Hope Springs Eternal

April 12, 2022

From the window view of my desk, I can see the Big Sioux River thawing. Already I have seen more joggers and bikers frequenting the river walk, and I myself have enjoyed the sunshine and warm weather.

Additionally, the great Canadian geese will soon be joined by Mallards, wood ducks, and American coots. They will walk and swim, side by side, caring for their young and finding food among the grass and within the river’s depths.

It goes without saying that spring is definitely the season of hope…hope for prosperity, perseverance, rebirth, new beginnings. And as our mild winter comes to an end, we find our classrooms are changing. New students are arriving, fresh from war-torn countries or long-term refugee camps. They are filled with hope and determination to make this new community, new city, new country theirs. They seek to learn about their new culture, to make friendships, to survive in this new world.

We here at Center for New Americans continue to hope and strive for a better world for our clients. Case workers scramble to find homes and jobs, greet new arrivals at the airport, help families enroll children in schools. The teachers painstakingly plan lessons, work with the students so that they can learn English at an accelerated pace. Everyone works together. Everyone works hard. Everyone looks toward the future with hope and anticipation. Hope is our mantra.

Written by Heather Glidewell | LSS Center for New Americans | Adult ESL Instructor & Volunteer Coordinator Assistant
300 East 6th Street, Suite 100 | Sioux Falls, SD 57103
1-866-242-2447 toll free | 605-731-2059 fax


Fire Safety – It’s Everyone’s Job to Be Prepared!

March 22, 2022

This month we have been discussing fire safety in our classes. Though not always the most exciting of topics, it is an important thing to review with students so they, and their families, can be prepared in an emergency. In our lower-level speaking classes, we are reviewing how to call 911 to report a fire and tell the emergency responders the address. In our higher-level speaking classes, we are making fire-escape plans that students can use to get out of their homes if there is a fire. We are also discussing heating and how to safely use fireplaces and space heaters.

Our reading classes are also hard at work studying fire safety. In our lower-level classes, we are learning to read and write fire-safety-related words such as smoke, alarm, escape, batteries, heater and many more. Our higher-level classes are writing out the steps of the students’ fire escape plans using sequencing words such as first, next, then and finally. Additionally, the highest level classes are reading about the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 to learn about American history and the importance of fire safety.

Here are some of the most important fire safety tips our students have learned:

  • Install smoke alarms in every bedroom of your home, in the hallways outside of the sleeping areas and near (but not in) the kitchen. Make sure there is at least one smoke alarm on every floor.
  • Test all the smoke alarms once a month to make sure they are working. Change the batteries in the alarms twice a year.
  • Contact the Volunteer Helpline by dialing 211 should you need a free smoke alarm.
  • Never use the stove/oven for heat. Use a space heater!
  • Keep the stove free of oil and don’t place flammable objects like tea towels or potholders on the stove or under the oven.
  • Keep space heaters at least 3 feet away from flammable things like paper, clothing, hair, animals and people!
  • Make a fire escape plan. Make sure that when possible, there are at least 2 ways out of every room.
  • Practice the plan with your family during the day and at night.

Kate Harris ESL Instructor & Career Navigator

Pronouns: she/her/hers

LSS Center for New Americans

P:  605-731-2000  | F:  605-731-2059

300 East 6th Street, Suite 100  Sioux Falls, SD 57103

LssSD.org


Winter Safety 101

December 7, 2021

Yikes!  A high of 12 degrees today!?  So this morning I begrudgingly put leggings on under my pants, pulled on my heavy socks, layered my shirts, wore my warmest driving gloves, and wrapped my neck with a scarf before heading out to the cold air.

I am prepared for the winter cold (and have in fact survived many decades of winters) but what about my new refugee students?  Not so much!  They were hoping that the weather doesn’t get any colder than 40s…such a harsh awakening!

