Thank You WELCA!

October 26, 2016

One of the first groups that I became aware of when I joined LSS was the Women of the ELCA. I attended Synodical Conventions, Spring Gatherings and various events like fall bazaars, and soup and pie fundraisers. I quickly came to the conclusion that WELCA is the kind of group all non-profits hope to have on their side! Units across the Synod help LSS in many ways:stack-of-colorful-old-quilts-picture-id468320545

  • By collecting needed items for LSS clients such as hotel soaps and shampoos, winter wear, furniture, books, toys, LifeBook page supplies, household goods and many other items on LSS wish lists
  • By making and donating quilts, they provide not only warmth and beauty, but also a physical reminder to those served by LSS that someone cares about them
  • By volunteering to make LifeBooks and participating in other projects to improve the lives of those served by LSS
  • By giving financial gifts, thus helping to ensure LSS can continue to serve all those in need
  • By praying for those served by LSS, and for those of us who work at LSS

I was so impressed with all the good work done by WELCA that years ago I started attending WELCA meetings at my church, Peace Lutheran in Sioux Falls. I’m currently the president of my unit and had the privilege of being the voting member representing my unit at the Crossroads Spring Gatherings and Synodical Conventions.

Thank you WELCA. Many blessings to you all as you continue to mobilize women to act boldly on their faith in Jesus Christ!

Fellow Daughter of the King,
Linda Jensen, LSS Church Relations and Planned Giving Officer

The Great Pumpkin

October 25, 2016


This week I have noticed the leaves changing on the trees from lovely green to bright yellow and red. The frost covers the grass in the mornings, and the sun hides until about 7 o’clock.  It is most definitely autumn!

With autumn come Halloween and Thanksgiving, two decidedly different holidays, but which hold a common thread…PUMPKIN! Everywhere I look I see pumpkins…pumpkins on front porches, pumpkins at road side stands, pumpkins in the grocery store, pumpkins on my kitchen table…autumn is definitely the time to enjoy carving pumpkins…and cooking pumpkins! I don’t know of anything better than fresh homemade pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving…

However, pumpkin doesn’t just excite Americans; pumpkin is a staple in many, many countries. My African students eat pumpkin, my Asian students eat pumpkin, my European students eat pumpkin, my Central American students eat pumpkin…basically ALL my students eat pumpkin regardless of where they are from.  And it’s not just served in pumpkin pie!

My Nepali students in particular happily inform me that they eat pharsi with rice when we discuss pumpkins in class.   Recently my Oral 1 (beginning literacy) students from Nepal and Burma shared their favorite way to cook pumpkin, and I thought it would be nice to share a new pumpkin recipe with you.

Nepali/Burmese Pumpkin Recipe


2-3 chili peppers (maybe 5!)

Small pumpkin (peel, cut, and cook)

3 potatoes

1/2 onion

1 c of water

2-3 medium tomatoes

Add garlic, ginger, cumin, and turmeric.


Cook all together. Put on rice.  Eat.  Enjoy!

Written by Heather Glidewell, ESL Instructor

Sweet Cases

October 24, 2016

In the month of September the Rapid City Foster Care Program and Foster Care youth received 15 “Sweet Cases” from Dr. Linda Fromm and her staff at Fromm Dermatology.  In the last two years the staff at Fromm Dermatology have purchased and donated “Sweet Cases” to the foster care youth in LSS Foster Homes in the Rapid City area.  “Sweet Cases” are duffle bags for youth in foster care. These duffle bags are something the foster youth can call their own and use for sleep overs, school trips, and moves home.  The majority of the youth in foster care come from homes or facilities that are unable to purchase duffle bags or suitcases so when youth move into a foster home they may bring all their belongings in garbage bags.  The “Sweet Cases” give the foster youth something they can call their own and assist them in the transitions in life.  Read the rest of this entry »

Is 34% Good?

October 19, 2016

In the most recent data on volunteering and service, it shows that 34% of adults in South Dakota volunteer. While that sounds like a not very high percent, our state ranks 9th in the country for being the most active in volunteering.

At LSS Mentoring, we strive to get a diverse group of volunteers. We want mentors to represent students as a whole – not just the 34% of adults who volunteer. So…we dug into our data to paint a picture of who is mentoring right now.

