Students Celebrate Success at Center for New Americans: Part 1

October 8, 2019

It was a joyous day for many students at the Center for New Americans as they celebrated their achievements at the end of the quarter.

Over a three month period, 70 students graduated out of at least one level of English.  Students and teachers celebrated with an award ceremony, food, music, and speeches.

AM speaker

During one impassioned speech, a student answered the question, why are students so dedicated to learning English?  She shared a moving story of her first flight to the United States and how embarrassing it was to not understand anything around her at the airport.  However, she says:

And here I’m after a year and 7 months and studying English.  I don’t speak it correctly.  I don’t write it correctly, but I feel safer to go to the clinic or the store and the airport and ask for what I need.  I will continue studying English until I finish all levels and speak it correctly.  I have two reasons for this…

The first because I would like to be a good example for my daughters, that they see that although I struggle to learn, I try hard and I commit myself to continue studying, so they will do the same with their studies.  I believe that my example is very important even though they are adults.

The second reason why I have as a goal to speak English correctly is because I would like to work or volunteer to be a nurse’s assistant in a hospital.  I have hope in my heart.  I have a lot of faith that I will achieve.  I believe I can learn English.

Students and teachers sing a special South Dakota version of the John Denver song “Country Roads”

The Day was fun, inspiring, and we look forward to many more successes.  Make sure to catch us again soon when we share more inspiring speeches and photos from the student celebration.


Some of the Morning Graduating Students Pose With Their Certificates


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

Black Hills Federal Credit Union Donation

August 13, 2019

Black Hills Credit Union presents the Center for New Americans with a check for $1800.00


Community support is vital to our success.  Recently the Black Hills Federal Credit Union chose to lend a helping hand and support our English program here at the Center for New Americans.  A donation of $1800.00 was given towards the purchase of much needed document readers in our classrooms, and with this donation, we were able to purchase a document reader for every classroom. In addition, their generous donation enabled us to purchase extra headphones, new power adapters for our laptops, and a replacement laptop for our mobile student computer lab.  Our instructors are so thrilled and very thankful for the new document cameras that enable them to project images of papers and other items on the whiteboards.  The Doc Cams were immediately put to use.

Students at the Center for New Americans range in age from 18 to 95. Some of the students come as far away as Bhutan or China or as close as Eritrea or Congo.  Some students are neighbors from El Salvador or Venezuela.  Some students come with minimal English whereas others may have a great foundation.  Regardless, all the students have one common goal:  Learn More English.


New Document Cameras Waiting to be Installed in the Classrooms

All our students will benefit greatly from this generous gift as teachers use them in the classroom.

We want to thank the Black Hills Federal Credit Union for their dedication to the community and their wonderful support to our program.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Students using one of the document cameras and headphones to learn how to use tablets in the classroom.



LSS English Instructor Laura uses the document camera in the classroom



A document camera is used to project a workbook map during citizenship class.

Written by Heather Glidewell | LSS Center for New Americans | Adult ESL Instructor

300 East 6th Street, Suite 100 | Sioux Falls, SD 57103

605-731-2041 Teacher’s Office | 1-866-242-2447 toll free | 605-731-2059 fax

Why English? From the Mouth of a Student

July 9, 2019


According to the Center for Immigration Studies, a total of 22,491 refugees came to the United States in 2018, and the largest number of refugees came from the countries of Congo, Myanmar, Ukraine, Bhutan, and Eritrea.  It goes without saying that the main languages of these countries are not English but rather Congolese, French, Kayah, Ukrainian, Russian, Tigrinya, Kunama, and a handful of other tribal languages.  For these grateful refugees, it becomes a matter of extreme importance to learn English once they reach the United States.  To simply navigate a grocery store or secure employment or pay a bill, refugees must have a basic working knowledge of English.  That’s where the instructors at LSS step in, providing a hand up to help get over the mountain.  We are so very proud of our students’ accomplishments and dedication.

Recently one such enthusiastic student spoke about the importance of learning the English language.  Here is what he passionately told all the other students here at the Center for New Americans:

“So this is my first time talking in public.  I’m nervous.  I’m pretty sure I will have too many mistakes, but that’s okay because that is the reason we are here.