As South Dakotans, we know the season.  Community-wide jacket drives for children abound.  On TV the summer ads have been replaced with sweaters and parkas.  The lawnmowers have been put away and replaced by snow blowers, the deck furniture has been overturned, the garden is barren, and the trees have barely a leaf left as the remaining few crunch under our feet. 

And although we have not hit the coldest month of the year yet, students are bundling up in parkas and scarves and winter boots.  They are telling me that it is COLD, and are in disbelief that the weather could possibly get any colder.  I sorrowfully have to inform them that the weather does indeed get much colder here in South Dakota. 

I truly had to look and know for myself the temperatures my students are used to.  Using weather-atlas.com I found the average January temperatures for several of my students’ warm climate countries.  South Sudan has a high of 98.2° F and a LOW of 68.2° F!  El Salvador, close to the equator, has a high of 87.1° F and a low of 66.9°F, and the coolest country I looked up was mountainous Nepal at 66.4° F and 36.3°F.  Balmy South Dakota, on the other hand, has a high of 23.4° F and a low of -9.7° F in January.

And that is the crux of the matter.  My new students have never experienced snow and actual sub-zero temperatures.  My students don’t know what mittens are or that we need to dress in layers.  They don’t know how slippery the ice is nor how bitter the wind becomes.  And so every year, we discuss tips on staying warm.  Here are a few basic ones all my students need to learn.

Tips for Dressing in the Winter:

  • Layer your clothes.
  • Choose tight fitting clothing to prevent air.
  • Choose long coats over short.
  • Invest in hat, mittens/gloves, and a scarf.
  • Wear water-resistant boots.

Do you know someone who needs a winter coat?  Want to Donate a coat?

  • St. Francis House: Keep Warm Keloland  
  • The Salvation Army: Coats For All  
  • Union Gospel Mission
  • Center of Hope
  • St. Vincent de Paul
  • Good Will of the Great Plains

Hope you all stay warm this winter!

Written by Heather Glidewell

Adult ESL Instructor & Volunteer Coordinator Assistant

Center for New Americans

P:  605-731-2041  |  T:  800-2422447  |  C: 605-743-0706  |  F:  605-731-2059

300 East 6th Street, Suite 100  Sioux Falls, SD 57103

LssSD.org

Strengthening Individuals, Families & Communities


Volunteering Via the Internet ~ Hello Zoom Classroom! Part C

May 11, 2021

Students and teachers at the Center for New Americans rely on the help and support of classroom volunteers.  When our classes went online last spring, we had to find innovative ways to bring the volunteers back into the classroom.  Volunteers that were used to the traditional classroom have now become efficient and comfortable with the virtual online classroom.

This is the last in a series of three interviews.  This week I talked with Volunteer Karen.  She has been a volunteer since the 2016.

First, how did you hear about the Center for New Americans?

I learned about the wonderful services provided by Center for New Americans years ago when my church sponsored a refugee family.  When I retired in 2016, I was looking for a meaningful volunteer opportunity.  I have always enjoyed meeting people from other cultures, and volunteering as a teacher’s aide for English Language Learners sounded interesting.

Why did you want to get involved?

In January 2016, I started volunteering once a week as a teacher’s aide in a Level 1 class and a Level 3 class. The classroom teachers provide the lesson.  As an aide, I help reinforce the teacher’s lesson.  I really enjoy it!  Sometimes I’m in the larger classroom. At other times, I take a small group of students to review a specific lesson.

What are some of your favorite memories from working with a student/in class?

I especially have enjoyed the following experiences:

  • Assisting a student who just sounded out a word and seeing the big smile on their face!
  • I love it when a joke is shared and understood even through our language barriers!
  • The students call all of us “Teacher.” I can tell it is a term of honor by the way they say it.

How has Covid changed the way you volunteer and how are you adapting?

