South Canyon Piecemakers Make Holidays Special for New Alternatives Clients

December 20, 2016

The Piecemakers at South Canyon Lutheran Church are helping make Christmas special for 12 young adults at LSS New Alternatives.  New Alternatives is an LSS program in Rapid City that provides housing, case management, counseling and nursing support to young adults ages 18-21 who are learning to manage severe mental illness. Just like most people in this age group, clients at New Alternatives are  living on their own for the first time in their lives, which can be exciting and challenging.

If you think back to your first apartment, remember how hard it was to give your space a homey feel with limited funds. This time of year it is even tougher because you want to give your home the warmth and coziness that everyone looks forward to with the holidays. When you were first on your own, you may have borrowed things from your parents or even tried to make a floor lamp look like a Christmas tree with some hand me down decorations.

Many clients at New Alternatives spent time in the foster care system or in psychiatric residential treatment centers such as LSS Canyon Hills Center or Summit Oaks. Some have had frequent stays in the state psychiatric hospital.  Almost all have little to no family to support them. They don’t have decorations in storage or the ability to send their Christmas wish list to family. Hand-me-downs to get them started in their own place don’t exist.

LSS works hard to make all apartments feel like a place someone lives, but there just isn’t enough funds available to add all the special touches, especially at Christmas. These young adults, just like you, want to have some of the traditions to make this time of year feel special and memorable. They want to experience the joy and excitement the holidays bring.

That is why the gifts from the Piecemakers play such a tremendous role! The Piecemakers is a group of Rapid City area women, and just one of the great things they do is help the young adults at New Alternatives feel special and remembered.  They donate gifts – including basic household supplies, personal care items, as well as a decorative pillow and unique quilt. Clients will welcome the needed personal care and household supplies and will be thrilled to have a nice pillow and a special quilt to call their own. These gifts will help them give their apartments a more homey feel and help clients feel more independent.

A few clients already have an idea of what’s ahead and have spied the gifts. The sacks are as big as Santa’s bag and when they see them, clients are filled with excitement and anticipation for the holiday. They were touched that this group of local ladies, who they haven’t met, cared enough to make sure that they would have a gift to open on Christmas morning. All of us at New Alternatives and LSS are filled with joy knowing that this holiday season will be made special by the Piecemakers.

Post by Sheila Johnson and Jessica Lillebo

New Alternatives Building Improvement Project Reveal + THANKS!

December 2, 2016

What started as a simple conversation at the New Alternatives open house turned into a full-fledged building improvement project with multiple Rapid City businesses lending support.

In May of 2016, Sheila Johnson, Program Director, and staff at the New Alternatives Intensive Independent Living Center hosted an open house to introduce the community to this new service offered by LSS.  When asked by visitors what LSS needed to help the program succeed, Sheila shared that, while generous donations were received to remodel the interior, the exterior of the building still needed some updating. One of the visitors, Farmers Insurance Agent Randy Horsley, offered to help Sheila find donors and volunteers in order to replace the building’s siding.

While working with Randy on potential donations, Sheila contacted Gene Wittkowski of Collin’s Siding for an estimate on materials.  Gene and Sheila worked through several options before agreeing that Gene would offer the siding at a lower price if LSS could commit to paying for a portion of the project.

With that news in hand, Sheila and Jessica Lillebo, Regional Director for Development and Foundation, started seeking donations toward LSS’ share of the cost.  They soon learned, however, that additional donors would not be necessary – Collin’s Siding had decided to donate the entire cost of the project!

Along with Collin’s Siding, two local businesses stepped up to provide additional resources.  Kieffer Sanitation donated the use of a dumpster bin and Summit Signs donated a large sign to recognize the community project. Thank you to Randy Horsley, Gene Wittkowski, Farmers Insurance, Collin’s Siding, Kieffer Sanitation and Summit Signs for your support!

AND, no story on an improvement project would be complete without a good before and after. Take a look at the difference below! I love the little porch they built at the door…so much more welcoming!

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Thanksgiving Tradition

November 26, 2013

Tables set for 100.

Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.  ~W.J. Cameron

For over 30 years, LSS has celebrated Thanksgiving with a lunch at our Summit Oaks program. The smell of roasted turkey, the hustle of getting tables and chairs ready — at noon on Tuesday? Yes, that happens here!

At LSS Center for Children and Youth (CCY), all staff in Adoption, Foster Care, Mentoring and Summit Oaks and Summit Oaks residents come together to enjoy a pre-holiday lunch. With over 100 guests and 45 pounds of turkey served, there was room at the table for all.


Delicious meal!

More than having a great lunch, this is an opportunity for our CCY community to celebrate and give thanks. This also gives youth in LSS care a chance to experience a family-style Thanksgiving celebration. For some, it may have been years since they have had the opportunity to indulge in this holiday tradition. And for others, this may have been a first.


Deb and the pumpkin pie.

The Summit Oaks kitchen staff work hard to prepare a full Thanksgiving spread for everyone to enjoy. Turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, corn, cranberry sauce, apple cider and of course pumpkin pie with whipped cream complete the menu. A big thanks to the kitchen staff for the labor of love they put into this meal. Those on the receiving end definitely appreciate this wonderful tradition!

Dede, Director of Foster Care and Adoption serving.

Trauma Recovery Techniques

April 5, 2013

As a clinician at LSS Canyon Hills Center (CHC) in Spearfish, I have had the privilege to learn and apply trauma recovery techniques in my work with adolescents in residential care. All of the young people who come into placement at CHC have traumatic histories and are struggling to cope with the feelings the trauma continues to cause them to feel. Using Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which we refer to as TF-CBT, my clients tell, and re-tell, and re-tell the stories of their traumatic pasts. As we work together to examine their thinking about the trauma and they begin to feel more and more comfortable telling their stories, each client begins to find healing and a more positive outlook on their past as well as their future. They gain a new, more whole and confident sense of who they are despite the trauma they have survived. Read the rest of this entry »

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