Dream Series – That New Ride

August 31, 2017

If you are anywhere NEAR my generation, you’ve watched “The Price is Right” more than once.  Maybe not an entire episode, but at least segments of it.  Come on, who can’t resist Plinko?!?  A close second to that level of excitement was when the announcer (Rod Roddy, if you are my era), was asked what’s behind the curtain.  “Well, Bob, it’s…… A NEW CAR!”  And everybody went wild.  The really good ones were when the contestant playing the game flat out ended up on the floor in excitement.  That’s some good entertainment right there. Read the rest of this entry »

LSS Foundation Founders Family & Distinguished Partners Luncheon

August 30, 2017

You may have heard us describe the LSS mission as a ministry of presence. But what exactly does that mean? Our programs are designed to meet people where they are in life—without judgment, to provide hope and healing, and to offer a chance for them to change their future. But the truth is our ministry is brought to life, sustained and performed by you—our supporters, partners and advocates.

On August 18, we paid tribute to those who breathe life into our mission at our annual LSS Foundation Founders Family & Distinguished Partners luncheon at Callaway’s in Sioux Falls.

The LSS Foundation Founders Family was established in 1994 to honor those who have committed to establishing a lasting legacy with either a significant gift to the LSS Foundation or by planning a gift to LSS beyond their lifetime.

Since its inception, the LSS Foundation has disbursed more than $2.5 million to continue the mission of LSS and this fund continues to grow each year thanks to our many generous supporters who make our mission a part of their legacy.

This year we welcomed two such supporters as new members of the LSS Foundation Founders Family. We are grateful for their consideration. To learn more about the LSS Foundation Founders Family please click here.

One of the many blessings of living in South Dakota is living in a community of shared values such as the value of caring compassion for each other. These values are reflected not only in our individuals, but in our communities, our churches and in our corporations. At this event, we also celebrated those relationships and payed particular thanks to our 2017 Distinguished Partners.


First PREMIER Bank/PREMIER Bankcard representatives – 2017 Distinguished Corporate Partner of the Year

Distinguished Corporate Partner of the Year

Over the past 10 years, more than 200 First PREMIER/PREMIER Bankcard employees have contributed 15,000 plus hours of contact with at-risk youth in the Sioux Falls community. In addition to encouraging volunteers, First PREMIER/PREMIER Bankcard has stepped up to financially support the mission of LSS with annual sponsorship of LSS events included the Mentoring Services Recognition Breakfast, Doing Good on the Green golf event in Watertown, and a recent leadership gift through the Sioux Falls Chamber Community Appeals Fund Drive which helped make the LSS Campus on East Bank dream a reality. We are truly grateful and honored by the many gifts of funding and volunteers provided by First PREMIER Bank/PREMIER Bankcard.


Dale McElhany, Watertown – 2017 Distinguished Volunteer of the Year

Distinguished Volunteer of the Year

This year LSS hosted the seventh-annual Doing Good on the Green in Watertown. This golf tournament has grown to be an annual attraction for golfers from all over the state (and some as far as Arizona). But this event would not be possible if not for the leadership, vision and passion of its founder. Dale McElhany is the proud and very much deserving recipient of the 2017 LSS Distinguished volunteer of the year award.

Touched by adoption through LSS himself, Dale has been a passionate advocate for LSS adoption services. He has made it his mission to provide assistance to families that want nothing more than to experience the love of a child. Dale’s stewardship of this event has helped raise more than $100,000 for services in the Watertown area, providing numerous scholarships to create happy families through LSS Adoption Services.

Thank you Dale for all you do for LSS and for your community.


