Today is the day!

April 4, 2016

Today marks the beginning of a bright new chapter in the history of LSS.

April 4, 2016 will be remembered as the day that launched LSS into its second century of service to the people of South Dakota. Today is the day that LSS officially launches its campaign to create “The Campus on East Bank” in downtown Sioux Falls.

More than five years ago, LSS began to dream of opportunities which might lie before the agency. One of those opportunities was to have a single facility in Sioux Falls which would house multiple services in one convenient location in the downtown core of the city. The new facility would provide greater visibility, be in a campus-like setting with adequate parking, have convenient access to public transportation and allow room to grow.

In the summer of 2013, we shared that dream with the business community of Sioux Falls and were excited by the positive response we received. In November 2013, we presented our dream and our plan to the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce Community Appeals Committee and in February 2014 they told us they shared our dream and granted us approval to conduct a fundraising campaign to raise $1.25 million from Chamber members.

LSS.EB.DigiAd.300x250Two years have passed since that day in February when we learned of the Committee’s decision. There have been many twists and turns, starts and stops along the way. Yet we have never wavered in our dream, nor in our work toward realizing it.

And we will realize it. Thanks to the determined and positive leadership of our campaign co-chairs Tom Dempster and Fred Slunecka, our nine team captains and more than 80 Chamber volunteers, we will hit the streets of Sioux Falls to make more than 400 personal solicitations of Chamber members.

We will succeed and soon we will have a permanent home for our Center for New Americans, Center for Financial Resources, Counseling Services, Mentoring Services, Fatherhood & Re-entry Services and possibly LSS administration in the former Kilian Community College property adjacent to the Big Sioux River on 6th Street in downtown Sioux Falls.

Yes…Today Is The Day!

Bill Peterson
LSS Vice President, Development & Foundation

6 Ways to Strengthen Your Relationship

February 13, 2015

Happy mature coupleValentine’s Day is a day that some people celebrate and a day that others tend to dread.  For everyone, it can be an important reminder to lift our relationships up and to think about the blessings our loved ones provide.  As a marriage therapist, and a spouse of 43 years, I remind myself that it is often the little things that matter most in a relationship.  The memories you share, the experiences you create, and the love you nurture on a daily basis provide the foundation for a lifetime of marriage.

There are some very simple guidelines to follow when you are in a relationship that, if you follow, will support the relationship through difficult times:

1. Agree on How to Disagree

One of the first ground rules is to agree on how to resolve conflicts so that they are managed with respect and result in some form of agreement.  There are several ways couples can chose to do this, but the common thread involves active listening and empathizing with your partner’s intentions, concerns and needs.  While disagreements can often turn animated, it is crucial that the respect for the other person’s thinking and feelings remain paramount.  According to research, about 75% of our marital conflicts are not solvable, yet that should not be the focus of the marriage.  You may have to let go of some expectations.  Your partner may not become the household chef, or share your standards of organization, but in letting go you gain something much richer than a good meal or an orderly home.

2. Give Technology a Break

Turn off technology at an agreed upon time in the evening when you are both home.  This includes everyone in the home, especially pre-teens and teens who want to text and play computer games.

3. Everyone Needs Their Rest

Go to bed at the same time so there is time to cuddle and relax several nights a week.  Ideally, there should be no technology in the bedroom – no TV, no phones, no computer and no paperwork from your job spread across the bed. If you have children, make sure they are in bed and getting the sleep they need.  They also should have no TV or computer games for 30 to 45 minutes before bedtime.

4. Schedule Time to Relax

As a couple you need to have relaxing time together for 90 minutes or more at least 3 nights a week.  Have evenings that you both agree are “low expectation nights.”  No “we have to talk” discussions should be held after the set relaxation time.  Instead, set a time for those discussions when you both have had time to think about how you can discuss the problem when you are both refreshed with sleep.  If you are sure you are right in a conflict and feel like the victim, you are probably wrong.  You are, in fact, 50% of the answer.

5. Plan a Date Night

Plan a date night every 2 weeks where you have time to relax and talk to each other.  This is a time for play, humor, sharing dreams and goals, and relaxing.  It is not the time to discuss parenting or marital issues.