LSS Mentors…

  • Range from age 18 to 89
  • Work at 290 different businesses
  • 65% are female
  • 20% live in the 57106 zip code
  • Have mentored an average of 4.3 years
  • Are all amazing and unique in the eyes of the student they mentor!

There is not one perfect mentor – anyone who has the time (just one lunch hour a week!) and the heart can do it. Please answer the call and volunteer today. Be a revolutionary in the Sioux Empire! Applications are available here.


5 Reasons You Should Become a Classroom Assistant

October 14, 2016

Today, we share 5 reasons why you should become a classroom volunteer and help the new students!

Reason 1 – Travel the world! (while staying in Sioux Falls) – In our classrooms, we have students from across the globe learning together. One moment you may be sitting next to a former doctor from Russia, the next reading with a farmer from Ethiopia. You’ll be able to see and learn about the culture of other countries without paying the cost of travelling or feeling the effects of jet lag – could it be easier?

Level 4 Students learning about US Universities

Level 4 Students learning about US Universities

Reason 2 – Make new friends – The students see our volunteers as both teachers and friends. While you’re here be prepared to hear choruses of “Teacher, Teacher! Guess what?” and “Teacher, my sister is coming to Sioux Falls; I bring her to meet you!” and even “Teacher, I made this cake for you.”

Reason 3 – Help fulfill dreams – Many of our students were unable to attend school in their homeland as a child due to war and violence. Now that they are here, they have the chance to. You can help by practicing flashcards and having conversations with them!

Reason 4 – Learn something new! – Not only can you learn about other cultures but you might learn more about America too. As one volunteer said, “I couldn’t believe what they have to know [for citizenship]! I couldn’t answer any of their questions!” Volunteering in a citizenship class is great way to brush up on your civics knowledge. Stun your friends with all the information you have!

Teaching gets physical when learning action words like "unconscious"

Teaching gets physical when learning action words like “unconscious”

Reason 5 – It’s fun and easy – You don’t have to be an expert to volunteer. We’re just looking for encouraging and welcoming individuals to help our students learn English. We laugh and joke while we teach in our classrooms. Just try not to smile while you’re here!

So if you’re looking to have fun, give back, and learn more about the world, become a classroom assistant! Sign up today to begin volunteering or call 605-731-2009 for more information!


Kristyne Walth, Volunteer Coordinator, Center for New Americans

When a Picture is Worth More Than a Thousand Words

October 12, 2016

img_2384LSS recently completed its Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce Community Appeals Committee-approved capital campaign, The Campus on East Bank Campaign.

This campaign ran from April 1 through July 31 of this year. It was chaired by Fred Sluneka, Chief Operating Officer, Avera Health, and Tom Dempster, Director, IFAM Capital and Chair of the LSS Governing Board of Directors. The goal was to raise $1,250,000. Nine team captains and more than 90 volunteers solicited the Sioux Falls business community for their financial support for this important project.

As of this day, $1,256,603 has been raised or committed to the LSS Campus on East Bank by the Sioux Falls business community.

One of those who made an early commitment to support the Campus on East Bank was Midco. On October 11,2016 Dan Nelson, Midco Director of Government Affairs, presented a check in the amount of $10,000 to Betty Oldenkamp, LSS, President/CEO, and Bill Peterson, Vice President LSS Development & Foundation. The presentation was made on the site of the LSS Campus on East Bank.

We want to say a special thank you to Dan, Midco and all the Sioux Falls businesses who are making the new campus a reality for LSS.

Bill Peterson, Vice President
LSS Development & Foundation

Steps to Prep for Christmas….Already

October 11, 2016


It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas….
Every where you go….
Take a look in the five-and-ten….
Glistening once again….
With candy canes and silver lanes aglow….

Sorry to do it to you so early, but you know you didn’t just read the words.  Come on, admit it, you were singing along.  And now I’ll agree as we both argue, “IT’S WAY TOO EARLY!”  But it’s coming and you can’t deny it.  The other argument I’m going to make is that you may not want to deny it.  Rather, embrace it.  Embrace it now. Read the rest of this entry »

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