Dancers Bring Luck to LSS

February 26, 2016

Those who are attending our annual fundraiser – Taste of Cultures – on March 5 just may find themselves going home with a little extra luck, health, and future happiness.

After all, an Asian Lion Dance will be performed that night, and according to ancient tradition, this dance brings all manner of good fortune to those who witness it.

Zon Tran, a leader of the Sioux Falls Lion Dance group, explained the origin of the dance, “The original mythical dance was performed to scare away a monster that kept bothering a small village in China.”

In order to protect the village, a monk tied a ribbon around the head of the monster and tamed it, Tran said. Through the years, the story was kept alive through a dance and drum performance that is believed to bring good luck to holidays and special events.

Lion Dancers

Lion Dances stem from an ancient Chinese myth. 

Tran, born in Vietnam, moved to Sioux Falls 36 years ago. For the last 21 years, he has worked as a physical therapist at Sanford. He said the local group started the Lion Dance team 11 years ago “as a way to teach our children and to educate the public on our culture.”

The dance is performed to the beat of drums, meant to symbolize the beating heart of a lion, Tran said.  The lion caretaker represents the mythical monk while loud cymbals are meant to scare away evil spirts.

Tran’s group performing at Taste of Cultures will include a total of 13 people: five dancers, two lions, and a six-person drum line.

“It is very physically challenging for dancers and drummers to keep up with the physical nature of the lion. But that is the challenge we love,” Tran said.

In addition to the Lion Dance, Taste of Cultures will also offer three other entertainment groups: Asian Night Live, Celtic Steps, and Ky Vien Pagoda Dance Team. Each group will offer music or dance routines from their own cultures – from Ireland to Asia.

Tickets for Taste of Cultures are now sold out. Thank you to all who are coming to support the work of LSS!

I don’t think I should personally vouch for attendees’ good luck : ), but I do know for sure that a greater fortune will come to those who benefit from the fundraiser – new refugees who need groceries, rent, furniture, bus passes, and seasonal clothing.

Most of us are already quite fortunate. Let us pass on our good fortune to others!

Posted by Julie Boutwell-Peterson

The Ten Things Kids Need Most

February 25, 2016

The LSS Adoption, Foster Care and Kinship Programs are all about kids and families.  We believe every child and every youth needs and deserves to have a family who loves and supports him or her.  It may be a relative, fictive kin, foster parent, or parent through adoption – families are made so many ways.

So what are some other things kids need? Read the rest of this entry »

Community Campus Seeks Mentors

February 22, 2016

Last week a colleague and I visited the Sioux Falls School District Community Campus. We were greeted with warm smiles and witnessed a lot of learning. The Community Campus, located within the Western Mall, serves students ages 18-21. Students need to meet admissions criteria to be part of this program where they are taught independent living and job training skills, as well as academic instruction.

Community Campus students have graduated high school but are eligible to continue to receive services from the school district until age 21. Students attend either a morning or afternoon session, Monday thru Friday. Currently, most students are living at home with their families and rely on the city bus or para transit to get to school and home.

The teachers and staff at Community Campus contacted LSS in hopes of getting a few volunteer mentors to meet with students in this program. Mentors could meet with the students at the Western Mall location. Together, mentors and students would simply talk and eat lunch. This is an exciting new opportunity that we hope people consider! After visiting for just an hour, we could see how eager the students are to meet new people and talk about what is going on in their life.

If you are interested in being a mentor at the Community Campus, please complete an application or contact us at 221-2403.

Congratulations Ava

February 19, 2016

We have some pretty fabulous kids here at LSS Childcare and Education. They have a variety of gifts and talents and we are thankful to have each one of them be part of our program. One of our great kids is Ava. This week she found out that she was the big winner of the SoDakSACA coloring contest! The mission of the South Dakota School Age Care Alliance is to promote quality Out-of-School Time programs for children and youth through professional development and public advocacy. They invited kids from all over South Dakota to be creative and Ava did just that! Her art was displayed at the South Dakota Capitol Building during After-School Day at the Capitol. We are proud of her and all of the students that worked hard to show what a difference after school programs make in the lives of kids.



A Night Out … With the World

February 18, 2016

The world is coming to Sioux Falls – and you are invited!

In one evening, you can try delicious naan bread, lentil samosas, three different chicken curry dishes, baklava honey pastries, and maamoul cardamom cookies.

You can hear music from Mexico and Vietnam, and watch dancing from Ireland and different parts of Asia.

You can mingle with your friends while bidding on a variety of unique auction items.

Come and support the Center for New Americans with our annual fundraiser, Taste of Cultures.

“We have a lot more entertainment this year than we’ve ever had before,” said Kristyne Walth, Volunteer Coordinator for CNA and a member of the organizing committee for the event. “It’s going to be a really great event – focused on food, mingling, and entertainment.”

taste of cultures

This year’s event will be held at The District, where chefs are preparing a variety of ethnic foods crafted from traditional recipes, Kristyne said.

The event kicks off at 6:30 p.m. with cocktails, food, and the silent auction. The entertainment begins at 7:30 p.m. and will go until 9 p.m.  Afterwards, you can stay and dance to live music.

“We have so many interesting auction items this year,” Kristyne said, “including a hot air balloon ride.” Other unique items include an ethnic grocery store tour around the city followed by a meal at a local ethnic restaurant as well as an ethnic meal brought to your own home for a group of your friends.

Kristyne said LSS has found a number of local businesses to help sponsor the event including First National Bank, Midco Communications, and First Premier Bank.

All proceeds will go directly toward LSS to assist new refugee families with basic needs such as groceries, rent, furniture, bus passes, and winter clothing.

General admission ticket prices are $40 with a Table of Eight for $300. VIP ticket prices are $80 and include excellent seats and a wine/bourbon tasting. A VIP Table of Eight is $640.

You can buy tickets right here online.

Come help us celebrate and support the diversity of our community!

Call Kristyne at 605-731-2009 for tickets, questions or more information.

Posted by Julie Boutwell-Peterson


Who would like this $20 bill?

February 17, 2016

A well known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20 bill. In the room of 200 people, he asked, “Who would like this $20 bill?”

Hands started going up.

He said, “I am going to give this $20 to one of you, but first let me do this.” He proceeded to crumple up the bill.

He then asked, “Who still wants it?”

Still the hands were up in the air.

“Well,” he replied, “What if I do this?” He dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now all crumpled and dirty. “Now who still wants it?”

Still the hands went into the air.

“My friends, you have all learned a valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20. Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way.”

To us, our clients are those $20 bills. They may be rough around the edges, and have problems of all kinds. They have suffered through years of abuse. They may be homeless and feel unworthy of love.

But no matter what has happened in their lives, and no matter what happens in yours, LSS is here and we care! You have value, and you will never lose it.

If you are interested in helping LSS live out our mission of helping those in need, click the button below to donate today!

Help those in need, donate today!

Fall in Love

February 16, 2016

Even though Valentine’s Day has come and gone, there are ample opportunities to find something you love everyday of the year. Today, we want to tell you about a new mentor who attended a Mentor Try-It Lunch in January. When she was least expecting it (volunteering over her lunch hour), she fell in love. Here is what she had to say about the experience…

One morning I received an email from my Human Resource Manager. It was another volunteering opportunity in the subject line. I opened the email and started to read about the LSS Mentoring Program. After I was finished reading through the information, I thought to myself that I really do not do much for people I do not know or for my community. This program would be outside my comfort zone in a way, but right then I made a promise to myself that I would try it out. Read the rest of this entry »

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