Dream Series – Where the Heck Are We?!?

July 20, 2017

This post continues our Dream Series of blog posts.

You get the phone call……Woman on phone in car

“Hey, I’m lost.  Can you help me find my way back?”

“OK, where are you?”

“I don’t know.  I’m lost.  That’s why I called in the first place!  Can’t you just give me directions to get back?”

“Ummmmmmm…..” Read the rest of this entry »


Doing Good on the Green

July 19, 2017

LSS Watertown Golf Tournament 2017
FRIDAY, AUGUST 4

It’s time to pull your teams together for the
7th Annual LSS Watertown Golf Tournament.


Work hard during the week….and give yourself a break.
Mark your calendars for Friday, August 4.
Get a team of four and golf until you can’t golf anymore!

Come and join us at the Cattail Crossing Golf Course.
Registration starts at 11 am with a shotgun start at noon.

  • $320 per team, or $80 per individual player
  • Fee includes team of four, 18 hole golf, 2 mulligans per individual, cart and enjoy a steak dinner.
  • Senior division included.
  • Register Today!

This golf tournament began with a vision from Dale McElhany, past LSS Foundation Board Member, and David Johnson, CEO of Reliabank. The goal is to raise funds and awareness of LSS services in the Watertown area which include Counseling Services, Center for Financial Resources and Adoption Services.

Because of this golf tournament, LSS has been able to provide adoption scholarships to local families. This is possible through help from our sponsors:

Reliabank
Dennis & Shirley Larson
Clark County Chapter of Thrivent Financial
First Premier Bank
Aason Engineering
KWAT Radio
KXLG Radio
Citi-Wide Property Management

If you or your business would like to sponsor this tournament or put a team together for a day of golf and good times, please contact:

Liesl Hovel, LSS Development Director
605-262-6301 | 605-290-2533 | 800-584-9248
Liesl.Hovel@LssSD.org | www.LssSD.org


A Refugee Camp in Sioux Falls?

July 18, 2017

Yes!  On June 20th, visitors to the Center for New Americans got to experience an interactive refugee camp and learn more about the journey of a refugee around the world.  The event was organized to celebrate World Refugee Day; the international observance dedicated raising awareness of the refugee situation around the world.

On this warm Tuesday lunch hour, 250 people from the Sioux Falls community walked in the footsteps of refugees – from fleeing their home country to being resettled in America.  Interactive stations were available along the way to show the realities of the refugee resettlement process.  Visitors began at the border crossing, where they were questioned as to why they fled their home country. As they gained their refugee stamp book, they learned that by the end of 2016, there were 22.5 million refugees in the world and yet less than 1% of them ever find a permanent home.

From there, the new “refugees” then made their way to a Distribution Center to get supplies for their time in a refugee camp.  Real-life former refugees told stories of their time in the camps and what conditions were truly like before the “refugees” learned about the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program.  An Immigration attorney was available to answer questions as to how the immigration process happens, what kind of security clearances are required and who is approved to come to the United States.

Finally, the “refugees” had to learn about the culture of America, before they could be approved to fly overseas.  When they arrived to America, they were welcomed into LSS to see how refugees are integrated into the community and become self-sufficient.  Tours of the new LSS Campus on Eastbank, which houses the Center for New Americans, were available along with refreshments for the weary travelers.

This interactive event was co hosted by:  LSSSD, Refugee Congress, Caminando Juntos, the Multi Cultural Center, and Pax Christi.  Organizers of the event would like to extend their thanks to Mogadishu Grocery store for providing the supplies for the Distribution Center and Swamp Daddy’s Cajun Kitchen for being on site to offer food to visitors.  We would also like to say thank you to the volunteers who helped set up and participate in the event.  Finally, we would also like to say a big thank you to everyone came to the event!

Check out Keloland and KSFY for videos of the event.

 

written by Kristyne Duffy, Volunteer Coordinator, Center for New Americans


Misconceptions about Open Adoption

July 17, 2017

Here are a few common misconceptions on how open adoptions work.

  1. Open adoption is confusing to the child. This is false! Children growing up in open adoptions do understand the difference between parents and birth parents. In healthy open adoptions, both adoptive and birth parents help define their own roles and responsibilities.
  2. Open adoption is a form of co-parenting. This is false! Open adoption is not shared custody between adoptive and birth parents. Adoptive parents have full legal responsibilities over the child once the adoption is complete.
  3. All open adoptions eventually turn into closed adoptions at some point. This is false! As in any relationship, contact with one another can change as life events happen. It is important that the unique relationships formed through open adoption are recognized and honored. All relationships involve challenges at some point. The key to positive relationships is mutual understanding and respect. When children know their adoption story from the very beginning there is less chance for resentment about being adopted.

