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


Volunteer of the Year: 2021

October 26, 2021


Karen: LSS 2021 Volunteer of the Year

The English classrooms at the Center for New Americans rely heavily on the support and expertise of volunteers. Volunteers aid the teacher in classroom management (both online and in person), assist one-on-one tutoring, lead classroom and small group activities, and provide support to the teachers in numerous ways.


Each year the Education Program has the opportunity to honor one of our hardworking volunteers and nominate them for the Distinguished Volunteer of the Year Award for LSS of SD. This past week, our nominee, Karen Kraus, was recognized at the 2021 Distinguished Volunteer of the Year.


Here’s her nomination:
Karen Kraus started volunteering at the LSS Center for New Americans on 12/14/2016. Since her first day she has provided 460 hours of ESL classroom help for our adult Refugee and Immigrant students.


She has worked with all the English class levels and has also tutored one-to-one a student who had no prior literacy with the challenging task of learning to decode. Karen has been an amazing volunteer – flexible and consistent – in supporting the Education Program at LSS.


When the pandemic closed our in-person classrooms, she reached out to her assigned teacher to see how she could still help. While volunteers typically work once a week for two hours, she joined the online students in Zoom every day until other volunteers could be trained. At the training meetings, she was able to speak with the other volunteers, answering their questions about how it felt to assist in Zoom. She encouraged them to jump in and continue to help out even if they could not see the student due to technology challenges. She spoke about how the students still needed their volunteers more than ever in the Zoom Classrooms.


Karen brings amazing qualities and skills to our English Language Classes at LSS. Patient, insightful and collaborative – Karen communicates clearly and effectively with true beginners. She is a talented co-teacher in any classroom and a treasured partner in the team effort that is equipping our adult English learners with knowledge of the language, literacy and the content they need to communicate and succeed as new residents of South Dakota.


Here are a few of Karen’s insights about volunteering at LSS Center for New Americans.


What are some of your favorite memories from working with a student/in class?
I especially have enjoyed the following experiences:

o Assisting a student who just sounded out a word and seeing the big smile on their face!

o I love it when a joke is shared and understood even through our language barriers!

o The students call all of us “Teacher.” I can tell it is a term of honor by the way they say it.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about volunteering at CNA?
For me, it feels like an honor to be a small part of an English Language Learners’ journey. I strongly encourage anyone who might be interested to give this a try. The classroom teachers will first ask you to observe, then will give you direction on how to work directly with students. It’s a chance to meet people from other cultures, right here in Sioux Falls. I learn so much. It’s fun, it’s interesting, and it allows me to volunteer in a meaningful way.

Would YOU like to join our team as a classroom volunteer?
Contact diana.streleck@lsssd.org
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


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


Bring It On! Hybrid Classes: Making it Work

August 10, 2021
The OWL allows students to see, hear, and communicate during hybrid classes.

For the past several weeks, students have been slowly filling our hallways and classrooms again. Yet, it is a quiet transition, with only a few in-house spots available while the majority of students remain online.


This hybrid design was proposed to help students remain in English classes while still allowing for social distance and safety. Currently students are given the option of in-house or online attendance.


Creativity has made this model work for our students. Online students attend classes via Zoom while in-house students are able to see and communicate with the online students via OWL and projector. Additionally our volunteers are also still able to assist in the classroom via Zoom and are happy to help in any way.


“The hybrid model has been a learning curve for sure, but the students are engaged and we are happy that we can accommodate their need for both in-person and online instruction.”
-Kate Harris: Adult ESL Instructor and Career Navigator


There are benefits for both the online and the in-house model. Online classes provide students who otherwise could not attend due to health issues, child care issues, work schedule issues, etc., the ability to still receive quality instruction. The in-house model gives the benefit of a more traditional classroom, face-to-face instruction, interaction, and no need to rely on technology. Regardless, opening up the hybrid classes has added a new and exciting dynamic to our classrooms.


The hybrid class is challenging but we say, bring it on!


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


Citizenship in the Time of Covid

March 23, 2021

In spite of being in the Time of Covid, many immigrants are still making the decision to become American citizens.  Over the past year, this process has changed to incorporate Covid-safe practices during the interview process.  I spoke with our lawyer, Dana Boroos, to get some insight on changes that have been instituted.

From the mid March, 2020, until the end of July, 2020, there were no citizenship interviews or oath ceremonies as coronavirus protocols were implemented. 

Now that interviewing has resumed, the following requirements are in place:

  • The officer and applicant must wear a mask.  If an attorney or guardian is present, they are also required to wear masks.
  • Temperatures are taken before proceeding from the waiting area into the interview room.
  • A Plexiglas barrier separates the applicant from the officer. 
  • Only up to three people are allowed into the office at one time.  If both an attorney and a guardian present, they will take turns in the interview office as needed. 
  • Attorneys and interpreters may also appear at the citizenship interview via telephone. 
  • Finally if an applicant has any symptoms of Covid-19, an outstanding test, or known exposure within the last 2 weeks, the interview will be rescheduled.

Additionally, the Oath Ceremonies look different at this time.  There have been various adaptations for the Oath Ceremony. 

  • Some applicants may receive their certificates of naturalization the same day as the interview if traveling to Omaha, NE, or Minneapolis, MN.  These are “administrative ceremonies” without a judge.
  • In Sioux Falls, the USCIS office has been holding Oath Ceremonies for 5 to 10 applicants at a time with several ceremonies scheduled in one day about once a month.  Some of these ceremonies are administrative as well.
  • The judge will attend the ceremony via Zoom when needed for name changes. 
  • The ceremony is very short, no singing or speeches.
  • All attendees are required to wear masks and socially distance. 
  • Friends and family are not allowed to be present. 
  • Again, if the applicant has any symptoms of Covid-19, an outstanding test, or known exposure to coronavirus within the last 2 weeks, they are asked to reschedule.

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


Thankfulness

December 1, 2020

Our students studied health this past month, which I found appropriate as I asked my students this past week what they were thankful for.  Health was their number one answer!

Even as we enter the coldest months of the year, always rampant with flus and colds, and we face a new virus, we are still thankful that we have our health.  These words were not given lightly as many of my students have already been affected by coronavirus in their families and friends, and they all hope that we continue to stay healthy.

Additionally my students told me that they were thankful for family, friends, a safe home, food, and jobs.

But most importantly, my students are also thankful for the opportunity to continue learning English, even if it is not in a traditional classroom.  They are thankful for Zoom, the Internet, and their teachers that continue to reach out and teach them. 

And I am thankful too.  I am thankful that my students are dedicated, hardworking, and inquisitive.  I am thankful that my students continue to thrive even when things look bleak.  I am thankful that we are able to provide English classes to such wonderful people.  I certainly miss them in my classroom, but I am beyond grateful that we have found a way to connect and continue on through this pandemic.  I am so grateful that my students have remained strong and healthy.  I am happy that those who have been sick, have been able to return to the Zoom classroom.  I am thankful that we are here to celebrate together.

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 First Time

November 17, 2020

As we all know, November 3 was voting day.  We were reminded that many people participate in this privilege.  This day marked the first time for many new Americans to vote in their democracy.  It was a privilege to be celebrated and the results were greatly anticipated.

Here at Center for New Americans we learn that voting is a responsibility and a right reserved for U.S. citizens.  When studying for the naturalization test, students need to know the answers to the following questions:

  • What is one responsibility that is only for United States citizens?  To vote
  • Name one right only for United States citizens.  To vote in a federal election
  • What are two ways that Americans can participate in their democracy?  Voting and serving on a jury

According to https://americanhistory.si.edu/citizenship/ Preparing for the Oath:  “It is the responsibility of the United States citizens to vote in federal elections.  Voting is important.  However, there is no law that says that citizens must vote.”

Another question that is asked during the naturalization interview is, “Why do you want to be a citizen?”  As a citizenship instructor, I hear the answer, “America is my home!  I want to vote!” over and over.  I also hear, “I want to be part of a democracy!” 

We are so happy for our new citizens that voted this year.  Congratulations!  Here’s to many more years of voting and participating in our democracy. 

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


What we like about winter…

December 24, 2019

 

This past month we have been discussing seasons, especially winter as the snow has come to visit us in South Dakota.  Of course with this topic comes winter safety and winter driving and all the reasons we don’t like winter.  However, I asked my students to tell me three things they like about winter weather.  Here are a few of their answers:

 

christmas2019snow

The Beautiful View of the Big Sioux River in December

  • I like winter because my children love to play in the snow. They make snowmen and throw snowballs. They build snow forts every winter.  Snow can be a lot of fun.
  • I like winter because snow falls down. All places are very white. Some people don’t like snow because snow is too cold, but small kids need snow because they like sledding.
  • I like the snow. It is white. I like the winter.  My kids like it a lot and play.  My kids make snowmen, snow forts, and they like sledding.  For this reason, I like winter because my kids get excited to play in the snow.
  • I like cold because it’s good for my health. I like to play with my nephews outside because it’s so fun. In the season of winter, we celebrate Christmas and New Year’s.
  • I like wintertime because I get my tax return. I need money for my family. In wintertime, there are many holidays.  I like to be off and stay at home and rest from work.
  • Staying at home is good because I take time to relax and drink hot chocolate and watch movies.

 

christmas2019hotcoco

 

  • In winter, I like reading a book in front of the window, watching the snow fall down. It feels good. I like to take pictures to remember that I was frozen and it was fun!  I like to spend time at home with my family.  It feels comfortable and warm.
  • It is fun to see the white stuff fall from the sky. The ice and snow beautify the city.
  • I like winter because I can eat a lot of food. I like to sleep at night, but it is freezing cold!
  • I like winter because it is Christmas time and I can have fun with my family.
  • I stay home all day most of the time talking together with family. We make tea, coffee, and see the outside view. I like a white Christmas.  I want Christmas time to have a lot of snow.

 

Here is wishing you have time to appreciate the beautiful snow, build snowmen, have snowball fights, stay warm, and drink lots of hot chocolate this winter!

 

christmas2019

 

Have a wonderful Christmas

this week

from all of us

here at the

Center for New Americans! 

MERRY

CHRISTMAS!

 

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

 


What’s in a Name?

December 10, 2019

names1

It is a unique world that I teach in. On a typical day I have students from Eritrea, Somalia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Congo, Burundi, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma, Ukraine…and a handful of other countries. I find that even what appears to be the simplest name may actually be a tongue twister for my American English tongue.

 
And yet, I am told, and firmly believe, that names show respect to people and help to create community and camaraderie. More importantly, as a teacher, it shows that I care when I try to pronounce a name correctly, even if I fail miserably.

 
And just What’s In a Name?

 
My obsession with names began long ago. I would spend hours as a child going over my grandmother’s name book and carefully pick out the best names with the best meanings for my future children…or a character in my most recent attempt at novel writing.
When I became an English instructor at LSS, my obsession with names continued. I found it fascinating to hear all the different names and pronunciations. I also found it intriguing that all my Nepalese women seemed to have the same middle name…Maya…and my Nepali men a common middle name…Bahadur. In fact I was so intrigued that I finally asked why? After a lengthy explanation, my students told me that Maya means “love” and Bahadur means “bravery.” They also informed me that first names, too, had meanings, such as Santi means “peace,” Chhabi means “key,” and Phul means “flower.”

names2
Recently I was able to discuss names with some of my other students from around the globe. We discussed: Who chose their name? Does their name have a special meaning? What is common practice with naming children in their home countries? Students were more than eager to share with me (and often laugh with me as I tried very hard to get the names right).

 
One interesting thing I learned was that a student from Sudan was named according to the day of the week. If a child was born on a Tuesday, the girls were all one name and the boys another, and then of course the other days had their own corresponding names. He said though that things have changed over the years, and this is not necessarily followed any more.

 
Additionally, another Sudanese student shared that children receive their own name plus the name of their father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. Thus a child could be named Aziza Mohammed Ali Osman (child-father-grandfather-great-grandfather’s names respectively) and this goes for either a boy or a girl.

 
My own name was always kind of an embarrassment for me as a child, and even today I have students calling me “Hi There,” “He There,” and “Heater.” Coincidentally a gentleman from Ethiopia shared that he, too, was always embarrassed about his name as a child as it is not a common name. In fact it was at the suggestion of a family friend that he received his moniker. Then one day he heard his name (at the refugee camp no less) and there was another with his name. He said he was so relieved to meet someone else with his name.

names3
Finally, for today, a student from China explained that their name means “Red Sun.” For him, this was a good name, to be named for the beautiful red sun in the sky. Certainly this was a name that he was proud of, just as my other students are proud of their names and their heritage…just as I am proud of my name and my heritage, too.

 

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


When We Reach Our Dreams! New Citizens in South Dakota

November 12, 2019

studentsandteachersatcitceremony

LSS Teachers pose with two new American citizens after the ceremony

September 6, 2019, was a magnificent day for many reasons.  For starters, it is was a beautiful day, sunny and warm, a reminder of our quickly ending summer.  Secondly, on that day 200 people from 37 different countries became United States citizens right here in Sioux Falls.

Just what does it mean to be a citizen of the United States?  It says on my passport that I am a citizen of the United States, but somewhere in the recesses of my mind, I know that my ancestors loved other countries: Germany, Norway, Prussia, and England.  However, although these places are intriguing for me, I have pride and love for only one country, the United States of America.

newcitswithamericanflag

Two New American Citizens pose with the American Flag

The same goes for our new citizens.  They have pride and love for this new country.  To come to this country, they left behind everything they knew and loved in hopes to start a new life, a better life, a safer life, and to be part of the American dream.  As the keynote speaker fittingly said, it is with utmost dedication and determination that people are willing to leave their homeland, their “most sacred,” to come to America.

So as I watched 200 new citizens swear the Oath of Allegiance to the United States, I found it very fitting that the opening speaker had mentioned the stamina and determination of their own ancestors and had admonished, “I really hope you never lose that internal resolve that brought you here to the United States.”

A New American citizen folds the flag to the National Anthem

 

Then later as the mayor spoke, I had to agree with him that our community is full of diversity and that our “new citizens have a voice and responsibility to participate,” and to be “a part of this city, this community,” through voting, mentoring, and volunteering.

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


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