We are here for to learn.  We are hear for to learn speak, for to learn write, for to learn read, for to learn listen.  There are four skills.  Everybody we need learn that.

I know it’s no easy.  But nothing is easy in this life.  So I think if you work hard, if you work with discipline and consistency, you can get it.

So almost everybody here in this room, we have something in common.  We are here to this beautiful country, finding something.  Finding a best life.  But we have a problem because this beautiful country have [a lot of] opportunities, but almost everybody speak English here.  So that is the main reason because we need to learn this language, everybody.  We need to work hard for get it good.  I think so.  No we need to work hard just for living.  We need to work hard for make difference.  We need to make difference and help another people, every day.  So for that we need dreams.  We need dreams, but no just dreams, we need dreams with goals because dreams without goals are just dreams.  We need to say life goals, yearly goals, monthly goals, daily goals, every day.  And we need work hard.  So I believe in everybody.  I believe in me.  I think so, you just, we need to keep going and get it.  So I think so, that’s it.”


Written by Heather Glidewell, ESL Instructor

Home Remedies from Around the World Part 1

May 7, 2019

This past month we have been talking about health care with our students. In my upper level English class, we discussed some home remedies that my students use. I learned so much from them!


Home Burn Remedies

stacked tomatoes onions and potatoes

From cooking mishaps to fun in the summer sun, we all have burns sometimes.  Here are a few of the responses I received from my students on the best ways to take care of them.

El Salvador ~ When I get a burn, I use aloe vera on my burn. I put tomato on it and then I feel better. I put cold water on the burn. I use honey and put on the burn.
Iraq ~ When I burn my hand, I will put tomato paste on a burn.
Venezuela ~ When I have a burn, I put onion on it, I rinse in a lot of cold water, or I put a slice of potato on it.

a jar of honey
So naturally I had to look up the benefits of putting a tomato slice on a burn, and sure enough there is a chemical called lycopene in tomatoes that reduces the heat from a burn and helps relieve the pain. Additionally honey has antiseptic properties for burns, and potato slices, especially the peel of a potato, will hold a lot of water and keep a burn from drying out too fast. Finally onion juice, too, has natural pain relievers.


Home Cough Remedies


artful pic of honey paste with garlic
The cold season is finally winding down, but allergy season is making its presence known, so my students gladly gave me ideas to help with coughing.

Guatemala ~ When I have cough, I drink hot water with honey and ginger.
Ukraine ~ When I have a cough, I drink tea with honey, ginger, and lemon.
Ethiopia ~ I drink milk with honey and garlic. I mix garlic and milk together. I boil for a few minutes and after that drink I feel better.
Eritrea ~ When I have a cough, I drink warm water. I drink lemon with tea. I take vitamin C; for example, lemon, tomatoes, or an orange. We have to drink hot water early in the morning.


artful pic of milk and garlic
The remedy that surprised me most here was the garlic and honey milk. Although both garlic and honey are said to have benefits for colds and coughs, I do not know if I could stomach warm garlic milk. I might have to stick to the other suggestions.


woman contemplating drinking a glass of milk


Catch me next time when I discuss even more home remedies!

Written by Heather Glidewell, ESL Instructor

A Visit to the State Capital!

March 26, 2019

official photo with governor 2019


In spite of blizzards and flooding this past month, 48 adult English language learners from the Center for New Americans along with three English instructors and a volunteer, were able to visit the state capital on Tuesday, March 12.

Leaving Sioux Falls in the early morning hours, students representing 20 different countries headed towards Pierre, South Dakota. On the way they stopped and visited Dignity: Of Earth and Sky, at the Chamberlain wayside stop. This was just the beginning of a very eventful and fulfilling day.Full shot of Lady Dignity and our group 2019
The group arrived in time to see the House and Senate in session. Students and teachers alike felt teary-eyed as Lt. Governor Larry Rhoden introduced them to the Senate.

2019 fun photo in Governors Office
Later Governor Kristi Noem met with students at the capital rotunda, where she spent a brief time speaking and answering questions and then posed for a photo. Additionally Representative Michael Saba greeted the students in the governor’s office.

Pierre Lunch Group Photo 2019
Senator Reynold Nesiba, Laura Trapp of the Department of Labor, and Director Kendra Ringstmeyer were able to meet the students for a lovely lunch.

