Who Doesn’t Love BINGO?

January 31, 2017

Nobody – that’s who!

On February 23, the LSS Better Together program is hosting a BINGO Night – and the public is invited to join.

The LSS Better Together program has been connecting volunteers with older adults since 2015. Since beginning, the program has worked with 50 matches. However, the number of older adults in need has outpaced the number of available volunteers.To help people learn more about the program, the BINGO Night will bring together older adults and potential volunteers as well as current matches who can talk about their experiences in the program.

Better Together is looking for volunteers to provide friendship, socialization and four hours of their time each month to spend with people over 65 in the Sioux Empire. Whether it’s swinging by for coffee, going out to lunch or playing some cards – you can do these little things that can mean so much to people who enjoy – and need – a friendly face around. LSS requires volunteers to commit to one year when they sign up for the program. Potential volunteers need to apply, successfully complete a background screen and attend an orientation before being matched with an older adult.

To register for BINGO Night, click here. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, click here. Keep in mind that individuals, couples and families can apply to be a Better Together volunteer.

Inspiring Stories

January 27, 2017

Asnows teachers, we are sometimes privileged to get to know our students beyond the classroom. And when that happens, we can’t help but feel inspired by the stories we hear.

Laura Smith-Hill, the director of the Education Program here at LSS, recently shared with me two inspiring stories from our students enrolled in Citizenship Class, and I’d like to share them with you.

Laura speaks of a middle-aged woman from China who has lived in the U.S. for about 20 years. Laura explains, “She opens and closes her department at work, putting in 12-hour days. She is a star worker for her employer, and might have been promoted to manager, but her literacy and computer skills were lacking. At the end of the day, she comes home and scoops her sidewalks. On her day off, she exercises because she knows she needs to be strong.”

And the story continues, “She lives alone and emphasized, ‘I try to do everything myself, because I have to pull myself up.’ She didn’t seem to know the rest of the American idiom, ‘… by her own bootstraps,’ but I knew what she meant. She takes great pride in her son, who finished college and is working in New York City. He told her, ‘Mom, you can’t go back to China. This is your home. You have to become a citizen.’ She echoed to me, ‘I love America; I need to stay in this country.’ So on her days off, she comes to our Saturday Citizenship Class to learn to read and write for civic engagement and in order to become a U.S. citizen.”

Laura said this woman reminds her of “how hard all our ancestors had to work to make their way as first generation immigrants in our ‘land of opportunity.’ That opportunity doesn’t come easily to any first generation immigrant; they work hard for it to pave the way for their children and their children’s children.”

Yet another student Laura speaks of is a young man from Iraq who successfully completed the education program here at LSS, received his high school diploma and finished his job training. Today he speaks excellent English and works in one of South Dakota’s high-demand occupations – welding.

As he copes with daily worries for the safety of his parents and siblings back home, he hopes to become a U.S. citizen so he can bring his family to the U.S. for refuge.

Laura explained, “This man finds freedom of religion in the U.S. that his family can only dream of. He believes his purpose in life is to help other people. He shared with me that he didn’t know how he could be a help to people here in America. When I told him about volunteer opportunities at our center and how he could apply to mentor other families who are new to America, he decided to put in his application. The next time I saw him, he walked into the lobby and said, ‘Ahh, LSS is my home.’ He explained that LSS was the first place he came when he arrived in America and everyone here helped him start a new life.”

Laura said these two students are indicative of the immigrants she meets and works with on a daily basis.

“These two clients are gracious, thoughtful, generous. They are unafraid of hard-work and strive for the good of their families. They are ready to help people around them who are in need. They are stronger for the barriers they face and barriers they have already overcome. They are much like you and me. These qualities are a part of what makes our nation great,” Laura explained.

It is easy to hear the news on TV and the radio and feel afraid of newcomers. But what we see here at LSS, where we work daily with immigrants and refugees, is nothing like what one might hear in the news. What we experience here belies the news coverage. What we experience here are individuals with individual stories and experiences that would make any American with a history of immigration proud, and, of course, that is almost every American. : )

I personally find it a true privilege to work with these newcomers. If you, too, want to be inspired by their perseverance, hard work, generosity, and kindness, we are always welcoming new volunteers. We can use you in English, job training, and Citizenship classes. Your choice. Contact Kristyne Walth at 731-2009 or email her at kristyne.walth@lsssd.org to learn how you can join our volunteer program.

Have an inspirational day! : )

Posted by Julie Boutwell-Peterson

LSS Seeking Mentor Nominations

January 26, 2017

LSS Mentoring Services is seeking nominations for the 2017 Citibank Outstanding Mentor Breakfast April 2015 009Mentor, the Outstanding Rookie Mentor and First PREMIER Bank/PREMIER Bankcard Community Partner awards. The awards, to be presented at the Annual Mentor Appreciation Breakfast on April 19, provide a platform to honor the contributions of individuals and organizations that have shown outstanding commitment to the mentor program.

Outstanding mentors are individuals who have proven their dedication to their student and the program. Rookie mentor nominees are people who have made a big impact in their first or second year of mentoring. Community partners nominations can include businesses, organizations, civic groups, schools or churches that have encouraged and advocated mentoring. If a community partner has received the award in the previous three years, they are not eligible this year. Organizations not eligible are Oak Hills Church (2016), Sanford Health (2015) and Wells Fargo (2014).

