New Americans & New Homes

February 12, 2020

Closing costs. Mortgages. Contract. Amortization. Do these terms seem difficult to understand? Would you like some help as you prepare to buy your first home? If the answer is YES, then the LSS Center for New Americans invites you to join our new Homebuyer Class! homebuyer2

Many people dream of owning their own home, and LSS wants to help you understand the process.

If you speak English as a new or additional language, Spanish, or Nepali, and you want to buy your first home, this free class is for you!

Homebuyer Class
Feb. 15 – March 14
9 am – Noon
300 E. 6th St

homebuyerThis class will help you learn how to buy a home, and Spanish and Nepali translators will be there to help.

After taking this class, you will earn a certificate that qualifies you for a discount on your closing costs.

This class is offered at the LSS Center for New Americans by the generous help of the SD Department of Labor and LSS Center for Financial Resources.

Come join us at the LSS Center for New Americans and learn all about how to buy your first home!

Homebuyer Class

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

Strengthening Individuals, Families and Communities

LSS Mentoring Now Includes Head Start

February 7, 2020

Through a new partnership between LSS Mentoring Services and the Sioux Falls School ist1_6456892-boy-holding-word-learnDistrict Early Childhood Program, mentors are now able to meet with some of the littlest learners in town!

LSS mentors are now able to meet with students in Head Start at either Lowell or Laura B. Anderson elementary schools. Head Start serves 3 and 4-year-old children who are in low-income families at schools across the district with preschool programming. According to the 2018-19 Head Start Annual Report for the Sioux Falls School District, 46% of the approximately 900 children under age five who live in poverty in Sioux Falls are served by Head Start.

The benefits of adding a mentoring relationship at this young age are critical. Most often, students attend Head Start at the school in their neighborhood. When mentors are in the routine of going there already, this will not change as the student transitions to Kindergarten.

Head Start classrooms are primarily half day programs. They have one session from 7:45-11:15 AM and an afternoon sessions that is 11:15 AM-2:45 PM. Lunch is served at both sessions, so all kids receive a nutritious meal. Mentors are invited to work with classroom teachers to find a time that works best for them and the student.

There are several precious little ones waiting for a mentor! Please consider applying today – and make sure to indicate that you would like to be in a Head Start classroom on your application.

Post by Michelle Madsen, LSS Mentoring Services

New Years Opportunities

January 29, 2020


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.


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



Why Goals Matter

January 13, 2020

Goals.  Goals, goals, goals.  If you follow this blog at all, you know I spend a lot of time talking about goals.  Whether it is developing a budget, tracking spending, adjusting income, monitoring a credit report, or just about anything else, I can tie goals into it.  And I do.

I think, for some people, they perceive that much focus on goals as a little…… hokey.  In some of our classes, we even get deep enough into goals to talk about setting S.M.A.R.T. goals. Unfortunately, some have experienced some bad corporate training that just kind of turned them off.

That is NOT the fault of good goal-setting strategies.  It’s just that the whole main point of goal strategies was missed.  What is the main point?  The main point is “why”. Read the rest of this entry »

Beginning the Process – Your New Home

January 9, 2020

It’s a new year.  As we settle back into a regular routine after the craziness of Christmas, it’s that time of year where we start looking ahead to the coming year.  So what’s in your next 12 months?  Are you thinking about a new home?

“OK, put the brakes on right there.  It’s only January.  It’s cold.  It’s icy.  It’s the middle of the school year.  Who wants to move this time of year if you don’t really have to, right?”

Well, I actually have an idea that this might be a great time of year to move.  Find a nice, cold day that is well below freezing.  Dump some water on the driveway and sidewalk, let it freeze, and BOOM, you don’t have to carry a single box.  Just set them down, give them a little push, and they practically fly themselves right into your new home.

Yeah, I’ve never had anyone actually buy into that as far as I know.  But it’s a good idea, right? Read the rest of this entry »

Introducing LSS Climb

January 3, 2020


As you likely know, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sioux Empire ended their affiliation with Big Brothers Big Sisters America and transitioned to LSS Mentoring Services.

Now that the transition is complete, we are excited to announce the program will now be known as LSS Climb. Climb represents the journey mentors and children take to reach success. A mentor supports the child they are matched with as they climb toward a bright future.

Climb will serve youth ages 7-14 by matching them with a mentor and allowing them to meet in the community at times that work for both the mentor and child. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and successfully complete an application, screening and training process.

If you know of a child that would enjoy the opportunity to be part of LSS Climb, the first step is for their parent/guardian to complete an application.

