America 101: Cultural Orientation at LSS

October 19, 2021

Two PowerPoint slides shown to students in Cultural Orientation class

Adjusting to life in a new country is no easy task. New arrivals to the United States must learn new practices and ways of being to survive and thrive. To help with this transition, LSS offers Cultural Orientation class every month. The class is offered to clients who have just arrived in the U.S. and teaches essential skills and knowledge about American life. It covers topics including home safety, American laws, banking and finances, education and healthcare.


One special feature of this class is its use of guest speakers. LSS invites community members to Cultural Orientation to lend their expertise on pertinent topics. We have law enforcement officers, health professionals and financial experts come in to speak to the students. Not only do the students benefit from the insights of these guest speakers but they are also introduced to trusted community members that they can call upon later for help and support. Building these bridges helps make the transition to life in Sioux Falls easier for new arrivals.


Community building is done not only through guest speakers but also through the dynamic, multicultural nature of the class itself. Students in the class come from many different countries, cultures, languages and backgrounds but they are all there for the same reason: to learn how to live and thrive in their new home. This shared purpose helps the students bond and build community in the class. Cultural Orientation’s teacher, Silke Hansen, notes, “One of my favorite things about Orientation is that new arrivals from different countries meet and get to know each other which might not have happened otherwise.”


Cultural Orientation is taught for two weeks every month from Monday through Friday for 3 hours per day.

Kate Harris ESL Instructor & Career Navigator
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


Dakota Wesleyan University Spotlight

October 14, 2021

Some of our counselors had a busy week at the end of September doing some speed counseling with students at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, SD. Brian Ringler, Dawson Muska, and Olivia Lima met with 79 students in 15 minute increments to discuss money management, what costs will look like when they complete school, and any questions they had. Everyone’s situation was so different: ranging from freshman with $100/month budget, to married students with $4000 plus a month in their budget.

Speed-Coaching-Logo-Website-1-BLACK-01

This was a great opportunity for students to get a glimpse of what things may look like with their finances once they graduate, and also a way for them to see all the services we have to offer at Center for Financial Resources to help them with their financial goals.

Now, even thougsh these sessions were 15 minutes long, our normal session is about an hour long, and usually takes a few meetings. Winning a race doesn’t happen overnight, it takes practice, and same goes with financial goals, which our counselors would love to help. If you need a second set of eyes to help go over your financial goals, or even where to start on creating your goals give us a call at 1-888-258-2227 or online at www.lsssd.org.

Written by Cassie Johnson, Financial Counselor and Educator

Photo credit: thecoachofspeed.com

LSS Center for Financial Resources
Consumer Credit Counseling Service | Housing Resources | Sharpen Your Financial Focus | Financial Fitness Education
705 East 41st Street, Suite 100 | Sioux Falls SD 57105-6047
605-330-2700 or 888-258-2227
www.LssSD.org
Strengthening Individuals, Families & Communities

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Mini Library at Center for New Americans

October 5, 2021

As I meander the halls of the Center for New Americans, I find a special shelf dedicated to literacy for both our students and their families.  Through an outreach program via Siouxland Libraries, we are able to have a mini library at the convenience and delight of our students. 

Our mini library allows students to check out books to read not only to themselves but also to their children and grandchildren.  Books are in English and multiple target languages such as Spanish, Amharic, Vietnamese, Arabic, etc. 

This opportunity gives our students the capability to practice their English skills and also to pass along their culture and language to their children and grandchildren.

Students are always hungry for new reading materials in English, and as such the library has been a great resource for our students, who immediately started taking advantage of this opportunity.  One grandmother was super excited to see books in Amharic that she could read to her grandchildren.  Another was thrilled to see a book of poems in her language.  Others are excited to see word-to-word translations from their language to English.  There are a variety of books to appeal to everyone.

The books are rotated through Siouxland Library every 3 months so students are able to find new and exciting things to read at home.  Easy access to books helps promote literacy in our adult student population outside of the school setting. 

In the spirit of International Literacy Day (September 8) and National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week (September 19 to 25), here are some ideas to keep reading fun for the whole family:

1.  Read when traveling

2.  Read when on a lunch break

3.  Join a tutoring group or an English class or a book club

4.  Find fun places to read:  coffee shop, park, etc.

5.  Read books that fit reading ability level.

6. Read with a friend or a volunteer.

Our students love to work with volunteers in the classroom. Volunteers help foster a love for reading and build relationships with students.

Want to be a classroom volunteer?
Contact diana.streleck@lsssdblog

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


The Next Journey

September 30, 2021

It’s been kind of a bittersweet week for those of us at the Center for Financial Resources. Read the rest of this entry »


Xcel Energy Helps Immigrants Excel in Sioux Falls

September 28, 2021
Students participate in a hybrid classroom

LSS Center for New Americans once again received a generous grant from Xcel Energy. This grant has helped to provide classes that prepare students to enter the workforce. The project, called Career Literacy for Refugees and Immigrants, teaches students career readiness skills such as critical thinking, teamwork/collaboration, leadership and digital literacy. The project also provides instruction in the four major language skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening. These skills help students find jobs, advance in their current jobs or find jobs that match the skills and training they had before they came to the U.S. Many of our students have gone on to get and excel in jobs in production, manufacturing, industry, customer service and other areas.

One unique feature of these classes is that they use the hybrid model of instruction in which there are some students learning online and some students learning inperson simultaneously. This model enables students to come to class and learn in a way that best suits them, their schedules, and learning preferences. It also provides equity for students who do not have the skills or resources to participate in Zoom instruction. Each LSS classroom is equipped with an OWL (combination camera/speaker/microphone) that allows online students to see and hear their in-person classmates and vice versa. Students have been very receptive to the model, often joking and having conversations between online and in-person students.  In one recent class, a student joining class online for the day instantly recognized the voice of an in-person student; the two students immediately starting chatting like old friends. Interactions like this warm the hearts of our instructors and build community in the hybrid model.

