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
www.LssSD.org


On the Road to Citizenship!

August 1, 2017

On Friday and Saturday mornings, something special takes place at the Center for New Americans. As soon as the doors open, about 100 adult students show up, eager, happy, and ready to work.  There are always lots of smiles and laughter, but the students come for some very serious work.

All of these students are refugees and immigrants who have lived in the United States for the past year or more, and now they want the opportunity to become citizens of this country where they have felt welcomed and secure, raised their families, paid taxes, and grown to love. These super dedicated students take time out of their lives, their work schedules, their families, to come and learn about U.S. history, U.S. civics, and U.S. geography.  Students learn how to read and write English and build confidence in their listening and speaking skills. They faithfully come to Citizenship class, because they all share the hope and dream of becoming a citizen themselves…some day!

Sitting alongside these students are classroom volunteers. Just like the students they help, these volunteers set aside time out of their busy weekly schedules to make a difference. Being a volunteer is an invaluable experience.  Here are a few of the benefits of being a volunteer:

  • Enjoy helping others learn
  • Give back to the community
  • Become aware of needs in the community
  • Share valuable skills and knowledge
  • Learn about new cultures
  • Help people understand American culture, history, and the English language
  • Build bridges across cultures
  • Make new friends
  • Discover and build new skills and ideas
  • Have an overall positive experience

What does it take to become a U.S. Citizen?

The U.S. naturalization process is an expensive and difficult process. Candidates for naturalization need to undergo and pass an intensive interview in English.

Candidates must then undergo an oral examination on U.S. history and government where they must listen to and correctly answer six out of ten questions that are randomly chosen from 100 possible civics, history, and geography questions. Would you pass? The USCIS has an online practice test: https://my.uscis.gov/prep/test/civics

Finally candidates are required to demonstrate their English reading and writing ability. Candidates must pass all three exams before being recommended for citizenship (naturalization).

Want to be a citizenship classroom volunteer?

Contact Kristyne.Walth@lsssd.org.

Need free citizenship classes?

You can receive free citizenship classes if you bring your green card. Call 731-2000 to schedule an enrollment appointment for the next class session.

Want help filling out the “citizenship application” or N-400?

Call 731-2000 to schedule an appointment with an immigration attorney for reduced or free rates.

Want to know more about the process of becoming a citizen?

Visit the USCIS website https://www.uscis.gov/ for details.

Written by Heather Glidewell

 


A Summer of New Experiences

August 1, 2017

Imagine for a moment some of the tasks on your to-do list this week. Chances are a lot of things on the list are “just get it done” tasks, the kind of thing you have to remember to do, but you don’t think about very much –picking up prescriptions, grabbing groceries for the week, scheduling a dental appointment for your child.

Now imagine you’ve been dropped off in a totally new country – a place where people don’t speak your language, you don’t get food at the same kind of store, and you have no idea who to call or even if you can call to make that dentist appointment. Suddenly, that “just get it done” to-do list has become full of looming, seemingly impossible tasks. Common activities are suddenly hopelessly confusing. This is the reality for many refugee families when they first arrive in the United States.

This summer I’ve had the pleasure to work with many of Sioux Falls’ refugee families through an internship at the LSS Center for New Americans. When refugees arrive in Sioux Falls, they are assigned a set of LSS case managers. These case managers have varying specialties, such as locating housing, navigating the medical system, finding employment, and enrolling children in public school.   However, I think of myself as the luckiest person working here, because, as the intern, I get to help out in all of these specialties.

Leigha Vilen

CNA Intern Leigha Vilen

As someone who has never spent much time outside the United States (I thought the move to college was a big transition!), I have been awed and inspired by the resilience of the refugee families we work with as they negotiate living within an unfamiliar culture. The role of the caseworker is primarily as a facilitator, helping to navigate the challenges created by this unfamiliarity. Our clients take this little bit of help and use it to build amazing futures: achieving new educational goals, advancing in their careers, and creating the best possible futures for their children and grandchildren.

Leigha working at her desk

Leigha working at her desk.