Adoptive and birth parents are supported through each stage of the adoption process at LSS. Birth parents receive free options counseling and decision making services. Adoptive parents are provided education to equip them for successful adoptions. For more information on how open adoption works, or for pregnancy counseling services, contact LSS at 605-221-2346, toll free at 888-201-5061, or http://www.LssSD.org.

-Submitted by Hayley Van Den Brink, Supervisor, Adoption Program


B-I-N-G-O!

July 13, 2017

The LSS Better Together program is hosting a BINGO Night – and the public is invited to join. BINGO Night will be on August 15, 6-7:30 PM at LSS, 705 E 41st Street.

The LSS Better Together program connects volunteers with older adults. Since beginning in 2015, the program has worked with over 60 matches. However, we know that there are more older adults who need a friendly visit and occasional help to get things done. 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.

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.

If you know an older adult who would benefit from having a volunteer through the Better Together program, please let us know! We want to be a service to the community and connect seniors with resources they need.

To register for BINGO Night on August 15, call LSS at 605-221-2403 or email us at Mentoring@LssSD.org. 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.

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net


A Success Story

July 10, 2017

Nadifa

I first met Nadifa six years ago – a bright-eyed, inquisitive young girl. And today, with this blog, I am proud to introduce to you a still bright-eyed, inquisitive young lady: Nadifa, US citizen.

Born in the North African nation of Chad, Nadifa spent most of her life in Cameroon before coming to Sioux Falls with her parents, three brothers, three sisters and her grandmother. Nadifa was full of questions, she wanted to know everything, she wanted to learn everything she didn’t have the opportunity to learn back in Africa. Soon, her school enrolled her and her brother in a tutoring program to help with English and other subjects taught in American schools. I became their tutor. Nadifa’s brain was like a sponge, asking for more and more and more.

From the moment she set foot on American soil Nadifa was happy. Why? I asked her. Because, she said, everything is readily available here, we don’t have to walk for a long, long time just to pick up the bare necessities. And my whole family, we can all be together. And after 6 1/2 years in Sioux Falls, Nadifa is still happy. She values the educational opportunities available to her, as a woman, here in Sioux Falls. She graduated from high school and is continuing her education. She is studying sociology at USD, hoping to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in 2020 and at the same time is working full-time as a food ambassador at Avera. She is proud of her independence – she has her own apartment, her own car and her own money – yet stays close to her family. Family, she says, is so very important, they are the best support system, they will always stick together.

After graduation, Nadifa hopes to find a job where she can help people – refugees, immigrants, actually anybody and everybody. She likes to keep busy. So, besides school and work, she volunteers at CNA as a classroom tutor, helping immigrants learn English, the first step to becoming a citizen. Was it important for her to become a citizen? Yes, definitely. I like living in the US, she says, and I feel much safer being a citizen. Going to high school here and learning about history and government helped her with preparing for the naturalization test.

And how is life different for young ladies here in the United States? She thinks that some of them take advantage of the freedom they have here. They are easily influenced by their peers and the local environment and they lose sight of their dreams and goals. She says she was raised to cover up – to cover her head and to cover her body with appropriate clothing. And she still dresses that way. In high school, she says, she was often teased by her peers, “Why don’t you upgrade to America?” But Nadifa didn’t feel the need to do that. She says, it’s important to feel comfortable with yourself, to always be yourself and do the right thing for yourself. And to never forget the value of family.

Always encourage – never criticize

Work hard and never stop dreaming

 

Written by Silke Hansen, ESL Instructor


Raven employee sees value in giving back

July 7, 2017

After about a month on her new job at Raven Industries, Sara Lopez-Jauregui knew she wanted to volunteer to mentor. “Raven has a culture of service and volunteering, so it was easy to get started,” said Sara. She met with a student at Edison for a few years. When that student changed schools, she was matched with Ashley. The two have been together the past three years.

“We have a lot in common and also have a good connection that makes me look forward to seeing Ashley each week,” said Sara. The two have made the best of their time together. In addition to the typical mentor activities of playing a game and chatting, the two have used the foods classroom to cook together! They have made lots of different cookies and pancakes.

“I am happier when she’s around,” said Ashley. “She gives me courage to talk with friends.” Ashley and Sara also talk about being women in typically male-dominated careers. Sara works in the Ag division at Raven, and Ashley is interested in construction.

Ashley was very excited to get a mentor like Sara and looks forward to continuing their relationship in the future. She is looking forward to meeting with Sara in high school through the LSS USucceed program. She says the first thing she wants to do is take Sara to McDonald’s since Sara has bought that for her before. They both say the best thing about mentoring is that it is fun! And while they are anticipating more fun together in the coming year, it is evident that both Ashley and Sara have gotten something they needed as a result of this relationship.


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