How do You Enjoy Dinner and a Show and Make a difference at the Same Time?

March 30, 2016

Why, it’s easy… just pay $30 per person and you can enjoy a delicious meal, bid on a silent auction item and end the night by listening… and maybe even singing along with the CRAZY KEYS Dueling Pianos Show!

Please come and join us as we get ready for another year to raise funds for all services for Lutheran Social Services in the Northeast Region! Aberdeen area always needs additional support with the following services:

  • Counseling Services
  • Employee Assistance Programs
  • Center for Financial Resources
  • Adoption Services
  • Pregnancy Counseling
  • Foster Care
  • Kinship Services
  • Residential Services for Children & Youth – New Beginnings Center
  • Disaster Response
  • Community Resource Program
  • Center for New Americans

The annual LSS Benefit Dinner will be held on:
Saturday, April 16, 2016
Silent Auction begins at 5 p.m.
Dinner and Program at 6 p.m.
Crazy Keys Dueling Pianos begins their show at 8 p.m.

The Dakota Event Center, 720 Lamont St., Aberdeen, SD

Dinner Ticket: $12 each
Dueling Piano Ticket: $20 each
Dinner & Dueling Pianos Package: $30 each

Gifts & Pledges for LSS will be requested at the event.

So that we can plan the meal, please let us know if you can join us either by calling Liesl Hovel at 605-262-5301, or by emailing by Wednesday, April 6th.

Click here to RSVP online.

Please join us April 16 as we celebrate reaching out to those in need and help make a difference to many!


Liesl Hovel | LSS Development & Foundation
Director, Northeast Region
1601 Milwaukee Ave NE | Aberdeen, SD 57401
605-262-5301 direct | 605-290-2533 cell | 605-262-5303 fax

Strengthening Individuals, Families & Communities

Growing Democracy

March 24, 2016

The sun was only just rising when 47 adult English learners from 23 different countries met at the LSS Main Street office earlier this month to take a much-anticipated annual trip to the state capitol building in Pierre.

For these learners, the trip is both eye-opening and inspiring. To be able to walk into a building, meet the people who govern a state, and be treated with respect, is a surprising, if not shocking, event. 

After all, most of the learners come from countries where it would be impossible to walk into a government building and meet those in power.

Aberdeen, Huron and Sioux Falls English Learners in front of Capitol Building

LSS students gather in front of the state capitol building on March 2.  Students from Sioux Falls met in Pierre with other refugees and immigrants from Aberdeen and Huron to witness democracy first-hand.

Diana Streleck, an English teacher who accompanied the group, said, “The image that stays with me is the impromptu photo shoot with the members from the Department of Labor and Regulation.  The members ate lunch with our students and spoke to them about the work they do to support their learning and job placement within Sioux Falls.  The students desired to have their pictures with the government officials because the contrast between the priorities of American government (working for the people) and their own country are so different.”

Laura Smith-Hill, the Education Program Coordinator for LSS who also participated in the trip, said, “A favorite moment was when Abdilatif Omar stood outside the Governor’s office and asked a friend to take his picture. He pointed to the sign that said Governor’s Office and said, ‘Dreams come true!’”

In addition to speaking with officials from the Department of Labor and Regulation (DLR), the students also toured the capitol building, met Governor Dennis Daugaard, visited both the House and the Senate chambers, and met with two state legislators.

with governor

Students meet South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard.

Diana said the trip is not only beneficial to the students, but also to state leaders who meet the refugees and immigrants each year.

“Our leaders will affect the lives of these students through the passage of bills. Their presence helps the legislators put a face instead of a number to the statistics they discuss when considering any new bills that might change the lives of our students or their families still waiting to join them,” she said.

Laura echoed the sentiment: “Some legislators may not have had meaningful interactions with people who have recently immigrated to the U.S. Some may have never met a person who came to the U.S. with the status of a refugee. This annual visit to Pierre provides our legislators with an opportunity to meet some of the proudest, most polite and hard-working South Dakota residents we could ever hope to meet. In reality, they are proud South Dakotans because of where they came from. They, like all of our ancestors, bring the spirit of innovation and determination that our country was built upon.

The trip, which has been an annual event for LSS for the past 10 years, is funded as a special project through the Department of Labor and Regulation as an English Literacy and Civics Field Trip.

Laura said that on the bus ride home, she asked the students what they thought of Pierre. 

“They replied enthusiastically, ‘Very good! We are very happy!’ I also asked the students, ‘How many of you are US citizens?’ As I peered into the dark bus, no hands were raised. Then I asked a second question, ‘How many of you want to become US citizens in the future?’ Every hand in the bus shot up in the air as students called out ‘Yes!’”

About 120 students applied to go to Pierre, but, unfortunately, there was not enough space for everyone.

“I shared in the disappointment of two students who began to cry when they were told they were not awarded seats on the bus to Pierre,” she said.

Fortunately, because the trip is made every year, those students who didn’t get to go this year will have priority next year.