When the pandemic required moving classes to Zoom, I started volunteering several days a week.  I needed something meaningful to do while hunkering down at home. It’s been a lot of fun, and it helped me avoid feeling isolated during the pandemic.  I’ve learned more about how to teach English, and I’ve gotten better acquainted with the students and the teachers. I can’t recommend this enough!

What would you say to someone who is thinking about volunteering at CNA?

For me, it feels like an honor to be a small part of an English Language Learners’ journey.  I strongly encourage anyone who might be interested to give this a try.  The classroom teachers will first ask you to observe, then will give you direction on how to work directly with students.  It’s a chance to meet people from other cultures, right here in Sioux Falls. I learn so much. It’s fun, it’s interesting, and it allows me to volunteer in a meaningful way.

Want to be a classroom volunteer?

Contact diana.streleck@lsssd.org

Apply Here

https://lsssd.org/what-we-do/center-for-new-americans/volunteerapplication.html

Written by Heather Glidewell | LSS Center for New Americans | Adult ESL Instructor

300 East 6th Street, Suite 100 | Sioux Falls, SD 57103

1-866-242-2447 toll free | 605-731-2059 fax


Volunteering Via the Internet ~ Hello Zoom Classroom! Part B

May 4, 2021

Students and teachers at the Center for New Americans rely on the help and support of classroom volunteers.  When our classes went online last spring, we had to find innovative ways to bring the volunteers back into the classroom.  Volunteers that were used to the traditional classroom have now become efficient and comfortable with the virtual online classroom.

This is the second in a series of three interviews.  Stayed tuned in the coming weeks to hear more about volunteering via Zoom.

This week I talked with Volunteer Jeaneite.  She has been a volunteer since 2017.

First, how did you hear about the Center for New Americans?

I heard about CNA one Sunday in church in Vermillion.  I recently retired from working in education and was looking for a volunteer opportunity.  The Center for New Americans seemed like a good fit.

Why did you want to get involved?

I wanted to get involved to make a positive difference for other people. I worked with ESL students for many years and understood the value of this program.

What are some of your favorite memories from working with a student/in class?

My favorite memories always involve the look on someone’s face when the “light bulb comes on,” when someone understands something they have been working on and having difficulty with.

How has Covid changed the way you volunteer and how are you adapting?

COVID has changed the way I volunteer because I now work with the students on Zoom instead of in person.  It is more difficult to read how students are processing the information.  It has been beneficial for me though because we are in Arizona for the winter this year, and I am still able to volunteer.  I am very appreciative for the opportunity.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about volunteering at CNA?

I would highly recommend volunteering at CNA to anyone who asked me.  It is a win-win-win.  It is good for the students to get more one-on-one or small group practice.  It helps the teacher in working with more students at their level and giving students more drill and practice. It is very rewarding for me to see people learn and become more proficient and comfortable in their communication skills.

Want to be a classroom volunteer?

Contact diana.streleck@lsssd.org

Apply Here

https://lsssd.org/what-we-do/center-for-new-americans/volunteerapplication.html

Written by Heather Glidewell | LSS Center for New Americans | Adult ESL Instructor

300 East 6th Street, Suite 100 | Sioux Falls, SD 57103

1-866-242-2447 toll free | 605-731-2059 fax


Thankfulness

December 1, 2020

Our students studied health this past month, which I found appropriate as I asked my students this past week what they were thankful for.  Health was their number one answer!

Even as we enter the coldest months of the year, always rampant with flus and colds, and we face a new virus, we are still thankful that we have our health.  These words were not given lightly as many of my students have already been affected by coronavirus in their families and friends, and they all hope that we continue to stay healthy.

Additionally my students told me that they were thankful for family, friends, a safe home, food, and jobs.

But most importantly, my students are also thankful for the opportunity to continue learning English, even if it is not in a traditional classroom.  They are thankful for Zoom, the Internet, and their teachers that continue to reach out and teach them. 

