our departments.  Check back each day for something new.  For today, it’s the Center for New Americans….

“If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” That is one of the first things we teach new refugees in cultural orientation class.  Scams can fool anyone but for those new to the United States who are focusing on the basics (language, food, shelter, and work), recognizing and avoiding fraud may never even cross their minds.

Solomon Haile, a caseworker at the Center for New Americans, recounts how easy it is to fall for advertising tricks or identity theft when you’re new. Haile arrived in 2006 and was one of the first of his ethnic group to the area. On TV one afternoon, he saw a commercial for J.G. Wentworth and their classic slogan, It’s my money; I need it now! Haile, in disbelief, said to himself, “I have money out there? America is wonderful!” So Haile called the company asking for his money but soon learned his mistake. Fortunately Haile’s story ends well and he laughs now about it, but for others it doesn’t always end so well.

Solomon Haile says he made mistakes when he first came because of his lack of knowledge about advertising in America

Solomon Haile says he made mistakes when he first came because of his lack of knowledge about advertising in America

Refugees and immigrants are often targeted because of their lower English skills and their unfamiliarity with the culture. Often these scammers pose as someone from the government, like the IRS or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and ask for money or personal information.

Right now a common scam is aimed at those refugees who are paying off their travel loan. Refugees traveling to the United States are issued loans by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to pay for the costs of their transportation from overseas to U.S. resettlement sites and for various medical and screening costs. The funds to cover the transportation were provided by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau for Refugee Programs. Scammers pose as employees of IOM or the United States government and say that they will forgive the loan as long as you pay $500 right now. Unsuspecting refugees pay the money only to find out that they were victims of a scam.

We do our best to educate newly arrived refugees about these types of scams and warn them to never give out personal information over the phone. However, new scams pop up continually and unfortunately we only learn of them after they have claimed victims. We tell students that the best way to “test” to see if a call is a scam is to ask to meet the person face to face. When the caller hangs up or can’t provide a proper address, it’s a good bet that they are not who they claim to be. The Federal Trade Commission recently put out new materials to help refugees and immigrants spot, avoid, and report scams. Below are warning signs of a scam. You can also visit usa.gov/common-scams-frauds to learn more about the different types of scams and fraud out there.

Some rights reserved by Fosforix

Some rights reserved by Fosforix

Here are some warning signs of a scam

Did someone promise you a job –if you pay them?

  • Never pay anyone who promises you a job, a certificate that will get you a job, or secret access to jobs. Those are scams.

Did the IRS call saying you owe money?

  • The IRS never calls to ask for money.

Did someone else from the government call, threatening you and demanding money?

  • The government doesn’t call to threaten you or ask for money.

Looking for legal help with immigration?

  • Use a lawyer or an accredited representative, never a notario.

Did you get a call or email saying you won something? Except there’s a fee?

  • Never pay for a prize. That’s a scam. You’ll lose your money.

Did a caller offer to help you get back some money you lost?

  • No government agency or legitimate business will call and demand money to help you get money back

Did you get a check from someone who asked you to give them part of the money back?

  • Never give someone money in return for a check. Fake checks can look real and fool the bank. You’ll have to pay back all the money.

Did you get an email, text, or call asking for your credit card, bank account, or Social Security number?

  • Never give that information to anyone who asks over email, text or phone.


Finally like we teach our students, if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.


Kristyne Walth, Volunteer Coordinator, Center for New Americans

Keep It Stupid Simple

September 18, 2015

You’ve probably heard the K.I.S.S. acronym before.  I’ve heard it spelled out a few different ways over time, but the way I like to use it is Keep It Stupid Simple.  Before anyone freaks out, I’m not calling anyone stupid.  Were I going to do that, I’d probably have to start with myself depending on the day…  and I don’t want to go there.  No, it’s simpler than that. Read the rest of this entry »

Celebrating the LSS Founders Family

September 16, 2015

The greatest use of a life is to spend it for something that outlasts it.         — William James

This is a quote I have hanging in my office. It means even more to me now as I begin my new role of developing and growing the LSS endowment fund and Founders Family memberships.

The Founders Family was established by the LSS Foundation Board of Directors in 1994 to recognize LSS legacy givers. We recently had our annual eastern SD Founders Family Luncheon. Each year we invite all Founders Family members to a special luncheon to induct new members and celebrate all Founders Family members. This year Rev. Norris and Carolyn Eintertson were introduced as new members. Bette and Darrell Johnson have recently become new members, but were unable to attend the event. Keith and Gloria Thompson also were recognized; they joined the Founders Family a couple of years ago but have been unable to attend the luncheon due to work schedules. Like many of those who join Founders Family, all these couples have donated and volunteered for LSS for many years.

Our Western Region Founders Family Luncheon will be held in Rapid City tomorrow, Sept. 17. We are excited to honor new members Patricia Lee and Charles Yuill, and Erv and DeMaris Nesheim along with current Founders Family members from the western part of the state.

Not all of our Founders Family members have been long-time donors, though; some people have joined early in their relationship with LSS. People of all ages and faiths join Founders Family. If you’re interested in finding out more about the possibilities, just let me know. Along with our LSS Development & Foundation staff, we have access to Lutheran Planned Giving of SD staff, Jim Schade and Kurt Osborne. They are based in Sioux Falls, but travel throughout the state. LSS and other mission partners pay for their services, so there’s no cost to the donor—and no pressure to sign up.

There are a lot of ways that you can join Founders Family:

  • By including LSS in your will or bequest, either as a set amount or a percentage of what’s left after obligations are met.
  • Through listing LSS as a beneficiary of your life insurance policy.
  • You can designate LSS as a beneficiary of a retirement, investment or bank account.
  • With a charitable gift annuity; you transfer your cash or appreciated property to LSS in exchange for our promise to pay you a fixed income (with rates based on your age) for the rest of your life.
  • By setting up a charitable trust or unitrust that provides you an income; various types are available.

Call or email me at 605-444-7536 or Linda.Jensen@LssSD.org if you are interested in getting started with leaving a legacy through the LSS Foundation. I would love to set up a meeting with you.

Linda Jensen, Development Officer, LSS Development & Foundation

The Adolescent Brain – Join Us for Training!

September 14, 2015

The adolescent brain. We have all been there. Some of us are experiencing it again with kids or mentees. New ImageIt is a tricky thing to navigate. And we need help! Here is a great article that outlines five facts of the teen brain. To summarize:

  • New thinking skills are developing. That brain is busy growing all the time!
  • Intense emotions are going on (I think we all know this!).
  • Peer pressure is starting to become a strong reality. Some are consumed with being cool.
  • Measuring risk is not developing as fast as the thrill of taking it. We have all seen or heard things that teens have done and think WHY?!
  • I am the center of the universe is the persistent thought. We can blame this one on puberty.

To help adults navigate adolescent development, join LSS Mentoring in welcoming long-time middle school counselor John Hegg. John has years of experience with this age group and has come to love and understand them like not too many can. Using skills he gained counseling students at Edison and Memorial Middle School as well as lessons he has given to future professionals at Augustana, USD and SDSU, you will be sure to learn something about this age group. John will share insight into what is going on in adolescents on Thursday, September 17 from 12-1 PM. The presentation will be at the LSS Center for Children and Youth, 621 E Presentation Street. Email us at mentoring@lsssd.org or call 221-2403 if you would like to attend!

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