Laura pointed out that when we grow up in a free country like the U.S., it is sometimes difficult to comprehend the privileges of our citizenship.

“Then I hear how our students were never allowed to vote in their native countries or how they had to wait in line for days for the privilege. If you want to be reminded of how blessed we are in this great nation, I would encourage you to consider the stories of our adult English learners and how they strive for the opportunity just to visit our state capital and daily hope to one day become U.S. citizens,” she said.

Posted by Julie Boutwell-Peterson


Empowered To Connect Conference

March 22, 2016

LSS is committed to providing education and training opportunities to adoptive and foster parents. LSS is excited to co-sponsor the Empowered To Connect Simulcast on April 8 & 9, 2016. The training will be held in Sioux Falls and Rapid City, South Dakota. South Dakota Social Work CEU’s will be available. Read the rest of this entry »

A Precious Investment

March 17, 2016

Working in the financial industry, Tonya Falkenstein knows about investments. She sees mentoring tonya and pPrecious, a fourth grader at Lowell Elementary, as one of the best investments she can make.

“Mentoring is so much more gratifying to me than I thought it would be,” said Tonya. “These are our future leaders, future employees…it is rewarding to be part of their life and see them grow and develop new skills. And, I think we have taught each other a lot.” Read the rest of this entry »

Benefit Dinner for LSS in the Brookings Area

March 16, 2016

It’s that time of year again! Time for fun, fellowship and LSS! We hope that you can join us for a dinner event to celebrate this important ministry.

Saturday, April 2, 2016
Dinner and Program at 6 p.m.
McCrory Gardens Education & Visitor Center in Brookings
Tickets: $10 each
A gift or pledge will be requested at the event

Come to this beautiful site and enjoy a great dinner catered by Aramark! Dinner will be followed by a short program which will highlight how your support is helping so many people in the area. Our Brookings LSS office is located north of Hy-Vee in the Eastside Commons (old Brookings Mall), 22nd Ave. & 8th St. S. We have counseling services and consumer credit counseling available there.

So that we can plan the meal, please let us know if you can join us either by calling Chelsea at 1-800-568-2401 ext. 7507, or by emailing by Wednesday, March 23.
Click here to RSVP online.

Please join us on April 2 as we celebrate reaching out with love to those in need!

Linda Jensen | LSS Development & Foundation
Church Relations and Planned Giving Development Officer
705 E. 41st Street, Suite 200 | Sioux Falls, SD   57105-6048
605- 444-7536 direct  | 1-800-568-2401 ext. 7536 toll free | 605-310-9865 cell

Strengthening Individuals, Families, & Communities

Welcome Home!

March 15, 2016

The United States opened its arms to another citizen last week when LSS English student and Somalian refugee Canab Cali took the oath to become a U.S. citizen.

“I have life now,” Canab said, speaking after her English class at LSS. “I have a lot of opportunity.  I am too much happy!”


The glow on Canab’s face is contagious; her smile brightens the room. But Canab’s path to a new life in a new country has not been easy.

Her father died when she was very young, and the news meant more than the loss of a beloved parent. It also meant that Canab could not attend school.

“I never learned to read and write in my own language,” Canab said.

Life took many turns for the young girl. Somalia’s Civil War, which has been ongoing for 25 years, eventually forced her and her twin children to flee their home.  They eventually landed at a refugee camp in Turkey, where she gave birth to a third child.

In 2009, she received news that she and her baby could take refuge in the U.S. The twins, however, would have to stay behind.  They could join her later, once she was settled.  When she arrived in Sioux Falls, scared and nervous, she didn’t know any English.

Still, Canab had a dream and a plan. She was not deterred.  After two months of being in the U.S., she got a housekeeping job at the Holiday Inn.  “I didn’t have time to take English classes.  I was supporting myself and my baby girl.”

After five years, Canab’s twins joined her, and now she supports all three of her children by herself. She only found time to begin English classes about a year ago.

While her children are in school, she works 5 a.m. to noon at Kohl’s Department Store and then comes to LSS for two hours of English classes.

She also found time for Citizenship Classes and to take the Citizenship Exam.

When asked if she was nervous about the exam, she said, smiling, “I was too much scared, but the lawyer at LSS helped me.”

Canab now wants to continue her English lessons with hopes eventually to get her GED.

Welcome to the U.S., Canab!  We welcome you home! : )

Posted by Julie Boutwell-Peterson



The Face of Credit Card Debt

March 11, 2016

“Credit cards – good, bad, or evil?”  I love asking that question in my classes.  I’m a certified consumer credit counselor.  I’ve seen a lot.  Of course I’m going to tell you credit cards are of the devil.  They are nasty, money stealing, credit destroying, freedom ending pieces of plastic.  They are ‘the man’ out to get you and if you have one you are nothing more than a minion of that system.  Right?  At least that’s what most people expect me to say. Read the rest of this entry »

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