And I am thankful too.  I am thankful that my students are dedicated, hardworking, and inquisitive.  I am thankful that my students continue to thrive even when things look bleak.  I am thankful that we are able to provide English classes to such wonderful people.  I certainly miss them in my classroom, but I am beyond grateful that we have found a way to connect and continue on through this pandemic.  I am so grateful that my students have remained strong and healthy.  I am happy that those who have been sick, have been able to return to the Zoom classroom.  I am thankful that we are here to celebrate together.

Written by Heather Glidewell | LSS Center for New Americans | Adult ESL Instructor

300 East 6th Street, Suite 100 | Sioux Falls, SD 57103

1-866-242-2447 toll free | 605-731-2059 fax


The First Time

November 17, 2020

As we all know, November 3 was voting day.  We were reminded that many people participate in this privilege.  This day marked the first time for many new Americans to vote in their democracy.  It was a privilege to be celebrated and the results were greatly anticipated.

Here at Center for New Americans we learn that voting is a responsibility and a right reserved for U.S. citizens.  When studying for the naturalization test, students need to know the answers to the following questions:

  • What is one responsibility that is only for United States citizens?  To vote
  • Name one right only for United States citizens.  To vote in a federal election
  • What are two ways that Americans can participate in their democracy?  Voting and serving on a jury

According to https://americanhistory.si.edu/citizenship/ Preparing for the Oath:  “It is the responsibility of the United States citizens to vote in federal elections.  Voting is important.  However, there is no law that says that citizens must vote.”

Another question that is asked during the naturalization interview is, “Why do you want to be a citizen?”  As a citizenship instructor, I hear the answer, “America is my home!  I want to vote!” over and over.  I also hear, “I want to be part of a democracy!” 

We are so happy for our new citizens that voted this year.  Congratulations!  Here’s to many more years of voting and participating in our democracy. 

Written by Heather Glidewell | LSS Center for New Americans | Adult ESL Instructor

300 East 6th Street, Suite 100 | Sioux Falls, SD 57103

1-866-242-2447 toll free | 605-731-2059 fax


IN THE SPIRIT OF JOY

October 27, 2020

Spirit of Joy Lutheran Church upholds its name. 

Updated Technology in the Classrooms Helps Provide Successful Online Classes

A couple of years ago, Spirit of Joy Lutheran Church had set aside money in their yearly Outreach budget to support a new refugee family.  However, this year in light of the pandemic, an alternative was needed for the designated funds.  The Outreach Committee discussed the situation with the LSS Development Department, and it was decided to donate the $5000 to the education department at the Center for New Americans in order to support technology in the classroom.

The LSS Center for New Americans provides English classes to preliterate through pre-GED students, vocational classes, and citizenship classes to refugees and immigrants within the Sioux Falls community.  The classrooms were dramatically changed this past March when the program searched for a safe, online solution.  As of today over 150 students are attending classes via Zoom, but with outdated laptops and lack of appropriate microphones and speakers, the initial launch of classes was accompanied with an array of technology challenges. 

This generous donation supported the purchase of essential technology for the Center for New Americans.  Classrooms are now equipped with instructor laptops, audio-speakers and microphones.  Now limited in-person students and virtual students will be able to communicate with their teachers and their classmates. 

Carole Chell, Outreach Team Leader, and also a volunteer for Lutheran Social Services, says, “I’m surprised how well it [using Zoom classrooms] has gone.  The students have adapted well!”

Written by Heather Glidewell | LSS Center for New Americans | Adult ESL Instructor

300 East 6th Street, Suite 100 | Sioux Falls, SD 57103

1-866-242-2447 toll free | 605-731-2059 fax


New Years Opportunities

January 29, 2020

resolutionsuccess1

The first month of a historic new year is now winding down to an end.  In a few days we will be greeting February.  However, we cannot forget that January is the month of New Year’s Resolutions.

There are, of course, two types of resolutions: Those that are freshly made that we hope to accomplish, and those which were made a year ago and have changed our lives throughout the past year.