I owe LSS and the families I was lucky enough to work with a huge thank you for an amazing summer. I came in hoping to learn a little bit about social work and refugee resettlement, but I’m walking away with a vision of what the American Dream can look like at its best.

 

Leigha Vilen

Summer 2017 Intern, LSS Center for New Americans


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


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


THANK YOU!

May 10, 2017

Thank you to all donors, volunteers and businesses who helped make the LSS Benefit Dinner in Aberdeen a huge success!

Thank You to Our Sponsors

South Dakota Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; L&S Agency; Lutheran Disaster Response; Aberdeen Federal Credit Union; Molded Fiber Glass; Plains Commerce Bank; Runnings; Aberdeen American News; Aberdeen Development Corporation; Dakota Broadcasting; Harr Motors; Lamar Advertising; Malchow’s Home Furnishings; Moccasin Creek Country Club; Sanford Health Aberdeen; US Bank; Bremer Photography; Health Care Plus Federal Credit Union; South Dakota Wheat Growers; 3M; Aberdeen Hearing Clinic; Aberdeen Parks & Recreation; Aberdeen Sports Recreation; Aberdeen Wings North American Hockey League; Advanced Auto; Airport Travel Center & Café; Ashley’s Furniture; Bethlehem Lutheran; Betty Tewksbury; BoHo Closet Boutique; Bremer Photography; Buffalo Wings & Rings; Butler Machinery; Canaries Baseball; Caribou Coffee; Courtyard Suites by Marriot, Sioux Falls; Crawford Trucks & Equipment, Inc.; Culver’s; Dairy Queen; Dakota Sioux Casino, Watertown; Dempsey’s Brewery Pub Restaurant, Watertown; The Flame; Foote Creek Bed & Breakfast; Gold Dust Casino and Hotel; Good Shepherd Lutheran; Heiser’s Jewelry; Herberger’s; Hitch’N Post Western Wear; Holiday Inn Express; Home 2 Suites by Hilton, Sioux Falls; Jimmy John’s Restaurant; The Junction; Kathy Bangasser; Ken’s Super Fair Foods; Kessler’s Food & Liquor; Lamont Companies; Mac Tools; Marlin’s Family Restaurant; Maurices; Mavericks Steak & Cocktails, Deadwood; Max & Erma’s; The Millstone Family Restaurant; O’Reilly Auto Parts; The Oil Room; Perkins Restaurant & Bakery; Philip’s Diner, Sioux Falls; Phnom Penh Restaurant, Sioux Falls; Pizza Ranch, Aberdeen; Pizza Ranch, Watertown; Pounder’s Pub & Grub; Pro Nails; Quality Quick Print; Riddle’s Jewelry; Ruby Tuesday; Super 8; Starbucks; Target; Texas Road House, Sioux Falls; Tip & Toe Nails Salon; Titan Machinery; TownePlace Suites by Marriot; Twist Cone; Wal-Mart; Watertown Confectionery; and Wells Fargo Bank.

A Special Thank You

A special thank you to Pastor Cassandra Lamb, Deacon Kris Wollman, Lori Langford, Pastor Tim Sersen, Dixie Garrett, Dan Huettl, Lew Koch, Pastor Rhia Strohm, Tasha Hoeltzner and Adrianne Korbakes for all of your involvement and volunteering your time. Thank you also to The Dueling Duo Pianos Show with Dan Witte.

Money raised at the LSS Annual Benefit Dinner will stay right here in Aberdeen, SD. The money raised will go to support LSS services such as Counseling Services, EAP, Center for Financial Resources, Adoption Services, Pregnancy Counseling, Foster Care, Kinship Services, Residential Services for Children and Youth–New Beginnings Center, Disaster Response Services and Community Resource Program.

Liesl Hovel, LSS Development & Foundation
Development Director, Northeast Region
110 6th Ave SE, Suite 200, Aberdeen, SD  57401
605-262-6301 direct, 605-290-2533 cell, 605-262-6357 fax
Liesl.Hovel@LssSD.org
www.LssSD.org


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