The group also spent time touring the capital building, visiting the Korean and Vietnam Memorial, and learning about South Dakota history at the Cultural Heritage Center. At the end of their busy day, they managed to make it home before the next snowstorm! Way to go!
Thank you to the South Dakota Department of Labor, Adult Education and Literacy, and Lutheran Social Services for sponsoring the event.


Written by Heather Glidewell, ESL Instructor

Xcel Energy Foundation Empowers Sioux Falls Immigrants To Succeed in the Workforce

February 19, 2019

Students from across the globe work together to learn more English and develop both job and academic skills.

A grant from the Xcel Energy Foundation provides intermediate (literacy level 3) and advanced (literacy level 4) English classes for our students. With this grant we have been able to teach literacy skills for our students as they also work on College and Career Readiness Skills. Students learn important vocabulary and skills to help them secure and maintain jobs, and, if they so choose, continue on with their education.

Xcel Energy is a major U.S. electricity and natural gas company operating in eight Western and Midwestern states. The company is committed to providing cost-effective, clean, responsible energy delivered with the highest standards for safety, reliability, and responsiveness. Xcel Energy supports communities in four important focus areas: STEM education, workforce development, environmental stewardship, and access to arts and culture. Xcel Energy has supported LSS since 2004 and the Center for New Americans since 2009.

One Burmese student says that for her, the most important thing about English class is that “my English is growing a little” every day.

College Readiness Skills help students work hard to develop the reading and writing skills needed for college. Students learn to make predictions, answer comprehension questions, cite evidence, read charts, edit, etc. Students often come from an interrupted education background and may or may not have written in their own language. Learning to write a coherent paragraph is an accomplishment that many students cherish. Many students have not had the chance to write entire paragraphs in English before and are very excited to go through the drafting process, learn to communicate with clear, organized thoughts, and express themselves.

Well over half of the literacy students have never had the opportunity to use a computer before coming to English class, and it is very important to them to learn how to use technology in American society. Students also master the use of online translators and learn to search the Internet for information.

Career-Readiness Skills are important for our students to become fully productive members of American society. Students learn to write resumes and cover letters, learn the in’s and out’s of job seeking and the interview process, and they also develop the career-readiness skills and vocabulary to succeed in their chosen fields. Some of the other skills include reading charts, work schedules, inventory lists, menus, and receipts. Students have learned to write messages to supervisors and co-workers, use computers to access email and navigate the Internet to search for information and find jobs.

Talking with my students, a student from Guatemala says that literacy classes “open opportunities” for new jobs and help him identify and “understand many safety problems,” that could occur at the work site. In addition he says that working with computers in the classroom has taught him to “navigate, because it has a lot of English and sometimes there are no options for translating.” He states that, “A good English class provides many options.” The Xcel Energy Foundation helps provide these options, empowering adult English learners to meet their goals by gaining practical college and career readiness skills to use the in the workplace and in their ongoing studies.

Thank you, Xcel Energy, for your financial generosity and partnership, which is helping refugees and immigrants at the LSS Center for New Americans.


Written by Heather Glidewell, ESL Instructor

The Heart-Shaped Holiday

February 6, 2019


Everyone is seeing red. Valentine’s Day is here. The day for lovers, for family, for friends, for co-workers – the official day when we show the important people in our lives how much they mean to us. The day is celebrated with cards, flowers and chocolates – and lots of them. Many of us grew up with the annual tradition of Valentine’s Day, we remember our parents and grandparents reminiscing about it.
But how long has this special day actually been around? The answer is quite simple: Forever. The beginnings of this romantic day are anything but romantic – they are rather mysterious. Christian and Pagan rituals evolved into the way Valentine’s Day is celebrated today.
Many legends surround the saint named Valentine. One story tells about Valentine, a Roman priest, who secretly married young lovers until he was found out and thrown into prison. There, he fell in love with a young woman who visited him on a regular basis. Shortly before his death he penned her a letter and signed it ‘from your Valentine,’ a phrase that is still associated with this special day. All the tales that speak of the beginnings of this tradition center around a romantic hero named Valentine.
The British Library in London has the oldest Valentine’s card on display – written in 1415 by the Duke of Orleans to his wife while he was held in the Tower of London. Americans started designing their own hand-made cards, beautifully decorated with ribbons and lace, as far back as 1700. In 1840 these cards were replaced by the first printed, mass-produced cards. About 150 million Valentine’s Day cards exchange hands every year, only the number of Christmas cards is higher; 85% are bought by women.
Many countries around the world celebrate the day with their own traditions. Denmark sees the exchange of pressed, white flowers called snowdrops. France, with a reputation for romance, had a rather unusual tradition. On February 14, men and women would fill up houses on opposite sides of a street. Then they would call out to each other and pair off that way. The women who were left behind later gathered for a huge bonfire where they burned pictures of the men who stood them up and insulted them greatly. Over the years, this event got so out of hand that the French government banned it altogether. In China women prepare elaborate offerings of fruit to Zhinu, a heavenly king’s daughter, in hopes of attracting a worthy husband.