In speaking with my students, they listed many different goals for this year (or beyond) ranging from visiting family in another state or country, buying a house, buying a car, going to college, becoming a doctor, getting a GED, getting a better job, learning more English.

resolutionsuccess

Some of Last year’s New Year’s Resolutions were recently revisited by Teacher Mary in her advanced GED English class.  Here are a couple of their inspiring stories:

Last year one of my students made the resolution to stop smoking and drinking. After one year he is happy to report that he has been successful!  So this year his resolution is to read the Nepali Bible every day.   His success was so inspiring to his classmates that one has decided to make the same goal this year.

In speaking with another student, she said she made the resolution last year to save $50 a week.  Although she was mainly successful, she realized it was just too much, so this year she modified her goal to save $20 a week.  She puts the money immediately in the bank so she doesn’t spend it.

Many of our students like to travel, too, and often have to work through the steps to take time off of work, save money, and plan for traveling expenses.  This year I have one student planning a trip to Bangkok.

Of course all our students have the goal of “learning more English,” and as a school, we have been working with the students to identify the steps needed to grow and develop better English skills.  We have talked about the need to incorporate many skills into learning such as listening, speaking, reading, and writing.  We have also discussed the dedication and hard work the students put into learning a new language.  It is a motivating and inspiring thing to see their positive attitudes and their continued success.

Here’s to all of you that you may also be successful in this coming New Year!

 

 

Written by Heather Glidewell | LSS Center for New Americans | Adult ESL Instructor

300 East 6th Street, Suite 100 | Sioux Falls, SD 57103

1-866-242-2447 toll free | 605-731-2059 fax

 

 


Learning 21st Century Skills at The Center for New Americans

January 21, 2020

googleclassIf you are like nearly every other human being on this planet, you probably use Google and YouTube about 50 times a day. BUT, did you know that there’s so much more to these two miraculous sites than just typing in some words and hoping you find what you need?

The LSS Center for New Americans is excited to announce TWO new technology classes that will focus exclusively on using Google and YouTube during the month of February! These classes, “Intro to Google and YouTube,” are open to all members of the community, so we invite everyone to come check it out and learn something new!

googleclassTeacher Becca, who will be leading the advanced evening class, says: “For students who have a lot of ideas and are motivated to create an online presence, this class will give them a launchpad to do so. We will navigate what Google has to offer, creating the time, space and confidence for students to start their own Youtube Channels.”

Intro to Google and YouTube Class (Advanced)
Mondays Nights 6 – 8 pm on:
• Feb. 3
• Feb. 10
• Feb. 17
• Feb. 24
At the LSS Center for New Americans
300 E. 6th St.

If you want to join this advanced class, please come ONE time for a pre-test on
• Monday, Jan. 27th, 6 pm
• Monday, Feb. 3rd at 6 pm

*You MUST pass the pre-test to attend this class.

googleclassAnother, more beginning class will also be offered in the afternoons. This class will cover  creating gmail accounts and using Google and YouTube. “We are so excited to offer this classgoogleclass as so many students have expressed in an interest in learning these skills. We hope they walk away with the tools they need to better share knowledge and make connections,” says Teacher Kate, who will be teaching this basic class in the afternoons.

Intro to Google and YouTube Class (Basic)
Monday – Thursday
12:30 – 2:30 pm
Feb. 17 – 27
At the LSS Center for New Americans
300 E. 6th St.

If you want to join this beginning class, please come ONE time for a pre-test on
• Tuesday, Feb. 11th, 12:30 pm
• Wednesday, Feb. 12th, 12:30 pm

*You MUST pass the pre-test to attend this class.

So, join us at The Center for New Americans to brush up on your computer skills and learn some new ones!

Written by:
Lindy Obach | LSS Center for New Americans
ESL Instructor
300 E 6th St | Sioux Falls, SD 57103
1-866-242-2447 toll free
http://www.LssSD.org

 


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