Anyone can make a nomination and self-nominations are also accepted. Please submit your nomination using this form. All nominations are due Monday, February 27. Materials may be sent via email to mentoring@lsssd.org, via fax to 444-7540 or mailed to LSS Mentoring Services, 705 E 41st Street, Suite 220, Sioux Falls, SD 57105.

The 2017 Mentor Appreciation Breakfast is sponsored by First PREMIER Bank/PREMIER Bankcard, Citi and Wells Fargo.

For additional information on the nomination process, or to become a mentor, please call LSS Mentoring Services at 444-7803 or email mentoring@lsssd.org.

What You Are Really Paying For

January 24, 2017

Pop.  Soda.  Fizzy caffeinated goodness.  Whatever you call it, wecoke-in-a-glass go through a lot of it.  Have you ever paid attention to the cost of it?  More importantly, have you ever thought about why you pay so much extra for that one quick bottle? Read the rest of this entry »

A Special Thanks to Jim Schade

January 18, 2017

After 19 years of dedicated service in the South Dakota Synod, Jim Schade, Director of SD Lutheran Planned Giving, announced his retirement. Jim’s last day was on January 10, 2017.

Jim worked for the State of South Dakota in Pierre for years before he and wife Nancy decided to move to Volga, settling on eighty acres near Jim’s home farm. Jim used his knowledge about estate taxes to start work for SDLPG.

Through the years, Jim helped individuals and families make legacy gifts that will continue to be a blessing to others long after their passing. His advice to decide now who gets grandma’s pie plate and who gets grandpa’s shotgun brought home the need to make plans ahead to avoid hard feelings and family strife. He also worked with congregations and LSS, along with other mission partners, building strong relationships, and giving them the tools and access to his expertise to grow their endowments. Jim took the process that most people find confusing and even scary and made it comfortable and easy to understand.

Jim’s support for LSS wasn’t just through SDLPG. Jim has been the emcee and has done the ask for contributions at the Brookings area benefit event, volunteered for the Changing Children’s Lives capital campaign, donated many bottles of wine for auctions, and served on the LSS Foundation Board of Directors. Jim and Nancy are members of the LSS Founders Family and opened up their home and winery for small group gatherings.

Jim and Nancy will have a number of interests to keep them busy. In 2000, they opened Schade` Vineyards, only the third farm winery in the state, making wine with South Dakota grown fruits and vegetables. Jim is active in the South Dakota Wine Growers Association, and is currently the president of the Governor’s Tourism Advisory Board. Jim and Nancy are also very involved in their church, First Lutheran in Volga.

A retirement party for Jim is scheduled for January 24, 2017 from 3-5 pm at Spirit of Joy Lutheran Church at 2208 La Quinta Street in Sioux Falls. Join in the celebration to honor Jim and thank him for all the work he has done on behalf of LSS!

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, 800-568-2401 ext. 7536

Please Join Us for the 22nd Annual Taste of Cultures Dinner and Silent Auction Event!

January 17, 2017

Saturday, March 4, 2017  6:30 pm

The District, Sioux Falls


Celebrate the diversity of our community with your support of LSS in raising funds to assist newcomers to resettle. Proceeds help to purchase groceries, assist with rent, purchase furniture, buy bus passes and purchase winter clothing for refugee families new to the country.

6:30 pm Dinner
– Enjoy Food from Around the World
– Wine, Bourbon & Whiskey Tasting
– Silent Auction

7:30 pm > Entertainment
– Live Music
– Cultural Dancing

Stay and enjoy the evening with music, friends and family

Ticket Options
General Admission Tickets > $40
General Admission Table of Eight > $300
VIP Tickets > $80 **Limited Quantity Available**
VIP Table of Eight > $640 **Limited Quantity Available**
– VIP tickets include premium seating, wine, bourbon & whiskey tasting

Limited seating, reserve seats early.

Tickets are available online. For ticket information call Kristyne Walth, Volunteer Coordinator, LSS Center for New Americans at 605-731-2009.

A pledge or contribution to support LSS services in the area will be requested.

If you are unable to attend but would like to make a donation; text TOC17 to 41444.  Your gift is greatly appreciated.




An Especially Merry Christmas!

January 16, 2017

Thanks to a generous donation from Christy Westermann and her fcshoppingteam at Howalt McDowell Insurance, children and youth in LSS’ Sioux Falls area Treatment Foster Care homes had an especially merry Christmas!  Christy and her team made a decision to make Christmas a little brighter for youth and families in the Sioux Falls area.  They not only made a donation, they also had a great time shopping for the gifts!

Our Treatment Foster Care team had a great time wrapping and delivering the gifts!

Through this donation, our LSS Treatment Foster Care families were blessed to be able to provide a wonderful Christmas experience for the children and youth living in their homes.  At a time of year where being away from family can be especially difficult for children living in foster care, this support in bringing them some extra joy is especially meaningful.  Thank you, Christy and your team Howalt McDowell Insurance!

LSS provides temporary care for children with medical, developmental, behavioral, and emotional challenges through our Treatment and Specialized Foster Care Services. If you would like more information about LSS Foster Care Services or are interested in becoming a foster parent, please contact Jill Jensen in Sioux Falls at 605-221-2419 or Jill.Jensen@LssSD.org or Mark Kiepke in Rapid City at 605-791-6730 or Mark.Kiepke@LssSD.org.

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