Time for a Change

April 7, 2017

Spring is in the air! This morning I saw a bird singing on the parking ramp railing, and I even dared to wear sandals and capris this week.  Everywhere I look there is green grass poking up and any trace of snow has disappeared.  It’s certainly a time for renewing and growing.

Boxes, chairs, and tables ready for the big move to East Bank


With that being said, LSS Center for New Americans has been very busy this week packing for our move to the Campus on East Bank. After waiting, talking, touring, and waiting some more, it seems surreal to be packing up everything and moving into our new building.  Teachers and students alike are excited about the move.  For months students have been asking about the new building, and are so very eager to start this new chapter in their lives. Many students are happy about the little things (or maybe they are the big things) that will come with the new building such as a parking lot and a nearby bus stop.  Teachers are excited to have permanent classrooms and a place to call “ours.”


It is of course bittersweet to be leaving the building we have occupied for the past three years. I found I was a little teary eyed on Tuesday as we held our last classes in the “old school.”  However, my students were very happy to hear that the tables, the chairs, and (most importantly) the teachers, would be moving to the new school and would be greeting them when English class starts again.

Boxes and boxes all ready to go


Stacks of packed boxes and empty rooms greet us now, but soon we will be unpacking again and setting up new classrooms. It is time for our new journey to begin.  So this week, we are dreaming of the changes about to come…new building, new classrooms, new experiences…and it feels quite appropriate that spring is here now.

Posted by Heather Glidewell, ESL Instructor

Please Join Us for the 22nd Annual Taste of Cultures Dinner and Silent Auction Event!

January 17, 2017

Saturday, March 4, 2017  6:30 pm

The District, Sioux Falls


Celebrate the diversity of our community with your support of LSS in raising funds to assist newcomers to resettle. Proceeds help to purchase groceries, assist with rent, purchase furniture, buy bus passes and purchase winter clothing for refugee families new to the country.

6:30 pm Dinner
– Enjoy Food from Around the World
– Wine, Bourbon & Whiskey Tasting
– Silent Auction

7:30 pm > Entertainment
– Live Music
– Cultural Dancing

Stay and enjoy the evening with music, friends and family

Ticket Options
General Admission Tickets > $40
General Admission Table of Eight > $300
VIP Tickets > $80 **Limited Quantity Available**
VIP Table of Eight > $640 **Limited Quantity Available**
– VIP tickets include premium seating, wine, bourbon & whiskey tasting

Limited seating, reserve seats early.

Tickets are available online. For ticket information call Kristyne Walth, Volunteer Coordinator, LSS Center for New Americans at 605-731-2009.

A pledge or contribution to support LSS services in the area will be requested.

If you are unable to attend but would like to make a donation; text TOC17 to 41444.  Your gift is greatly appreciated.




Students from Around the World Celebrate Culture at the Annual “World Festival”

January 3, 2017

LSS Center for New Americans English Class students selected a traditional American holiday song to learn and perform at the festival.  They chose to learn, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

On December 15, 2016 the LSS Center for New Americans hosted the 5th annual “World Festival.”

During the “World Festival,” adult English learners from around the globe share cultural music, dances and foods with each other, their English teachers and other LSS staff.


LSS CNA teaching staff join in dancing with students from Bhutan.


Teacher Carol Hudson dons her homemade “Ugly Sweater” for this special event

Carol shared that this event is valuable because the students say it’s so fun. You see the students laughing and having a good time and getting to be with their teachers as equals, sitting together, eating together and dancing together.  During the World Festival, “By being on their level, we are all the same.”


The “finger food” potluck – plenty of food for everyone!


Caado performs a dance routine to Congolese hip-hop


A teacher and student entertain the crowd with a dance to Afghani music


written by Laura Smith-Hill, Education Program Coordinator

Thanksgiving In Sioux Falls, South Dakota – Where History Repeats Itself

November 17, 2016

Every morning when I come to work and open the doors to the Center for New Americans it’s like stepping into another world, or better into many other worlds. There is constant chatter in many different languages, people coming, people going, people waiting, children laughing and children crying. All of them will be experiencing an American holiday next week – Thanksgiving – some of them for the very first time. When I moved to this country many years ago I didn’t know anything about Thanksgiving, except that this was the day when the American people gave thanks. So I decided to find out what my clients, co-workers and friends were thankful for, and how they say it in their languages. It was a lot of fun to have my students teach me the words for ‘thank you’ and my attempts at pronouncing them were met with much laughter and encouragement. Let me share with you what I learned, but please excuse the spelling errors of which I am sure there are many. Thank you means thank you, no matter how you say it

Danke – Ci lɔcdä tɛɛth – Aftata kite – Dyakuyu – Galatoma – Shukran –Tinate –Azuo –  

Tebui– Ameseginalehu –Dhanyebad – Yekenyeley – Spasiba –Xiexie –Dankie –

Gracias –   Asante – Merci – Grazie – Hvala ti – Dank je –  Mahadsanid –   Yin ca leec

And what exactly is everyone thankful for? They are appreciative of the daily things – their home and their family and their children, being in good health, having a job and stability in their lives, never going hungry again. Many clients are thankful for their teachers and all the assistance they get from our staff. One Eastern European woman used her on-line dictionary so she could tell me what she is so thankful for: Life. She is just so happy that her family is here, together and alive. I got teary eyed when she was talking. Her gratitude is shared by many who are thankful for God saving their lives and bringing them to America where He is taking good care of them. A few years ago, an African woman explained to me that yes, we pray several times a day and go to church often. But back in Africa, we experienced such terrible suffering every day that we needed something to hold on to, to give us hope and strength to get out of there alive.


