7 Checks to Make Your Home Ready for Winter

November 30, 2016


After a beautiful fall, I thinks it’s safe to say that winter might actually be here now, even if not officially.  While it was little more than a week ago that I was working outside in just a t-shirt, now my wife simply can’t get warm inside, under a blanket, with a hoodie on (she’s naturally cold, I’m not that cheap with the thermostat).  While I happen to enjoy most of winter, there are a few things that could really ruin it.  Conversely, there a few things that can make it a lot more bearable as well.

While winter is what we get to deal with for living here, there are a few ways that you can make sure your home is ready for winter.  Even if you rent rather than own your home, you can still take care of most of these items and discuss the rest with your landlord.  In short, do it now before you hit a crisis or it’s simply too cold to take care of. Read the rest of this entry »

LSS Receives Prestigious Award from the Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce and Aberdeen Development Foundation

November 23, 2016

The Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce recognized the work LSS does in Aberdeen by presenting it with the “ABBY Health and Wellness Award”.  The Health and Wellness Award is presented to either a business or organization which demonstrates exceptional performance in providing healthcare services to the Aberdeen community or otherwise internally encourages the health and wellness of its employees through company programs.

The ABBY Award program is hosted by the Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce and is sponsored by the Aberdeen Development Corporation.  The awards are designed to salute and enhance the image of the Aberdeen business community by recognizing outstanding business performance, excellent business practices, and local customer satisfaction.

Nominees are submitted and are judged by a panel of national Chamber and Economic Development professionals.

LSS in the Aberdeen area is proud to receive the recognition that the ABBY brings to the agency as we continue to care for, support and strengthen individuals, families and communities in the Aberdeen area.

Liesl Hovel, Northeast Regional Director
LSS Development & Foundation


Pictured Left to Right: Gail Ochs, President, Aberdeen Area Chamber of Commerce; Heidie Holmstrom, LSS Clinical Therapist; Liesl Hovel, LSS Northeast Regional Director; Michael Bockorny, CEO, Aberdeen Development Corporation; and Patricia Johnson, LSS Counseling Services, Clinical Supervisor.



THANKS + A Kid’s Thanksgiving Idea

November 22, 2016

Who doesn’t love an acrostic poem? For those of you who don’t remember what that is, it is when the first indexletter of each line spells out a word or phrase. This is a great activity for kid’s and will get them writing in a fun way! We wanted to show our THANKS in this fun way this year!

The most dedicated staff

Hundreds of volunteers

Amazing funding, school, corporate and nonprofit partners

Nice offices, facilities and equipment that allow us to do our work

Kind words spoken to kids and older adults who need them

Students that love their mentors!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving In Sioux Falls, South Dakota – Where History Repeats Itself

November 17, 2016

Every morning when I come to work and open the doors to the Center for New Americans it’s like stepping into another world, or better into many other worlds. There is constant chatter in many different languages, people coming, people going, people waiting, children laughing and children crying. All of them will be experiencing an American holiday next week – Thanksgiving – some of them for the very first time. When I moved to this country many years ago I didn’t know anything about Thanksgiving, except that this was the day when the American people gave thanks. So I decided to find out what my clients, co-workers and friends were thankful for, and how they say it in their languages. It was a lot of fun to have my students teach me the words for ‘thank you’ and my attempts at pronouncing them were met with much laughter and encouragement. Let me share with you what I learned, but please excuse the spelling errors of which I am sure there are many. Thank you means thank you, no matter how you say it

Danke – Ci lɔcdä tɛɛth – Aftata kite – Dyakuyu – Galatoma – Shukran –Tinate –Azuo –  

Tebui– Ameseginalehu –Dhanyebad – Yekenyeley – Spasiba –Xiexie –Dankie –

Gracias –   Asante – Merci – Grazie – Hvala ti – Dank je –  Mahadsanid –   Yin ca leec

And what exactly is everyone thankful for? They are appreciative of the daily things – their home and their family and their children, being in good health, having a job and stability in their lives, never going hungry again. Many clients are thankful for their teachers and all the assistance they get from our staff. One Eastern European woman used her on-line dictionary so she could tell me what she is so thankful for: Life. She is just so happy that her family is here, together and alive. I got teary eyed when she was talking. Her gratitude is shared by many who are thankful for God saving their lives and bringing them to America where He is taking good care of them. A few years ago, an African woman explained to me that yes, we pray several times a day and go to church often. But back in Africa, we experienced such terrible suffering every day that we needed something to hold on to, to give us hope and strength to get out of there alive.


One East African man explained it from a historical perspective. He was thankful that America is such a peaceful and welcoming nation. Many hundred years ago, the Native Americans welcomed the Pilgrims who were persecuted and feared for their lives in their home countries. Hundreds of years later, America is still welcoming those who have fear in their eyes but hope in their hearts. But aren’t you also thankful for your home and your job, I asked. Oh yes, he said, but that couldn’t be if America wouldn’t still open her doors and welcome us.