Xcel Energy provides the energy that powers millions of homes and businesses across eight Western and Midwestern states. Headquartered in Minneapolis, the company is an industry leader in responsibly reducing carbon emissions and producing and delivering clean energy solutions from a variety of renewable sources at competitive prices.

The company also supports communities and local community organizations in four major areas: STEM education, workforce development, environmental protection and stewardship and arts and culture. Xcel Energy has partnered with LSS for seventeen years and specifically with the Center for New Americans for the past twelve years.

Thank you to Xcel Energy for your generosity, compassion and commitment to our students. We are thrilled to see our students “xcel” thanks to your sponsorship!

Kate Harris  ESL Instructor & Career Navigator 

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


School Daze

September 23, 2021

You have HOW MUCH in student loan debt?!?  Well, did you know you can pay a mere $5 a month for the next year Read the rest of this entry »


National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week

September 21, 2021

What is National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week?
September 19 to 25 is National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week. This week focuses on public awareness and understanding of the essential role of adult education and family literacy in the workforce.


Why is literacy important?
Statistically we find that illiteracy leads to a multitude of socioeconomic problems.
Illiterate adults are:
• 2x more like to be unemployed
• 3x more likely to be in poverty
• 4x more likely to be in poor health


At LSS Center for New Americans, we serve an average of 793 adult English language learners every year. We offer courses in English language acquisition, cultural orientation, workforce training, job interview skills, and citizenship education.


Adult education is essential for workforce development. Statewide statistics show that adults who complete a course have a 54% employment retention rate after 6 months.


For more information on a state level, here is Governor Noem’s press release this past week: https://news.sd.gov/newsitem.aspx?id=28528.


As teachers, here at Center for New Americans, we are very blessed to continue to help our students reach their goals and become productive, successful members of our society.

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


Can’t live with them, can’t…… well, you know

September 16, 2021

I once had a conversation with a young lady that was in one of my classes.  She had applied for a car loan, and the lender asked her about a credit card she hadn’t noted on her application. She wasn’t aware she had a credit card, but a little digging found that the card had been opened in her name when she was only 6 months old.  They were even making the payments on time.

When I asked  if she was going to pursue legal action as many of us would assume, she explained that she didn’t think so. The perpetrator was a family member.  Her grandmother.

Wow.  We usually think of someone off in Russia, Africa, or anywhere else other than here doing all of the identity theft via hacks and phone scams.

Unfortunately, family members are among the most common perpetrators of identity theft.  Think about it.  We generally trust them to the point that we are willing to leave our personal information with them.  Even if we don’t intentionally do it, we let them visit our homes and don’t even think to secure our information.

id theftUnfortunately, this is also why a large portion of identity theft goes unaddressed.  In order to have it cleaned from your credit history, you have to file a police report.  When it is a family member, many people refuse to press charges or even report that the theft happened.  They have a sense of loyalty to their family member, even though it is obviously not reciprocated.

So you haven’t used your credit card at one of the stores that have been hacked.  You have been so careful about giving out any personal information whatsoever and certainly not over the phone.

 It doesn’t mean you can’t be a victim. Fortunately, I haven’t been in that situation.  No one has stolen my identity, let alone family.  I can’t pretend to know what is right at that moment.  Only you can make that choice when it actually happens.

But before you make up your mind, consider what that negative credit history can impact: access to loans, opening a checking account, getting a job, getting an apartment, cell phone, or utilities and even your insurance rates.  Yes, insurance companies charge those with bad credit higher rates. One of the steps you can take to prevent identity theft is to lock down your credit file.  This means no accounts can be opened unless a PIN is provided.

Pulling your credit report is free through AnnualCreditReport.com.  Even if you choose not to press charges against your family or anyone else that steals your identity and financial well-being, at least know what is on your report.  You can plan accordingly rather than being surprised when you are already moving in a direction that is no longer available to you. 

 If you find your identity has been stolen and aren’t sure where to even start, at least talk to a non-profit credit counseling agency.  We can help you to address the situation, and talk about steps to begin the process of rebuilding.  You can have someone to walk through that process with you by scheduling an appointment with a counselor at the Center for Financial Resources either online at www.lsssd.org or by calling us at 1-888-258-2227 .  The decisions, uneasy as they may be, are yours to make.  We’ll just lay your options out and walk with you.

Written by Sylvia Selgestad, Financial Counselor and Educator

Photo credit: blogspot.com

LSS Center for Financial Resources
Consumer Credit Counseling Service | Housing Resources | Sharpen Your Financial Focus | Financial Fitness Education
705 East 41st Street, Suite 100 | Sioux Falls SD 57105-6047
605-330-2700 or 888-258-2227
www.LssSD.org
Strengthening Individuals, Families & Communities

FB icon   Twitter icon    LinkedIn icon 2    YouTube icon   LSS  Blog button My Money CheckUp icon

 


Our House

September 9, 2021

Our House…

…Is a very very very fine house. Or is it in the middle of our street?  Either way, as a homeowner, you need to be thinking about what’s just around the corner. Read the rest of this entry »


Choppin’ Broccoli

September 2, 2021

I’m probably dating myself here, but for those of you on the planet for awhile, you may remember Dana Carvey on SNL and his Choppin’ Broccoli song.  If you don’t know it, do yourself a favor and hit the Google. Read the rest of this entry »


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