Thanks and Farewell to Thrivent Chapters

September 28, 2016

LSS would like to thank the Thrivent Chapters in South Dakota for all their support through the years. As Thrivent closes all of its remaining Chapters nationwide on September 30, it’s time to look back and appreciate all the work that has been done to support so many causes.

I started at LSS more than 18 years ago, and that’s when I first heard about Aid Association of Lutherans and Lutheran Brotherhood. Both began in the early 20th century, offering Lutheran families the security of insurance contracts. Both non-profit fraternal organizations were dedicated to making their communities better by giving funds to charities. In 2001, the two organizations merged to become Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, a name that has since been shortened to Thrivent Financial.

Part of their mission was giving funding to events and projects, which was done primarily through the Chapters. I’ve been honored to work with many Chapters throughout the state–from Lawrence County to Roberts County to my own Chapter—West Minnehaha County.

Our area dinner benefits, Watertown Golf Tournament, and Taste of Cultures events have all benefitted from Thrivent Chapter sponsorship. Funds for projects have enabled us to provide more for those we serve; the most recent being funds to purchase small incentive gift cards for youth referred to the new LSS Evening Report Center. The ERC is an alternative to detention that allows youth to remain in the community while receiving additional services. LSS staff disperses a gift card when a youth does a good job at improving a school grade on their report card or getting a job interview or a job, etc. This is an encouragement for them that would not have been possible without the funding from a Thrivent Chapter.

I’ve been privileged to serve on the West Minnehaha County Thrivent Board for a number of years, and our last Chapter meeting was last week. I’ll miss the gratifying work and the fellowship with fellow board members, but I’m excited for the changes coming to Thrivent in South Dakota.

If you have a chance, give a Thrivent Chapter Board volunteer your thanks for all the support they’ve given to LSS of South Dakota.

Linda Jensen, LSS Development & Foundation
Church Relations and Planned Giving Development Officer
705 East 41st Street, Suite 200, Sioux Falls, SD  57105-6048
605- 444-7536 direct, 800-568-2401 ext. 7536 toll free

There’s Nothing Quite Like a Village of Thinkers

November 17, 2015

It is often said “it takes a village” to raise children, highlighting that everyone in a community must do his or her part to help young people grow mentally, physically, and emotionally.

Perhaps, though, this saying not only applies to children, but also to fields of knowledge.

I definitely felt this to be the case last week when English language teachers from South Dakota, North Dakota, and Minnesota gathered in the Holiday Inn City Centre in downtown Sioux Falls to discuss how to better reach out to and teach the non-native English speakers in this region.

Nearly 300 educators and community leaders met for two days last week as part of the annual Closer Connections Conference sponsored by Dakota TESL and LSS of South Dakota.  Topics of conversation and presentation ranged from “Myths and Realities of Immigration” to “Making English Meaningful” – from “Strategies for Teaching Vocabulary” to “Options for Undocumented Youth.”  In other words, the conference covered the whole gamut of topics relating to refugees and immigrants, from children to adults.

dakota TESL       Dakota TESL provides support , advocacy, and professional development opportunities for those who work with English as a second language students or English language learners. 

Susan Torres, an LSS English teacher here in Sioux Falls, who has also taught English in Spain and Argentina, said, “I got techniques to use for the classroom, I got a better understanding of the refugee resettlement process, and I also got to hear the sadness of the situation in Darfur (Sudan) from a Darfur Panel.  In other words, I have lots of things to digest from the conference.”

I felt the same way.

There is nothing quite like a village of thinkers to get you to rethink your practices, expand your knowledge, and expose you to new ideas.

Amy Vander Lugt, who also teaches here in Sioux Falls with LSS and has lived in China, said she especially appreciated a presentation about SLIFE (Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education) by Jill Watson, a professor at Hamline University in Minnesota.

jill_watson   Dr. Jill Watson is passionate about helping SLIFE (Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education) learners who come to the U.S.  Watson was a Keynote Speaker at the Closer Connections Conference.

“(Watson) has a wonderful way of helping teachers see the strengths of these students’ prior experience, while giving good ideas about how to help them transition successfully to our academic school settings,” Amy said.

I couldn’t agree more. It was especially interesting to hear Jill discuss the strengths of oral-based cultures vs. literacy-based cultures.  It is always nice to be reminded that while one’s own culture may have strengths, other cultures do too.  We can all learn from each other – and we all have things to share to make each other’s lives more meaningful.

That really was the bottom line of the conference. It is vital that we are always learning from others in our field – regardless of what that field is.  It is vital that we keep open minds, that we continue to move forward. We are a village of learners and teachers, and these roles change frequently, and that is a good thing.

Stay tuned for future blog posts about specific sessions of the conference. I can’t wait to tell you in greater detail about some of my favorites.

Posted by Julie Boutwell-Peterson

All Saints Day: Remembering Loved Ones

October 28, 2015

This year we will celebrate All Saints Day on Sunday, November 1. This celebration has been going on for hundreds of years; one of the reasons that Martin Luther nailed his “Ninety Five Theses” to the door of the Wittenberg Castle Church on October 31, 1517 was that he knew that there would be a large number of people coming to church the next day for the solemn occasion. All Saints Day originally began as a commemoration for the early Christians who were martyred for their faith but has expanded to include all who have died in the past year.

Today, many churches ask for photos of loved ones we’ve lost since the last All Saints Day to put up on a screen or on a poster in the Sanctuary, and read their names during church services. Some congregations have a special service as part of the grieving process for those who have lost a family member or friend.

196Some other ways people mark the day is with prayer, quiet reflection, spending time with family, or visiting cemeteries. I have a suggestion for something different–a memorial gift to LSS. It’s a wonderful way to honor those we’ve lost with a donation that can help others. LSS has beautiful memorial cards for your use; just let me know if you’d like some at no cost and we’ll send them to you. In addition to the card, an envelope is provided along with a return envelope to send your donation to LSS. You can designate your gift for a specific LSS program, or you can tell us to use it where there is the greatest need.

You also can request some recognition cards to honor those loved ones who are celebrating an anniversary, birthday, or other special occasion. For those who don’t need more things, a gift to LSS in their name can be a blessing both to them and to those served by LSS.

Peace and blessings to you–

Linda Jensen | LSS Development & Foundation
Church Relations and Planned Giving Development Officer
705 East 41st Street, Suite 200 l Sioux Falls, SD   57105-6048
605- 444-7536 direct l 800-568-2401 ext. 7536 toll free l 605-310-9865 cell

Strengthening Individuals, Families & Communities

The Color of Money

May 6, 2013

In honor of Financial Literacy Month, Lutheran Social Services Consumer Credit Counseling Service sponsored a coloring contest. Below are a few photos, along with some of the winning drawings. We congratulate everyone on a job well done. For ways to increase your financial know-how, visit:

CCCS Coloring ContestCCCS Coloring Contest Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: