School Attendance and Student Behavior Training Opportunities

April 27, 2017

LSS Mentoring Services invites people to join us for two training opportunities in May.

On Monday, May 8, Traci Jensen will talk about how schools respond to attendance issues. Traci works in Student Support Services for the Sioux Falls School District. When a student is identified as having attendance issues, a team of professionals work together to get students to school. Traci will also share what the role of Social Workers in the schools and what students needs are. Please Please email us at or call 444-7803 to RSVP for this session on May 8, 12-1 PM at LSS, 705 E 41st Street.

The second training in May will focus on student behavior. On May 17, Paula Terpstra, Counselor at Horace Mann will present on student behavior. She will focus on elementary aged children and will talk about the Boys Town Model for managing challenging behaviors. The model relies on healthy relationships for children at school as well as explicit teaching of social skills. The model has been used for more than 30 years by Boys Town and has been used in the Sioux Falls School District for the past few years. Please email us at or call 444-7803 to RSVP for this session on May 17 at Horace Mann Elementary, 1401 E 26th Street.

The Gift of a Lifetime: Bequests

April 26, 2017

Lutheran Social Services has recently received funds from several estates of donors who wanted to leave a legacy of hope for those we serve. These funds are put into our Foundation, with the interest earned each year by the fund going to LSS programs to strengthen individuals, families and communities.

If you don’t have a plan for your estate, now is the time to make one! LSS staff can help you decide the best way to meet the needs of your family while leaving a legacy gift that will help LSS fulfill their mission for years to come. Step by step guides available on the Lutheran Planned Giving of South Dakota website will allow you to explore a variety of planned gift options to meet your needs and your goals. View your own personal Illustration to see the benefits of a plan for you.

A charitable bequest is one of the easiest ways you can leave a lasting impact on your favorite ministries. A bequest may be made in your will or trust directing a gift to LSS. There are several benefits to you with a bequest:

  • Receive an estate tax charitable deduction
  • Lessen the burden of taxes on your family
  • Leave a lasting legacy for LSS

A bequest is one of the simplest gifts to make. With the help of an advisor, you can include language in your will or trust specifying a gift to be made to family, friends, church, and LSS as part of your estate plan. A bequest may be made in several ways:

  • Gift of a percentage of your estate
  • Gift of a specific dollar amount or asset
  • Gift from the balance or residue of your estate

Here are some examples of bequest language;  please feel free to change the numbers or percentages as you desire.

  1. Bequest of cash: “I bequeath the sum of $10,000 to Lutheran Social Services of SD.”
  2. Bequest of a percent of the estate: “I devise and bequeath 20% of the remainder and residue of property owned at my death, whether real or personal, and wherever located to Lutheran Social Services of SD.”
  3. Contingent Bequest: “If my brother John Doe survives me, I devise and bequeath 20% of the remainder and residue of property owned at my death, whether real or personal, and wherever located to John Doe. If John Doe does not survive me, then I devise and bequeath 20% of my residuary estate, whether real or personal property and wherever located to Lutheran Social Services of SD.”

A retirement asset, such as an IRA account, also makes an excellent bequest to LSS. If the IRA were given to your family, much of the value may be lost through estate and income taxes. By designating LSS as the beneficiary of all or part of your IRA (using a beneficiary designation form provided by your custodian), the full value of the gift is transferred tax-free at your death and your estate receives an estate tax charitable deduction.

Please contact Linda Jensen at LSS if you are interested in setting up an appointment with LSS staff. There is no obligation when you schedule a visit!

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

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 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

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