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”


Written by Silke Hansen, ESL Instructor

Thanking Our Corporate Partners

November 16, 2016

On our Facebook page, LSS Mentoring is posting things that we are thankful for this month. One thing that we would like to lift up today are the corporate partners that funnel volunteers into mentoring. There are a number of area businesses that allow mentoring to be part of their culture – they know that employees can make a difference by this volunteer effort and are willing to promote ways to get involved within their workplace.

One such place is Wells Fargo. LSS currently has 50 Wells Fargo employees who are mentoring in area schools each week. Collectively, this group has put in thousands of hours mentoring youth in our community. When the workplace promotes and encourages employee engagement in their community, it leads to obvious benefits for area nonprofits like LSS, but also internally. Research shows that employers who volunteer are more productive at work and are more likely to stay at their job.

At Wells Fargo, mentoring is promoted by distributing posters to all of their locations, they regularly hold volunteer fairs where LSS and other nonprofits can have a booth at their locations during work hours, and list volunteer options on their internal website.

Wells Fargo employees who are allowed to mentor say that mentoring allows them to have a different sense of responsibility and accomplishment. It truly improves overall moral in doing such good for someone else.

If your business is interested in learning more about how you can get employees to volunteer to mentor, please contact us today!

To Give Up

November 15, 2016

What goes through your mind when you hear the phrase “give up”?  What comes to my mind is, “I don’t know; I give up!”  Some people “give up smoking” because it’s bad for them.  Think about the phrase, “to give away.” What do you think of when you hear that? I gave away some furniture I didn’t want anymore.  In either case, what usually comes to mind is that whatever was “given up” or “given away” wasn’t important, wasn’t needed, or wasn’t wanted. Read the rest of this entry »

Holiday Friends

November 8, 2016

As the holiday season is quickly approaching, many people are looking forward to spending time with their friends and family. For some though, holidays can reinforce feelings of loneliness and isolation. The LSS Better Together program matches volunteers with adults aged 65+ for the purpose of relationship building and companionship.

There are a number of older adults waiting to find a special friend  – we just need volunteers to match them! As a reminder, volunteers can be individuals, couples and families. The commitment is four hours per month – as flexible as you and your match need to be. Some people meet weekly, others just meet for a longer time once a month. To volunteer, click here.

As for older adults, here are a few that would love to meet someone like you.

S: S is an 80 year old man that lives with his wife in their home.  His wife is his full-time caregiver, and has been for 25 years after he suffered a debilitating aneurysm.  S writes poetry, and has a large binder full of inspirational poems. He enjoys sitting and talking, and loves to tell stories. He would like a volunteer to come meet with him for an extra social connection over the weekend.

D: D is an 83 year old man that lives on his own. He is retired from the Air Force, but has also done other occupations throughout his life.  When he was young, D did quite a bit of traveling; he has lived in Sioux Falls for about 25 years.  D is involved in his apartment community, Active Generations, and the local VFW.  He wants to be in the Better Together program because he finds is difficult to do things alone, and would like company.

J: J is an 89 year old who lives on her own. She has lived in Sioux Falls for almost 40 years, and prior to retirement worked as a housekeeper and waitress. J has no family in the area. She joined Better Together to have more social opportunities. Since she uses a walker, she has difficulty maneuvering. Because of this, she has found it increasingly difficult to leave her apartment. J would like to visit and have coffee, go to Active Generations or other fun community events, or go out to eat with her volunteer.

A: A is a 74 year old that lives on her own.  She recently lost her husband, and is trying to keep busy.  She suffers from some vision loss, but is taking classes to learn how to stay independent.  While in Better Together, A would like to smile, laugh, and have fun.  She would like to share stories, have new life experiences, do crafts, go out to eat, and, if a volunteer feels extra adventurous, go dancing!

S: S is a 74 year old that lives in her own apartment.  She enjoys going out to eat, reading romance novels, and playing games on her iPad.  S would like to meet a volunteer that would enjoy going out to eat as much as she does.

R: R is a 70 year old that lives with his wife and dog.  He was an automotive business owner and enjoys a variety of hobbies.  He joined Better Together to meet his social needs, and would like to go into the community more.  While in the program, R would like to go to events, movies, go for coffee, look at cars and trucks, go to men’s Bible studies, or tour Washington Pavilion, to name a few ideas.

J: J is a 71 year old who lives on his own.  He is retired from various maintenance jobs, and moved to Sioux Falls about 2 years ago.  In his spare time, J enjoys socializing, operating a ham radio, watching westerns or game shows, and going to Active Generations.  He joined Better Together because he would like to meet new people and would like to do “anything,” including going for coffee, going out to eat, or just going for a drive.

D: D is a 66 year old who lives with her cat. While she does have some family in the area, she would like to meet someone to spend time with outside of her family. While in Better Together, D would like to go to the zoo and enjoy different activities that come up around the community. She is even open to taking part in volunteer opportunities with a volunteer!

M: M is a 65 year old who lives with her cat. She is a retired apartment manager who moved to Sioux Falls about 4 years ago to be near adult children. M joined Better Together because she would like to know new people, as she is still getting to know Sioux Falls. While spending time with a volunteer, M would like to go shopping, go to movies, go out to eat, and attend various community events and fairs.

Take some time to think about if any of the people above could be your new friend this holiday season. They would love to meet you! Just apply today.

%d bloggers like this: