Celebrate “Read Across America” Day!

March 2, 2022

Jump at the Sun: The True Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston, We Belong and With a Star in My Hand: Rubén Darío, Poetry Hero, three books recommend by the NEA for Read Across America.


Though warm, spring weather is (hopefully) on its way to South Dakota, we are still in the midst of chilly, winter days. In my opinion, the best antidote to the cold weather is staying inside with a delicious cup of tea, a cozy blanket and a great book. From my couch in Sioux Falls, I can be transported to any place and any point in time by getting lost in a book. It turns out, this week is a great time to hunker down and read: Wednesday, March 2, is Read Across America Day.

Started by the National Education Association (NEA) in 1998, Read Across America Day is a celebration of reading and the joys it brings. Its aims are to encourage children and teens by sponsoring events, partnerships and resources that reflect the diversity of today’s readers. The NEA feels it is important to have books that students can, “see themselves reflected in, as well as books that allow readers to see a world or a character that might be different than them.” (https://www.nea.org/resource-library/read-across-america-frequently-asked-questions).

Though aimed at children and teenagers, there is value in Read Across America Day for readers of all ages and levels. As our own students at the Center for New Americans grow in their literacy, we hope that they too will be able to read and celebrate along with their families.

Check out a few of the books that the NEA is recommending for Read Across America Day this March:

  1. Jump at the Sun: The True Life Tale of Unstoppable Storycatcher Zora Neale Hurston by Alicia Williams (for elementary school-age readers)
  2. We Belong by Cookie Hiponia Everman (for middle school-age readers)
  3. With a Star in My Hand: Rubén Darío, Poetry Hero by Margarita Engle (for young adults)

To learn more, go to https://www.nea.org/professional-excellence/student-engagement/read-across-america

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


Voices from the Past Speak to Us Today

February 23, 2022

When moving to a new country, one thing that can sometimes be overlooked is learning about the history of that country. This is understandable; immigrants already have so much to learn and adjust to from language to culture to laws that history can sometimes be lost in the mix. I feel, however, that history informs our current culture and society and thus is not simply something irrelevant from the past but a living, breathing component of life in the United States today. Last month was Martin Luther King Jr. Day and this month is Black History Month. In our classes, we have been learning about some of the struggles and triumphs of notable Black Americans and how they impact us today.
In our classes, we discussed Martin Luther King Jr. and his work in the Civil Rights Movement. In some of the classes, students watched part of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” and “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speeches. One student was enthralled by Dr. King’s words and energy and excitedly quipped, “He speaks very passionately!” We also discussed Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
In one class, the students learned about a lesser known Black American: George Washington Carver. Carver, born into slavery in 1859, was a scientist, inventor and agriculturalist. Carver is probably best remembered for discovering more than 300 different uses for the peanut plant but he also studied fungi and soybeans. His talent and genius were sought after by many notable people, but Carver was committed to his goal: helping southern farmers. He turned down many lucrative job offers to focus on this goal. Our students found this very interesting. One of our ESL teachers, Diana Calvetti-Streleck, noted, “The students were impressed by Carver’s focus on his goal and that he didn’t let money get in the way of his goal.”
Like Dr. King, Parks, Carver and countless others, our students have goals, hopes, struggles and dreams. Although times change and society changes, people of the past still resonate with us because the human experience never changes. In my students’ lives and in the world there are still mountains to climb, injustices to fight and struggles to face but I hope that the lives and words of these incredible Americans of continue to live on and inspire our students.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and George Washington Carver.


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


Counselor Spotlight – Olivia Lima

January 20, 2022

Olivia has worked for us for almost a year and a half and has been a huge asset to our team. We asked Olivia some questions and she gave some great responses about working for LSS in our department.Olivia Lima

Why did you come to LSS – Center for Financial Resources?

Personal finance is a passion hobby of mine (I know, I’m such a geek!).  I am grateful for the knowledge I have about finance, since so many people aren’t sure how to handle their money—and no wonder!  Few of us learn this either at home or at school.  There’s such a deep need.  So last year I was looking for a way to put my knowledge to use, to give back by helping people build skills & confidence to manage their money.  The Center for Financial Resources really appealed to me because the focus is on helping regular people with everyday finance: how to budget, buy a home, pay off debt, and save money.  It’s not about helping the ultra-wealthy with tax havens! LSS has a strong reputation in SD for mission-driven purpose and high-quality service to the community, so I knew this would be a good place to invest my time and energy.  I couldn’t be more pleased with the decision: the staff at CFR are amazingly talented, dedicated professionals, and I have learned so much from everyone.

What benefits have you seen from your time with LSS – CFR?

It’s deeply gratifying to work with clients over time and see their finances improve and their confidence grow.  Money is just a tool to reach all our other goals, so when someone takes control of their money, it means they can take control of their life.  Even though it can be a long journey to build up finances all the way to a goal, I already see immediate relief in clients just from realizing they are on the right track.

Why would you recommend CFR to others?