Jim Schade & Kathy McHenry, Lutheran Planned Giving of South Dakota – 2017 Distinguished Faith Partner of the Year

Distinguished Faith Partner of the Year

LSS is a ministry of the ELCA in South Dakota and we would certainly not be able to fulfill this mission without the many congregations, church organizations and faith partners who walk with us to bare witness to this mission. This year LSS is proud to recognize Lutheran Planned Giving of South Dakota with special recognition of Jim Schade and Kurt Osborne. For more than 20 years, Jim and Kurt have had a long, deep and profoundly committed involvement with LSS. Both have served on the LSS Governing and Foundation Board of Directors. Kurt has served as the Chair of the Governing Board and Jim and his wife Nancy are members of Founders Family.

They have committed their time and talents to fulfill the vision and mission of LSS. They have met with countless individuals and families to help guide their decisions about legacy gifts and it is safe to say that we would not have the LSS Endowment Fund that we have today without their careful stewardship. Both are moving on to new adventures but we know that their passion and commitment to LSS will remain and for that we are extremely grateful.

Thank you to all our distinguished partners and thank you to our many wonderful supporters who have committed to creating a lasting legacy of Strengthening Individuals, Families & Communities.

Jamie Lennon, Development Director
LSS Development & Foundation

Dream Series – Building the Nest Egg

August 24, 2017

I’ve got some crazy dreams for my life – let me tell you.  I would love to travel more, have a little bigger house, buy a pick-up again, have a small sailboat, build a strip-built kayak, go back to school for a master’s….. oh, there is so much I could do.

If you can’t tell, I can easily be a spender.  Even as a ‘certified consumer credit counselor’, spending money could easily become a regular habit for me.  That’s why I always appreciate clients who specifically state ‘saving more money’ as one of their personal goals.  And when they say it, I have to agree, that sounds like a good goal for me too.  Yeah, sure.  I want to save more money too.  Read the rest of this entry »

Saying Goodbye to a Great Volunteer

August 18, 2017

Volunteer Riley, Teacher Heather, and Teacher Amy at the Center for New Americans

Thank You Riley!
Volunteers are a vital part of the learning experience in our adult learner English classes. Volunteers decide to help with classes for various reasons. Volunteering is a great way to build confidence, feel a connection to society, develop new social skills, make friendships, be a role model, and share skills and talents with others.
Volunteers at LSS range in age from 18 to 80, and include current and former students, university students, work and church groups, retirees, and a myriad of others. These volunteers want to give back to our community and help others.
For the past year, we have had the privilege to have Riley join our intermediate classes as a volunteer. This past June, we had to say goodbye to Riley as she and her husband moved to Georgia for a new work opportunity.
Although many of our volunteers are local residents, Riley is originally from China. Volunteering is an excellent way for non-native English speakers to strengthen their language skills and help others in the process.
Riley became a volunteer at LSS, “Because I like helping people and one of my Chinese friends who learned and volunteered at LSS recommended LSS for me.”
Volunteers do many things in the classrooms at LSS. They may help students in a variety of ways to work on reading and writing skills, speaking and listening skills. When asked what Riley enjoys the most about being a volunteer, she said, “I enjoyed talking with students in the oral class to help them to improve oral English and discussing with students in the writing class to help them to improve writing skills.”
Riley’s favorite experience being a volunteer was, “that I learned English skills from teachers and knew different cultures from students.” She also greatly enjoyed the classroom activities for holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year.
I asked Riley what her plans are for the future, and she said, “I hope that I could always be happy and healthy and realize self-worth.” Riley hopes volunteer again in the future because she believes that volunteering helps to better oneself and it is very important to her to help others.

THANKS for Doing Good on the Green

August 16, 2017

The 7th annual LSS Golf Tournament at Cattail Crossing Golf Course in Watertown was another success! All funds raised go toward client services in the Watertown area – strengthening individuals and families. Services include adoption services, mental health counseling, and financial counseling and education.

We would like to say a special thank you to Reliabank, our presenting sponsor, along with the following sponsors:

Dale McElhany welcomed 84 registered golfers before teeing off at the 7th Annual LSS Golf Tournament in Watertown.