6. Show a Little Tenderness

Bring kindness into your relationship.  Show that you are thinking about the other person when you are not together by what you do when you are together.  This is not about gifting, but about showing thoughtfulness to the other person.

These are just a few ideas for couples to consider in a relationship. It is important to remember that all relationships require time, resources and energy in order to grow.   Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day or dread it, use the day as a reminder to reflect on your commitment and to enrich the love in your marriage.

If you are struggling with your relationship, the counseling staff at LSS can help. Call 1-855-334-2953 or visit to schedule an appointment.

Colleen Miller
Licensed Professional Counselor
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

Celebrating Compassion & Kindness This Holy Season

December 24, 2014

Today is a good day to cherish memories of loved ones, embrace those who share our daily lives and help lighten heavy loads for those who are traveling along life’s weary and difficult road.

I begin by honoring the memory of Karla Freeman. Karla not only shared her professional talents through her work as office manager at LSS Counseling Services in Sioux Falls for 19 years, but she cared for those whom LSS served. Sadly, we lost Karla in August 2013 to cancer; however, memories of Karla and her legacy of compassion and kindness will continue to live on.

It started thirteen years ago when Karla saw a client family quietly struggling to get through the holidays. A family who would never ask for help, but needed it desperately. A family who needed to know that someone cared for them and that someone was watching over them.

In the distance, Karla was watching with a compassionate and respectful heart. She sought out a few local donors who were willing to provide gifts to help lighten the heavy load this family was carrying.

The following year, Karla matched a few more local donors with counseling clients who had basic needs during the Christmas holiday, but also a special gift or two to warm their hearts. Over the years, these acts of compassion and kindness have become known as the Adopt-A-Family Program.

2014 Dec 24 Blog picToday, I embrace all staff of LSS Counseling Services who continue the legacy of Karla Freeman. Because of the generosity of nine donors, LSS Counseling Services will help lighten heavy loads for 20 families who are struggling with life’s challenges.

I feel blessed and so appreciative to be surrounded by LSS professionals as well as generous and thoughtful donors across South Dakota who have made LSS one of their giving priorities not only during the holiday season, but year round to provide professional, confidential and affordable services.

May this Christmas season allow you to feel God’s presence and compassion in your life as we cherish memories of loved ones, embrace those who share our daily lives and help lighten heavy loads for those who are traveling along life’s weary and difficult road.

Blessings to you and your family this holy season,

Betty Oldenkamp, LSS President & CEO


Click here to support LSS services and help lighten heavy loads for those who are traveling along life’s weary and difficult road.

“He gave me my first gun.” Prisoners and mentoring

November 7, 2014
It is estimated that 1.7 million youth in the United States have at least one parent in prison and that millions more have a parent in jail. Research suggests that children of incarcerated parents are more prone to struggle with mental and physical health, along with difficulties in the school setting. The Center for Children of Incarcerated parents reports that children of prisoners are 5 times more likely than other children to end up in prison.While the numbers may look grim, it is always important to remember that children are resilient and with the right support system in place, many of these children will find success. Research indicates that the practice of mentoring can be positive for many children and initial results show that this is true as well for the subsection of children with incarcerated parents. The life experiences of these children may differ slightly from other children and it is important for the mentor to keep that in mind during day to day interactions with them.

LSS Mentoring Services is partnering with LSS Fatherhood and Families to present a training on children of incarcerated parents. This training will aim to provide information on the effects of children having parents in prison or jail, insight into children communicating and visiting with their parents in the South Dakota prison system, and the needs and “to do’s” for mentoring children of incarcerated parents.

The training will take place on November 13 from 12:00 to 1:00 PM at the LSS Center for Children and Youth, located at 621 East Presentation Street in Sioux Falls. Click on the session to RSVP.

Read the rest of this entry »

LSS Makes it Easier to Ask for Help

August 8, 2013

They say that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Whether people are experiencing depression, having a difficult time at work, struggling with relationship issues, or dealing with the loss of a loved one, taking the step to start counseling can be a difficult decision.

Photo courtesy of Flickr

Photo courtesy of Flickr

LSS Counseling Services recently restructured its intake process to make it easier for people to ask for help. Clients and referral sources can now call 1-855-334-2953 to access counseling services statewide. Read the rest of this entry »

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