2017 Mentor Breakfast Recap

April 21, 2017

This week we celebrated mentors with our annual LSS Mentor Appreciation Breakfast. It was an amazing event and as always, reinforced the importance of mentoring. We owe thanks to the sponsors of the event – First PREMIER Bank/PREMIER Bankcard, Citibank, Sanford Health and Wells Fargo.

Mentors were welcomed with tables full of artwork and thank you cards made by students in the program. The notes were both heartwarming and funny. We will share more in a later post, but here is what just a few of them said:

Thank you for being my mentor. You are an awesome person to be with and talk to. I’m glad they picked you to be with me.

You have been the best mentor ever and it has been really fun spending time with you. You da boom!!!!

My mentor is a pretty cool guy and school would not be the same without him.

This year, the keynote was a panel that included Randy Bury, a longtime mentor; Moises Perez Quentanilla, a senior at Lincoln High School who has met with Randy for the past 11 years and Kerri Cox, the school counselor at Robert Frost Elementary. They shared great perspective and insight on mentoring and what it means to them. Kerri shared the many amazing moments she has been part of through mentoring. One of the most meaningful ones she shared was that a mentor went on to adopt his student. She also said how creative mentors are when they visit each week and that some people just love the break and the opportunity to just sit a color or play a board game in the middle of the day. Randy talked about how much Moises has grown. They recently went car shopping and Randy helped Moises pick out a new car. Moises shared that Randy is a terrible bowler and that he knows his life would be different if Randy was not part of it.

The event concluded with the presentation of the Outstanding Mentor, Outstanding Rookie and Community Partner Awards. Congratulations to Curt Lauret, Trey Townsend and Hegg Realtors for their accomplishments!

Trey came to mentor at Edison through an Augustana University education class in Spring 2016. Most of college students who are required to mentor only stay for the semester, but Trey wanted to stay with Gio and continue mentoring on his own. When Trey and Gio get together the room literally feels brighter and lighter. There is definitely a connection there that really works.

Curt has been a mentor for over 10 years. He has been mentoring the same student since he was a second grader and will continue to meet with him next year as he goes to middle school. Curt has been dependable, meeting his student where he is at and looking at what his needs are every week.

Just one year ago, Susan B. Anthony Elementary and Hegg formed a school/business partnership. The school relies on Hegg for help with unmet needs for their students, families as well as the school as a whole. When forming this partnership, the school stressed the need for more mentors for their students. At the end of last school year, there were about 20 mentors for Susan B. students. Right now, there are 40 thanks to the partnership with Hegg. There are currently 23 Hegg employees who mentor every week. Congratulations, Hegg and thank you for making mentoring a priority for your employees.

A big thanks to the Sioux Falls School District Community Relations team for creating the videos! It was a wonderful surprise to mentors at the breakfast and a great treat to hear from students who really enjoy their mentor.

As we wrap up the 2016-17 school year, LSS would like to sincerely thank all mentors who gave their time and energy each week!

Post By Michelle Madsen

What to Spend on Your New Home

April 20, 2017


Tired of renting?  Tired of the landlord?  Tired of the crazy neighbors doing who knows what and all kinds of hours?  Tired of nothing but white walls in your living space?  Tired of someone else parking in your parking space?  Tired of paying every month and getting nothing (except maybe part of your deposit) back when you move?  Perhaps it’s time to move out of your parents’ house…..

OK, so this probably isn’t your parents’ house anymore.  But it may still be time to move on.  Perhaps it’s time to look at buying your own home.  As our clients consider a home purchase, one of the most frightening issues they face is determining exactly how much they should spend on a home. Read the rest of this entry »

Outstanding Mentors 2017

April 18, 2017

LSS celebrates mentors by hosting a Mentor Appreciation Breakfast each April. This year, the event is set for Wednesday, April 19, 7:30-8:30 AM at The District.

At the event, mentors who have made extraordinary contributions are honored as Outstanding Mentors. Here is the list for 2017:

Lynn Bren, Mentor at Harrisburg High School, Employed at Claims Associates
Lynn has demonstrated her investment to her student and the mentor program through her consistency and dedication. Lynn utilizes her outgoing personality to connect with her student, and she manages to get him talking even though freshmen boys can be resistant to opening up. She utilizes creative techniques to understand the things happening in her students life through various questioning strategies as well as focusing on the student’s needs rather than her own agenda. She is persistent and positive and a great resource for her student.

Eric Erickson, Mentor at Hayward Elementary, Employed at SDN Communications
The Point is to Serve has partnered with Hayward for a number of years. One of the many ways they help is by encouraging members to mentor students at the school. Eric enthusiastically took that challenge several years ago. It has been thrilling to watch his relationship with his student blossom. The match has a lot of fun together and Eric teaches and models how to be a person of integrity. He student says, “He is always nice to people. He doesn’t yell. He helps me with reading, writing and math. He is a REALLY nice guy!”