Everyone can benefit from reviewing their finances!  And seeing a financial counselor gives you a helpful outside perspective as well as information about options you might not have known about—not to mention access to a cheerleader/accountability buddy!  Most financial advice is very expensive (either in explicit fees or hidden commission costs) but here at LSS we are funded to provide counseling at low to no cost.

What else do you feel people need to know about working with CFR?

It does not need to be scary!  Money can be SO emotional, but we can help make the process easier for you.  And there’s no judgment: after all, it’s your money!  We want to help you meet *your* goals, no one else’s.  And we are available to walk with you for as long as you’d like.  If you want to come in for a quick check-up and be done in 1-2 appointments, we can do that. If you’d like to continue meeting with a counselor for several months while you work toward goals, we can do that, too, at no additional cost.  We’re here to help you no matter what your situation.

Written by Cassandra Johnson and Olivia Lima, Financial Counselor and Educator

Photo credit: twitter.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


New Debt Collection Rule

January 6, 2022

It’s been 45 years since the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act has been updated. Let’s be honest though, ways of communication are quite a bit different than they were in 1977. With the new update debt collectors can now contact via text message, email, and even direct messages in social media. text message image

Yes, you read that right – collectors can now contact you through social media, but… there are still laws in place to protect consumers. They can not post anything that would be visible to the public; it needs to be as a private message.

As of Nov. 30th, 2021 collectors have to include an option to opt-out of receiving messages in all ways of communication. Dealing with debts in collections is already stressful enough, and with these new changes it can become even trickier. Collectors can contact in all ways accessible for each debt that they have, so someone could receive a text, email, phone call, letter all over the same bill, but like I mentioned, there has to be an opt-out option for each method. It is important though to leave at least one method open. If all methods are closed there is no way of knowing where the debt is, or if it could be moving into further legal action.

We know that dealing with debt whether in collections or not can be daunting sometimes on knowing what to do. Please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us and a counselor can go over all options available. You can call us at 1-888-258-2227 or visit our website at www.lsssd.org.

Written by Cassandra Johnson, Financial Counselor and Educator

Photo credit: flickr.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


Christmas Celebrations From around the World – Reflections from CNA’s Staff

December 28, 2021

One of the wonderful things about working at the Center for New Americans is getting to interact with people from all different countries and cultures. In addition to our students and clients, we also have a diverse staff from many different countries in Europe, Africa and Asia. Read below as a few of our staff members share Christmas traditions from their countries!

The Christkind, who brings gifts to German children on Christmas Eve.

Teacher Silke Hansen (Germany) – “In Germany, our main celebration day is on December 24th. In my family, Christmas Eve is when we put up the Christmas tree and we always had a real tree! Most workers have the 25th and 26th off to visit with family and friends (usually family on the 25th and friends on the 26th).  Presents are delivered not by Santa Claus but by an angelic figure called Christkind on Christmas Eve. In my family, after dinner on December 24th, my siblings and I would go upstairs to our bedrooms while Christkind (AKA: mom and dad) put gifts under the tree. After this, they would ring the doorbell and run upstairs to our rooms asking, “Did you hear the door? Do you think the Christkind came to visit?” Then we would race downstairs to open our gifts! We usually ate a light supper on Christmas Eve and had our big meal on Christmas Day. We normally ate Rouladen (meat stuffed with onions, pickles and bacon), Mehlknoedel (dumplings) and red cabbage with gravy.”

An igitenge worn by many Congolese women.

Caseworker Tez Kiruhura (Democratic Republic of the Congo) – “Christmas back home is different than Christmas here. In my family, we eat fufu (a porridge made from cassava), rice, lots of meat (goat, beef and chicken) and we drink soda and milk. We gather together as a family to eat and give thanks to God for the blessings in our lives. It’s traditional that everyone gets new clothes on Christmas. Women usually wear an igitenge (dress) made of bright, multicolored fabric and matching head scarf made of same fabric. There is not always money for gifts but if there is, we exchange them on Christmas. Going to church is an important tradition. We go to church on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday closest to Christmas. It’s always three days because that represents the resurrection of Jesus. There is usually a guest preacher for these church services.”

Shoes stuffed with surprises after a visit from St. Nicolas.

Caseworker Lilly Jasarovic (Bosnia/Serbia) – “Christmas is similar to what it is here in America. Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on the January 7th, not December 25th. Bosnia is very religiously diverse and it’s common for Catholics, Orthodox Christians and Muslims to go to church to celebrate on January 7th. For Christmas dinner, the meal always starts with plum brandy. Many people eat beef and noodle soup, cabbage rolls, Trappista cheese, pickled vegetables, strudels and cakes. One Orthodox tradition is to make a special loaf of bread with a coin, a heart-shaped token, a tree branch and other objects placed inside. Families bake and then cut the bread and whoever finds a certain object is supposed to receive a special blessing in the New Year. The coin brings success, the heart brings love and the branch brings health. Another fun tradition that children enjoy is St. Nicolas’ Day on December 19. According to tradition, on this day, Saint Nicolas leaves sweets and small toys in the shoes of children.”