One East African man explained it from a historical perspective. He was thankful that America is such a peaceful and welcoming nation. Many hundred years ago, the Native Americans welcomed the Pilgrims who were persecuted and feared for their lives in their home countries. Hundreds of years later, America is still welcoming those who have fear in their eyes but hope in their hearts. But aren’t you also thankful for your home and your job, I asked. Oh yes, he said, but that couldn’t be if America wouldn’t still open her doors and welcome us.

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”


Written by Silke Hansen, ESL Instructor

But What About My Chocolate?

September 9, 2016

That was a very serious question for me when I arrived from my native Germany to go to school in South Dakota so many years ago.  The closest World Market was in Denver, Colorado, and international food, especially groceries, hadn’t found its way yet to the middle of the American continent. Many, many care packages made their way across the ocean and my fellow international students and I would anxiously await the smells and tastes of home. I never knew which delicacies my mother would include in her package but I could be sure of one thing – there was always chocolate. Ritter Sport, to be exact, the queen of chocolate. Life couldn’t get any better than having a heavenly square of German chocolate melt in my mouth.

Rittersport chocolate, the queen of chocolate.

Rittersport chocolate, the queen of chocolate.


Roti bread is a staple in Nepalese cooking.

Roti bread is a staple in Nepalese cooking.

Fast forward a few years to 2016. Ritter Sport is still my absolute favorite chocolate but it now is only a short drive away. Sioux Falls has become home to thousands of immigrants and refugees who brought with them their cultures, their traditions and, of course, their food. World Market has come to Sioux Falls, along with a store that I grew up with, the ALDI grocery store. The city has adjusted well to the ever growing, multicultural taste buds. Almost every grocery store in Sioux Falls today carries a wide variety of foods and other items from all around the world.

You can also find many culture specific stores. What once was a place to buy musical instruments now houses a Somali store. Tucked neatly in the middle of a residential neighborhood is another African store. A small building right next to a huge parking lot is home to an Asian store. Several multicultural businesses can be found at one particular intersection. When a new store opens, it doesn’t stay new for long. Through word of mouth the clientele arrives at yet another place where they can find a home away from home.  And every single one of these stores carries chocolate!

An image of Injera, an East African sourdough-risen flatbread.

An image of Injera, an East African sourdough-risen flatbread.


A variety of Sushi rolls, a Japanese delicacy.

A variety of Sushi rolls, a Japanese delicacy.

Below are just a few examples of the large variety of ethnic stores in Sioux Falls, just to get you started. Be on the lookout when you drive around the city and you will make your own list.


10th and Blauvelt

Asian Food Market

10th and Blauvelt, 2 doors down from Mogadishu

Dar Es Salaam

Minnesota Ave and Brookings Street

Cultural Grocery Store

At the intersection of West, 6th and Burnside, next to laundromat

Alberi Store

West and Burnside

Than Mai Market

Rice Street, close to John Morrell

Written by Silke Hansen, ESL Instructor

A West African Proverb: A Life-Lesson from Your Own Hand

September 1, 2016

I have the privilege of teaching an English class for high-beginning adult English learners. The beauty of teaching adult learners is that the teaching goes both ways.

While I facilitate my students’ language learning, I feel they teach me more. They teach me about their cultures, their perspectives and values. They teach me from their wealth of experiences and their own living examples of perseverance.

Here’s an example.

Last week I started a unit on Health for Community Living. As we reviewed vocabulary for the parts of the body, my students were most curious and enthralled to learn the unique English names for each finger. The pinky finger takes the prize for evoking the most giggles and smiles!

Body part lesson

Adult English Class students at the LSS Center for New Americans review vocabulary about parts of the body.


As I taught them this finger vocabulary, one student with especially sophisticated speaking skills taught all of us a proverb from her native country of Guinea, in West Africa. Here is the gist of her lesson within our English lesson.

In Guinea, when someone is having conflict with others we remind him about the fingers on his hand. These fingers were not created the same, we say. Some are big, some are small. God created them that way. Just like people. Some are big, some are small, some are rich, some are poor, but God created us that way.

When we share this saying with people, they cool down.


A few of the morning English Class 2 students pose to remind us each hand and finger is created to be different; just as we were created to be unique individuals.


This little proverb reminds us that in the midst of disagreement – and  sometimes  conflict – we can have peace when we remember we were created to be different after all. Like the contrasting landscapes we see driving across the United States, the variety expressed through the people of our nation also makes this a nation that was created to be beautiful in its diversity.

If you are interested in both supporting and learning from adult English learners in our community, contact Kristyne Walth to ask about becoming a classroom volunteer or a family mentor at Kristyne.Walth@lsssd.org

Written by Laura Smith-Hill, Education Program Coordinator for the Center for New Americans

Eid Mubarak!

July 7, 2016

Eid Mubarak is a phrase you will here a lot this week at the Center for New Americans.  It is a traditional greeting for Mulisms which means, “Blessed Eid”.  Eid al-Fitr is a three day celebration marking the end of Ramadan.  This year Ramadan ended Wednesday, July 6th. The celebration of Eid includes lots of food, prayers and merriment with family and friends.

Ramadan is a 29-30 day period of religious fasting for Muslims all over the world.  Observing Muslims will fast from sunrise to sunset, refraining from any food or liquids.  Ramadan is one of the 5 Pillars of Islam, along with confession of faith, prayer, alms giving and a pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.   A Sudanese student who came to Sioux Falls in 2009 says  that one of the benefits of Ramadan is greater empathy.  “Now we know what the poor man feels like…how tired he must feel.  [Ramadan] makes you kinder.”

Eid Mubarak to our Muslim brothers and sisters!  If you know someone who observed Ramadan, don’t forget to wish them Eid Mubarak as well.


Posted by Kristyne Walth, Volunteer Coordinator


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