Jill Hansen, Mentor at Dell Rapids Middle School, Employed at BX Civil and Construction
Every time Jill and her student together, it is evident they are having a great time! Jill is always respectful of her student and speaks in a way that matches her students maturity level. She is a very consistent volunteer too! Her student says, “I like how Jill always smiles, even on her bad days. She is always respectful of me and is good at finding a way to make me feel better even when she doesn’t know what is going on.” Her student loves having Jill as her mentor and often says that everyone should have someone in their life that isn’t family or teachers to talk to – someone like Jill.

Pam Harris, Mentor at Harrisburg South Middle School, Retired
Pam is an outstanding mentor for many reasons. Her student looks forward to Pam’s visits with excitement and joy. Her student can be a bit choosy about who she befriends, but once she connects with someone, she is fiercely loyal. Pam has been the perfect match for her student – able to provide that consistent support and kindness for years. Pam has show over and over how loving and selfless she can be. She is really something special to her student.

Jennifer Hintz, Mentor at Robert Frost Elementary, Sioux Falls Lutheran School
Jennifer found out about mentoring through social media. She has been mentoring for over two years and is a consistent and loving presence in her student’s life. Jennifer offers sincerity, steadfast support and deep level of caring when she mentors. She shows up and is fully present for her student each week. Her student has experienced many important losses – leaving school and mentoring as the two constants in their life.

Curt Lauret, Mentor at Laura B. Anderson Elementary, Employed at Wells Fargo
Curt has been a mentor for over ten years, and has been with the same student the past five years. His student says, “He is always very respectful and pushes me to do my best. I know he really cares about me when he gives me fist bumps when our mentor time is coming to an end.” With Curt’s steadiness and encouragement, his student has learned to be able to be more confident in the decisions that he needs to make.

Shirley Leach, Mentor at John Harris Elementary, Retired
Shirley focuses on being a consistent, positive and focused person in her students life. She truly wants to get to know her student better with each visit she makes. She is always looking for new ways to be a better mentor for her student. Most importantly, Shirley is adaptable – she has worked to grow with her student and find ways to meet the student where she is at.

Shane Matthys, Mentor at Memorial Middle School, Employed at Astrazeneca
Since he first met his student, Shane has been supportive and encouraging. He always wants to know how best to support his student and makes an effort not to miss a week of mentoring. His student cites Shane’s easy going nature as one of his favorite things about him. His student went on to say, “He’s been very helpful and we can talk about problems. He’s kind of like a friend to all.”

Mary Nelson, Mentor at Dell Rapids Elementary, Employed at Dell Rapids School District
Mary is committed and comes with a ready and willing heart to serve and care for her student. She is reliable, shows genuine concern for her student , is flexible and seems to really enjoy her time at the school each week. Mary’s personality and ability to relate well to others have been important trails that she has role modeled for her student. She is such a natural as a volunteer and has the true heart of a mentor.

Crystal Nesburg, Mentor at Dell Rapids Elementary, Employed at Citibank
Crystal is always smiling and genuinely loves mentoring! She is trustworthy and reliable in her commitment to volunteer. She makes her student feel so great! Her student has improved in their confidence, self-control, maturity in relationships with others and their ability to carry out positive behaviors.

Jan Noer, Mentor at Eugene Field, Retired
Jan is a very caring and special person. She is very involved in her dedication to mentoring and has helped her student in many ways. She mentors a very smart student who sometimes struggles with behavior. Her student is always on their best behavior with her and loves their time together. Jan is a very important person to her student.

Debbie Olson, Mentor at George McGovern Middle School, Employed at Sanford
Debbie has a great balance of being both nurturing and pragmatic. She has been with er student every step of the way, including following them to four different schools. Debbie has mentored for seven years. Although she has a very full and busy life, she has made her student a priority and has never wavered from her commitment. She is an example of someone who has come along side a child with the hope of truly making a difference in their life.

Cinda Ortman, Mentor at New Tech High, Retired
Cinda is consistent, committed and flexible. Her student trusts her and loves that Cinda is supportive and kind. Her student says, “She is always trying to make sure that we have time together every week. She is kind and thoughtful. She talks to me and listens to what I have to say.”

Zachary Seefeldt, Mentor at JFK, Employed at Southeastern Behavioral
Zachary exemplifies the meaning of a mentor and his relationship with her student is the perfect model of what mentoring can do for a child. When first asking for a mentor, Zachary’s student requested someone who liked Star Wars and sports. His student has shown great emotional growth – much of which is attributed to his friendship with Zachary. His student says, “Zach is really nice, not rude and has lots of friends…he encourages me to stay out of trouble and get help when I need it.”

Carol Twedt, Mentor at Susan B. Anthony Elementary, Retired
Carol’s student was difficult to build a relationship with when they first started meeting three years ago. He was guarded and made her prove that she was going to be a trusting adult. The first day mentors could visit this year, her student was so excited that he ran up to her and hugged her so tightly! They just picked up their relationship right where they left off last spring. Her student is now one that does not get in trouble at school and is more respectful, engaged in learning and puts forth effort.