How are you celebrating Valentine’s Day?


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Written by Silke Hansen, ESL Instructor

Celebrating Student Achievements!

January 9, 2019

Give Back! Get Discounts! Buy the Coupon Book!

December 26, 2018
May June 2018 IPC students with certificates

June 2018 Introduction to Patient Care students receive completion certificates. Coupon Book sales will help fund 2019 classes.

This holiday season, there is a unique way to support LSS! Downtown Gives is a program that promotes the sales of coupon books that can be used at several downtown retailers. The books are $15/each.


Proceeds will benefit LSS adult English students at the Center for New Americans by providing them with Skills That Employ People (STEP) Classes. These one-month workforce training classes prepare students with the English language and skills they need to enter and thrive in employment. Common classes include Introduction to Patient Care, Manufacturing Skills and Safety and Commercial Housekeeping.


Books will be available for purchase until December 31 and coupons are good until March 31, 2019.


The book offers great discounts at stores and restaurants listed below. The only way you can purchase a book is in person by visiting one of the participating businesses:


*   Acorn 19/Bead Co. – 319 South Phillips Avenue

*   Bread & Circus Sandwich Kitchen – 600 North Main Avenue

*   Chelsea’s Boutique – 220 South Phillips Avenue

*   Child’s Play Toys – 233 South Phillips Avenue

*   Coffea Roasterie – 200 South Phillips Avenue

*   Cookie Jar – 230 South Phillips Avenue

*   EmBe – 300 West 11th Street

*   Fernson on 8th – 201 North Weber Avenue, #100

*   Game Chest – 421 North Phillips Avenue, #113

*   Great Outdoor Store – 201 East 10th Street

*   Grille 100 Restaurant (Holiday Inn City Centre) – 100 West 8th Street

*   Half Baked – 120 South Phillips Avenue

*   K Restaurant – 401 East 8th Street, #128

*   M.B. Haskett – 324 South Phillips Avenue

*   Mahlander’s Appliance and Lighting – 8th Street and Minnesota Avenue

*   Nyberg’s Ace (Downtown location) – 200 East 12th Street

*   Palmer Lea – 206 South Phillips Avenue

*   Plum’s Cooking Company – 401 East 8th Street, #107

*   Rehfeld’s Art & Framing – 210 South Phillips Avenue

*   Rug & Relic – 401 East 8th Street, #114

*   Say Anything Jewelry – 225 South Phillips Avenue

*   Sharing the Dream in Guatemala – 421 North Phillips Avenue

*   Shop Dog Boutique – 5015 South Western Avenue

*   Simply Perfect – 401 East 8th Street, #108

*   Sticks and Steel – 401 East 8th Street, #118

*   Young & Richards – 222 South Phillips Avenue

*   Zandbroz Variety – 209 South Phillips Avenue



Don’t miss out on these great deals and the opportunity to help raise funds for LSS Center for New Americans!


Happy Holidays!

December 24, 2018

Happy Holidays from all of us at the Center for New Americans. We recently had an end of the year party with our students.  Please enjoy!

group song great pic

A Festive Rendition of This Land is Your Land sang by teachers and students.


Nepalese Students Share their cultural dance



Our Ukrainian and Nepalese students dance together



great pic of celina and dhaanto dancers

Students and Staff learn Dhaanto dance

Congolese student leads everyone in impromptu song.


Peace on Earth


Good Will to All!




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