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


Let Us Know! Let Us Know! Let Us Know! – By Sara Ramirez

December 23, 2021

Oh, the weather outside is frightful,

But CFR staff are so delightful

So if you don’t know where your dollars go

Let us know, Let us know, Let us knowdepositphotos.com piggy bank

CFR staff are always rocking

And can help get the collection calls stopping

If you have bills from long ago

Let us know, Let us know, Let us know

When you decide money is just too tight

Or you’re in the middle of the storm

Drop us a call, email or even write

CFR will get your financial health in form

We pray that you have a joyful and peaceful Christmas!

Sincerely,

LSS – Center for Financial Resources

“And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” —Luke 2:10

Music by Sara Ramirez

Written by Cassie Johnson, Financial Counselor and Educator

Photo credit: http://www.depositphotos.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


Counselor Spotlight – Rod Lipka

December 9, 2021

Rod Lipka

Rod Lipka has been working for LSS-Center for Financial Resources for three months now, and he is fitting right in with our team. He has such a heart for wanting to help those in our communities. We asked Rod a couple questions about his thoughts on our department and here is what he had to say:

–Why did you come to LSS-Center for Financial Resources?

“What attracted me most to LSS is that everything offered is about what is most beneficial for the clients. The goals of our programs are about education, counseling, and consultation, not sales.”

–Why would you recommend LSS-CFR to others?

“The commitment LSS has to the community can be seen in all the services offered and how actively they are promoted to make sure those most in need are aware of what we can do to assist them.”

–What else do you feel people need to know about working with LSS-CFR?

“Our priority is to provide clients with well informed options. There is no judgment and the details of counseling are private.”

Written by Cassie Johnson, Financial Counselor and Educator

Photo credit: http://www.LssSD.org

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


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


What Are We Teachers Thankful For?

November 30, 2021

As we prepared for time with family and friends this past week, consuming the proverbial turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie, I thought about my gratitude for my job and my students. I am so thankful to be a teacher of Adult English Learners at the LSS Center for New Americans. I am thankful for our students who consistently awe me with their strength, persistence, and determination. I asked my fellow teachers to share what they are thankful for.  Here is what they shared:

I am thankful for my students’ unique perspectives and life experience, their willingness to help one another, and their energy and enthusiasm.

~Kate

I’m thankful for our students’ patience when we have technical issues.  They are so understanding and gracious!  I’m also thankful for our great coworkers – they are my friends as well as coworkers.  I guess LSS attracts nice people!

~Amy

I appreciate our students’ eagerness both to learn about English and American culture, and also their willingness to share about their own language and culture.

~Sarah

I am grateful that our students want to be in classes, and want to work hard to learn! It is so wonderful to teach students like that!  I am grateful we have a way to have class with both in-person students and Zoom students.  I’m grateful for the times we laugh and have fun in class!

~Susan

I am thankful for the courage, persistence and strengths our students show every day.  I am thankful for the upgrade in technology which allowed the teachers to better serve the students.  I am thankful for the awesome co-workers at the Center for New Americans.

~Diana

I’m thankful for the laughter I get to share with the students. It’s the best thing that accelerates our learning.  I’m thankful for people I get to work with. They are my teachers! Because of them, I can be a better person and keep growing as a citizen of the world.  Thank you for letting me share!

~Rihoko

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


Quick Holiday Cash, the Non-Scam Way

November 24, 2021

The holidays can already be stressful enough without the concern on if you are being scammed by a deal that is too good to be true. There are a lot of scams out there: ones that try to convince you to donate to a charity, fake gift exchanges, or temporary holiday jobs.

Now, working a holiday job can be a good way to earn some extra cash, but be careful as to if it is legitimate or not. If they are offering high wages for routine tasks like stuffing envelopes or answering phones it could be a scam. The saying of ‘if it sounds to good to be true… it probably is’ should be ringing in your ears in this scenario or any situation that seems fishy. You should request an official offer letter that details the job being hired for and the wages before starting any work.

There are some websites you can go to for cross referencing on if a business is reputable: cportcu.org

  • Better Business Bureau (BBB) https://www.bbb.org/: There is an entire database that tracks scams.
  • Federal Trade Commission (FTC) https://www.ftc.gov/: Has a scam alert page that is always being updated on current scams.

Some creative ways that you can make some quick cash could be by doing ride share or food delivery jobs (Uber/Lyft, FoodDudes/DoorDash). Another idea is to sell things that you no longer need. If you have children, you could also encourage them to sell toys they no longer play with.

If you like these ideas or want other ideas reach out to us and one of our counselors can meet with you. We can also help review documents if you are concerned on it being a scam. You can schedule an appointment by calling us at 1-888-258-2227 or by visiting our website at www.lsssd.org.

Written by Cassandra Johnson, Financial Counselor and Educator

Photo credit: cportcu.org

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


%d bloggers like this: