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,

Doing Good on the Green

July 19, 2017

LSS Watertown Golf Tournament 2017

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:

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 |

Misconceptions about Open Adoption

July 17, 2017

Here are a few common misconceptions on how open adoptions work.

  1. Open adoption is confusing to the child. This is false! Children growing up in open adoptions do understand the difference between parents and birth parents. In healthy open adoptions, both adoptive and birth parents help define their own roles and responsibilities.
  2. Open adoption is a form of co-parenting. This is false! Open adoption is not shared custody between adoptive and birth parents. Adoptive parents have full legal responsibilities over the child once the adoption is complete.
  3. All open adoptions eventually turn into closed adoptions at some point. This is false! As in any relationship, contact with one another can change as life events happen. It is important that the unique relationships formed through open adoption are recognized and honored. All relationships involve challenges at some point. The key to positive relationships is mutual understanding and respect. When children know their adoption story from the very beginning there is less chance for resentment about being adopted.

Adoptive and birth parents are supported through each stage of the adoption process at LSS. Birth parents receive free options counseling and decision making services. Adoptive parents are provided education to equip them for successful adoptions. For more information on how open adoption works, or for pregnancy counseling services, contact LSS at 605-221-2346, toll free at 888-201-5061, or

-Submitted by Hayley Van Den Brink, Supervisor, Adoption Program

Citizenship With a View

June 30, 2017





For more than ten years U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the National Park Service have partnered to welcome New Americans. Every year dozens of naturalization ceremonies take place in the midst of the scenic landscapes and majestic views of the country’s national parks. And South Dakota is no exception. The ceremonies at the Mount Rushmore National Monument have grown in size, from 60 new citizens in 2007 to 180 in 2017. However, depending on where in the state you live, getting to the ceremony isn’t always that easy. Often money and transportation are major issues. But this year citizenship candidates from Sioux Falls had a smooth ride. Lutheran Social Services’ Center for New Americans was able to charter a bus, made possible through a generous donation from the Daughters of the American Revolution, Mary Chilton Chapter, Sioux Falls. So, on June 15, at 3:15 AM a bus full of tired but excited citizenship candidates with family, friends and CNA staff, including myself, set out across the state to Mount Rushmore. It seemed like a quick ride. The weather was fully cooperating – sunny skies, just a little breeze. The area was bustling with activity. It felt like a mini United Nations. People from over 40 different countries were coming together in this breathtaking scenery under the ‘faces’ in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The sat down on the stone benches of the Amphi Theatre as Green Card holders – and they stood up as new citizens of the United States. They walked across the stage and told us their name, what country they came from and how incredibly proud they were to now be citizens of the United States. And we got on the bus again to start the journey home, again a bus full of tired but excited people. Only now we have a group of New American citizens in our midst.


Written by Silke Hansen, ESL Instructor


What School Counselors Think About Mentoring

June 19, 2017

Every year, LSS surveys school counselors in the area about their partnership with LSS Mentoring Services. The results this year were excellent! ALL counselors agreed that mentoring makes an impact at their school – with 93% STRONGLY agreeing that it makes an impact. Here are just of the wonderful things they wrote in the survey:

  • The child’s attendance and mood is better on mentor days.
  • Mentoring is so beneficial for each student that I have involved in the program. It is so great for students to have a consistent fun time to look forward to, and for a lot of these students, mentoring is that positive future-oriented event in their life that they look forward to.
  • The child is happy and bubbly every week of the day their mentor is coming. Before the match, this student did not smile a lot, but now I know I will see her smile at least on mentor days and I even hear her laughing. She loves her mentor who is one of the only positive adults in her life outside of school.
  • Students with mentors look forward to coming to school – even when it’s hard or not what they want to do. They seem to brighten up at the attention they receive.

The counselors did have one universal request – more mentors. If you want to get involved with youth and make a difference, please consider mentoring! You can complete an application today.

Thanks to the school counselors for making this partnership work! We look forward to the upcoming school year!

Post by Michelle Madsen

World Refugee Day Open House

June 16, 2017

Tuesday, June 20th is World Refugee Day – a day set aside to raise awareness of the situation of refugees throughout the world.  Please join us for an open house at LSS Center for New Americans to learn more about the refugee experience.

June 20th 11:30 am – 1:00 pm

300 E 6th Street, Sioux Falls, SD 57104

Walk in the footsteps of refugees and see what they experience as they flee their homes, connect with the United Nations and eventually arrive in the US.  Tours of the Center for New Americans will be offered.  Local food trucks will be on site to offer food.

Co-hosted with Pax Christi South Dakota, Caminando Juntos, the Multi Cultural Center, Refugee Congress.  And special thanks to the local businesses and organizations that are helping at the event.


And the Winner is – Lutheran Social Services!

June 7, 2017

The Dakota Region Porsche Club held their second annual 2.4 Hours of Dakota fundraiser on February 25 in support of LSS Center for New Americans.

Winners: Second place finisher Laura Smith-Hill, winner Jacklyn Mollison with her Porsche Cup and third place finisher Jamie Lennon.

The event pits car enthusiasts of all ages against each other in a race for the finish line and the honor of claiming the coveted Porsche Cup. More than 40 cars participated with racers aged 8 to 70. A hotly contested competition was eventually won by Jacklyn Mollison (pictured proudly displaying her Porsche Cup).

The Dakota Region Porsche Club elected to donate proceeds from the event to LSS Center for New Americans to assist newly arrived refugees with transportation. With a record turnout this year, the Dakota Region Porsche Club was able to present LSS with a check for $1,550.

Dakota Region Porsche Club annual 2.4 Hours of Dakota

Representatives from the Dakota Region Porsche Club present a check for $1,550 to LSS Center for New Americans. Pictured left to right: John Mollison, DRPC Event Director; Sue Johannsen, DRPC President; Ahmed Abogn, LSS Center for New Americans; Jamie Lennon, LSS Development & Foundation.

“This is our second year and, on behalf of the club, we’re thrilled it was such a success for LSS!” stated John Mollison, DRPC Event Director. “It was so good that people of all ages raced. We had nearly 40 racers from age 8 to 70!”

Please join us for next year’s event. For more information on the Porsche Club and the 2.4 Hours of Dakota race, please visit

Thank you to all the members of the Dakota Region Porsche Club and to all who came out to compete in the 2.4 Hours of Dakota race. See you again next year!

Jamie Lennon, Development Director
LSS Development & Foundation

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