April, 2021 was another busy month at LSS Mentoring Services! Here are three things that stood out this month.
ONE – Winner, Winner!
We applied for funding from the Lyon County Riverboat Days and were awarded an $1,800 grant. The much needed funds will go towards covering monthly events for our LSS Climb matches. Each month, the matches are invited to participate in a group activity. We will now have funds available to help pay various admission charges, provide a meal or purchase supplies. This will help offset the costs for mentors and will give kids in the program some new opportunities to experience Sioux Falls.
For example, last month the group went bowling at Suburban Lanes. It was a great night and many of the kids first time bowling ever. Matches were responsible for their shoe rental, but if we take the group bowling again LSS would be able to cover that cost for mentors and kids. Thank you, Lyon County Riverboat Days and Grand Falls Casino for your support!
TWO – Learning & Teaching
April was full of great training opportunities – both for our volunteers and staff. LSS hosted a training with Keystone Treatment Center and also with the LSS Street Outreach Program for mentors. We were able to help volunteers learn a little bit more about some tough issues kids are dealing with and how to work with us on prevention efforts. Each month we have a support training scheduled. In May, we will learn more about Mental Health First Aid with a professional from Southeastern Behavioral Health. And in June, we will have a presentation on LGBTQ+ with The Transformation Project.
LSS staff was also hard at work updating our volunteer orientation. We are continually looking through the newest resources and get so excited to share those with mentors!
Lastly, our staff was able to partake in staff development trainings. The program is on its way to becoming certified in Disability Youth Mentoring through a course from the Partners for Youth with Disabilities. We are learning a lot and know how to better support youth of all abilities. Staff also enjoyed a three-day presentation from the Search Institute on developmental assets.
THREE – Appreciation
We were able to show our volunteers some appreciation by coordinating an effort to collect handwritten notes from students and our Better Together neighbors. The love was felt for sure! We could write a whole post about this – and we might do just that soon – but for now, here is one touching card we received:
I am really glad to have a Better Together match. My friend (volunteer) comes to see me whenever he can and sometimes even takes time out from his work to come to visit me. I really had fun and enjoyed myself the night we went to the Women’s Basketball game at SDSU and I had a lot of fun the night you took me out for ice cream, then we went to look at Christmas Lights. If you would have never started to be my friend I probably would still be just sitting around being depressed and isolated in my apartment. I think I have the best friend anyone could ever have and I hope you will be my friend for a long time to come.
We hope this match will be together for a long time to come, too!
April was a great month and we are excited to see what may come next month. Check out a few photos of our April activities below. If you’d like to be part of Mentoring, we are always looking for people to get involved. Send us an email to Mentoring@LssSD.org or call us at 605-444-7803 for more information!
Post by Michelle Madsen