Bob Wendland, Mentor at Eugene Field, Employed at Washington Pavilion
Bob is a very pleasant person and brings the arts into his time with his student. At one point this year, he mentored two students. He is very consistent and caring with his students. He puts other before him, especially the students he mentors. His student can sometimes struggle with behavior. He was able to quickly build a relationship with this student and enjoys his time with Bob. It is great that Bob can be a much needed male role model for this student.

Open Adoption – the Best Mother’s Day Gift

April 17, 2017

Every May LSS has an annual event to honor birth mothers. It provides them with an opportunity to visit with others who have traveled the same path in choosing to place their children for adoption. It serves as a support group as they struggle with grief and loss, but also allows them to celebrate their child. Read the rest of this entry »

One Night Makes All the Difference

April 12, 2017
Dueling Duo Pianos Show with/Dan Witte

Dueling Duo Pianos Show with/Dan Witte

Would you like to enjoy a fun-filled Saturday evening and support a great organization and a wonderful cause? If the answer is yes then please join Lutheran Social Services in Aberdeen for its annual benefit dinner and performance of Dueling Duo Pianos Show! This annual event goes to support the following programs in the Aberdeen area. Your attendance will help make a difference in many lives in the Aberdeen area.

  • 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 29, 2017
Silent Auction begins at 5 pm
Dinner and Program at 6 pm
Dueling Duo Pianos Show with/Dan Witte begins at 8 pm
The Ward Plaza Downtown Event Center
104 South Main Street, Aberdeen, SD

Ticket Information
Dinner Ticket: $12 each
Dueling Duo Piano Ticket: $20 each
Dinner & Dueling Duo Pianos Package: $30 each
Gifts & Pledges for LSS will be requested at the event.

Please RSVP  by calling Liesl Hovel at 605-262-6301, or by emailing Liesl.Hovel@LssSD.org by Friday, April 21. Click here to RSVP online.

Please join us April 29 to have some fun and help LSS strengthen individuals, families and Aberdeen area communities.

Liesl Hovel, Development Director, Northeast Region
LSS Development & Foundation

A Job Well Done

April 10, 2017

Monte 2Last week, a longtime employee of LSS Center for Financial Resources passed away. Monte Tschetter was a counselor with us for 16 years, most recently in our Huron office. He was a tremendous individual and a great person to work with. Over the years, we estimate that Monte helped about 4300 households with their finances.

Whether you were Monte’s co-worker or a client that met with him, the description of Monte is consistent and endearingly familiar:

  • Monte was helpful and courteous
  • Monte was a very well-spoken, open, honest person
  • I enjoyed working with Monte
  • Monte was great! He was very helpful in breaking down information that we didn’t think about
  • Monte was very respectful & slow to speak – always taking the time to listen first.
  • Monte was insightful and compassionate
  • Monte was intelligent
  • Monte was positive
  • Monte was very respectful & slow to speak – always taking the time to listen first.
  • Monte replied to my emails with a “yepper” – always made me chuckle

Monte was a support and an advocate for the clients he worked with at LSS. He also served as the Vice Chair of the Board for the State of South Dakota Independent Living Council Executive Group. This is a Governor appointed position that helps monitor agencies that serve individuals who are physically and mentally challenged. In addition to his 32 hour/week job at LSS, Monte worked full-time for Social Security as a Trust Reviewer/Fraud Coordinator/Claims Representative.  He truly worked tirelessly to help others.  Although we will miss him, we can’t help but believe that Monte is in a better place and was met with the words “Well done my good and faithful servant.”


thoughts contributed by Monte’s coworkers

Time for a Change

April 7, 2017

Spring is in the air! This morning I saw a bird singing on the parking ramp railing, and I even dared to wear sandals and capris this week.  Everywhere I look there is green grass poking up and any trace of snow has disappeared.  It’s certainly a time for renewing and growing.

Boxes, chairs, and tables ready for the big move to East Bank


With that being said, LSS Center for New Americans has been very busy this week packing for our move to the Campus on East Bank. After waiting, talking, touring, and waiting some more, it seems surreal to be packing up everything and moving into our new building.  Teachers and students alike are excited about the move.  For months students have been asking about the new building, and are so very eager to start this new chapter in their lives. Many students are happy about the little things (or maybe they are the big things) that will come with the new building such as a parking lot and a nearby bus stop.  Teachers are excited to have permanent classrooms and a place to call “ours.”


It is of course bittersweet to be leaving the building we have occupied for the past three years. I found I was a little teary eyed on Tuesday as we held our last classes in the “old school.”  However, my students were very happy to hear that the tables, the chairs, and (most importantly) the teachers, would be moving to the new school and would be greeting them when English class starts again.

Boxes and boxes all ready to go


Stacks of packed boxes and empty rooms greet us now, but soon we will be unpacking again and setting up new classrooms. It is time for our new journey to begin.  So this week, we are dreaming of the changes about to come…new building, new classrooms, new experiences…and it feels quite appropriate that spring is here now.

Posted by Heather Glidewell, ESL Instructor

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