Dennis & Shirley Larson
Falcon Tour River Adventures
First Premier Bank
Sharp Automotive
Diamond Realty
Larry’s Lumber
First Bank & Trust
Aason Engineering
KWAT Radio
KXLG Radio
Macksteel Warehouse
Citi-Wide Property Management

We would like to send a special thank you to Levi Pearson and everyone at Cattail Crossing Golf Course for always helping us put on an amazing golf tournament!

We want to recognize Dale McElhany for his vision and efforts in helping to put this golf tournament together each year!

Betty Oldenkamp, LSS President/CEO and Mary Johnson, LSS Counseling Services in Watertown, pay tribute to Ronald Flemming, who dedicated 25 years to LSS prior to passing away almost a year ago.

This year, we had the privilege to pay tribute to Ron Flemming, who was a LSS clinical therapist for 25 years. Ron passed away less than a year ago and he touched many lives during the time he was with LSS. A print was dedicated to the Watertown LSS Counseling office in Ron’s honor for his dedicated service, devotion and commitment to LSS.

Following 18-holes of golf, golfers enjoyed a steak dinner and learned more about the many LSS services in the Northeast.

We would like to acknowledge all of the participating golfers and volunteers from the LSS Golf Tournament! We truly have such a smooth process with these events because of our wonderful volunteers!

Have we said THANK YOU yet?
We truly appreciate all of you.


Liesl Hovel, Development Director, Northeast Region
LSS Development & Foundation
605-262-6301 direct,  Liesl.Hovel@lsssd.org

Better Together Coming to Brookings!

August 9, 2017

Better Together, a program of Lutheran Social Services designed to improve quality of life activities for older adults will expand to Brookings this fall!

The program started in Sioux Falls in January 2015 in collaboration with the Sioux Empire United Way. In early 2017, LSS contracted with a consulting firm to look at opportunities to expand the program beyond Sioux Falls. Brookings was the community identified through this process as being the most capable and ready for Better Together.

To help carry out the program in Brookings, LSS has partnered with the Volunteer Service Bank. This organization, embarking on its 25th year of service will assist with local coordination and will help both volunteers and seniors get started.


In the program, trained volunteers will be matched with an older adult based on similar interests and schedule. Volunteer and older adult matches will spend four hours per month together going on outings, talking, pursuing hobbies, and other relationship-building activities.

With nearly half of people aged 65 and older in South Dakota living alone, there is need to use volunteers to help maintain or reestablish a connection to their community.

If you are interested in being one of the first to volunteer for the program in Brookings, apply here. If you know of an older adult who would benefit from this service, please let them know to call us at 444-7801 or complete an intake application.

Meet Eric and Ethan

August 4, 2017

Eric Sather was involved with coordinating the youth group at First Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls and wanted to do more to impact young people in our community. He was visiting with a mentor of his own about this, and they pointed him to LSS. Eric applied and as they say, the rest is history.

Eric, who works at Scheel’s, said he has found mentoring to be a great way to give back. He has mentored for several years and has been matched with Ethan for the past five. The two enjoy their weekly meetings and Eric is quick to point out that Ethan has thanked him for coming every week.

“Kids are the next generation and we need to do all we can to help them start on the right foot,” said Eric. “Having adults spend time with them and having someone to look up to is so important.”

Ethan, who will be a 7th grader at Memorial Middle School says, “Having a mentor is like having a dad that you just talk with and there are not any distractions.” He and Eric have played a lot of games over the years (Ethan says they are both very competitive) and have visited a lot.

Ethan has plans to be a mechanical engineer someday and knows having Eric by his side will only help him in achieving his goals. They have grown personally through their relationship and look forward to the future. Ethan had one last comment that he wanted to make sure got included, “Eric is awesome!”

Wouldn’t it be great if more kids could say they had an awesome friend like Eric in their life? As we approach the back to school season, please apply today to volunteer to mentor and befriend a child in our community this year.

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