LSS will work closely with each match to ensure everyone is having the best experience possible. There are currently 122 mentors in the Climb program and several kids waiting.

In Leadershift, John C. Maxwell wrote:

In a world that tells you to “get ahead”, it’s tempting to believe that advancing yourself is the best way to become a leader. Climbing the corporate ladder is just the price you pay–and people will understand if you have to step on a few fingers as you make your way to the top.

Except the question leaders should ask isn’t “How far can I go?”, but “How far can I help others go?”

Or–even better–“How far can I take the mission, and then how can I help others take the mission beyond my best work.”

While “climbing the ladder” helps you prove yourself in order to gain influence, you take your leadership to a whole new level when you hold other people’s ladders as they begin their climb.

This is the perfect represenation of LSS Climb. There are kids in Sioux Falls who need someone to hold up their ladder. Can we count on you in 2020?

Post by Michelle Madsen, LSS Mentoring Services | 605-444-7801

New Years From Around the World

December 31, 2019

Here in the United States, we typically follow the Gregorian calendar.  December 31 marks the end of the old year, and January 1 is the beginning of the New Year.  We here in South Dakota are some of those people.  However, it seems that around the world, there are many different celebrations for New Year’s, sometimes on January 1 and sometimes not.

I explored some of the New Year’s customs around the world including Burma, Japan, Ukraine, Sudan, and Mexico.  Here are a few of the things that I found.

In Burma (Myanmar), people follow the Burmese calendar, a form of lunisolar calendar, and traditionally the New Year for Burma falls in April during the Thingyan Festival.  The festival lasts for 5 days and during the first 4 days, people try to douse each other in water.  This Buddhist festival corresponds with many New Year’s celebrations throughout Asia.


Partaking of Water Dousing in Burma


According to Burmese belief, the water will cleanse the body, mind, and spirit from the previous year’s bad luck.  The people enjoy the refreshing water, too, as April is very hot in Burma.


In Japan, families end the year by eating toshikoshi (soba noodles).  The long buckwheat noodles are said to give longevity.  Noodles are served with fresh vegetables and tempura shrimp.  Just remember to finish all your noodles before midnight to avoid bad luck!

For those who are Buddhist in Japan, the Joya no Kane ritual is performed.  The Buddhist temples strike the temple bell 108 times on New Year’s Eve.  This symbolizes purification of the old year’s sins in preparation of the New Year.

In the morning, it is said to bring good luck if one watches the new rising sun and says a prayer.  Later that morning, toast with sake for good health, and then spend the day feasting, playing games, giving the children money, and having an overall great New Year!



In Ukraine, the Julian calendar was followed before the Gregorian calendar became popularized.  Because of this, many Ukrainians still follow the Julian calendar.  Jan 1 on the Julian calendar falls on January 14 in the Gregorian calendar.  Ukraine typically celebrates the New Year’s over a week’s period of time, January 7 to 14, with lots of music, festivals, plays, and outdoor activities in the snow including sleigh rides.

In Sudan where the Islamic religion is primary, the New Year’s is celebrated not in January but rather in August.  The actual date will vary each year according to the cycle of the moon, but the date ultimately corresponds to the prophet Mohammed fleeing from Mecca to Medina.  In 2020, New Year’s Day will be August 20.  Because New Year’s is linked to a religious event, it is considered a time to fast, pray, and be kind to each other by avoiding fights and other sins, and ultimately is a quiet time for reflection.

My Sudanese students have shared with me in the past that a typical meal for them on New Year’s was fresh ox with chili sauce.  Everyone from the village came together to slaughter the ox, eat, and celebrate the New Year together.

Interestingly, January 1 is an official holiday in Sudan as it is the Sudanese Independence Day; so many people will celebrate the day after all.

In Mexico, warm weather encourages people to celebrate New Year’s outdoor with barbeques and fireworks.  A typical traditional New Year’s meal starts around 8 p.m.  The family enjoys tamales and pozole (pork and bean stew) and drinks atole (a hot drink consisting of masa, cane sugar, cinnamon, and sometimes chocolate).  Afterwards, there are bonfires in the street and fireworks.

Some families like to hang a piñata, and the entire family from the youngest to the oldest try to break the piñata blindfolded until all the candy falls out.  Interestingly, the points on the piñata represent the 7 cardinal sins, and the candy represents the good that triumphs over evil.

So whatever you might plan on doing this year for New Year’s, consider adding in a new tradition…perhaps going outside in the freezing cold and throwing water at each other is not a good idea in South Dakota, but you surely you could ring a bell, eat tamales, and enjoy a good sleigh ride!

Happy New Year!  Here’s to 2020!

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


%d bloggers like this: