Keeping Your Kids Financially Safe at College

August 8, 2019

August 19th.  August 26th.  August 27th.  August 28th.  What do all of these dates have in common?  These are the dates that our local colleges and universities start their 2019 Fall Term.  It’s that time of year again when you will see the great migration.  Students are excited about moving to college.  Moms are crying because their babies are leaving, and dads just wish there were more elevators to get stuff to the 4th floor dorm rooms.

Then there are the trips to the stores to get all of the supplies they will need.  Not just supplies for classes, but now you have to have all of the extra stuff like a TV, closet organizer, those little plastic drawer things to fit everything they own into a tiny little dorm room, a shower caddy, and all of those other things to make it home.

Yes, it’s a lot.  But I want to add a couple more things to think about.  I want to talk about keeping your kids financially safe while they are away at school. Read the rest of this entry »

Freedom, Peace, & Fast Food

May 28, 2019

In the Center for New Americans’ pre-GED English class, we just finished a 6-week long unit on the American government system.  The students read and wrote about the ways the three branches of government work together to make our country a better place. We also spent time learning about the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (learn more about this monumental legislation HERE!) and how one woman’s fight for equal pay changed our nation’s laws.

To end our unit, I had my students work on their skills by writing about the US and our government; one prompt I gave them was: “Describe America in 3 words.” Of course, I loved their answers and hope you do, too.


The pre-GED English class busily and happily typing away on the laptops.

  • Another word we call America is as “Land of opportunity” because this nation offers many more opportunities for residents of this nation. But the people most be eager to do he/she wants with full attention and hard working to achieve goals. This is reason why everyone dreams to live in America. – Student from Nepal


  • America is peace because there is no war, not too much of sickness all over the country like Africa. In America, you always find people willing to help you out with any problem that you are going through. Americans are always there for us. The U.S. is freedom because everyone is free to do what so ever things they like to do. We are free to say anything to anybody whenever they wrong us or say anything bad to us and walk freely anywhere. Freedom is the most important thing in our lives. America is experience because you see lot of things that you haven’t seen before. You go to movies, play grounds, shopping mall.– Student from Liberia


  • United States is Good because help to all people, if you have hungry gives you food, you get cold gives you jackets. United States has Nobility because gives to all people the same opportunities. United States is a Big country and each state has many economic wealth, beautiful landscapes and peoples– Student from Mexico


  • Freedom, fast food, and happy. Freedom because all the people have this and can’t go jail for what you are saying. Fast food because wherever you go always you can see a lot of place to fast food. Happy because if you are working hard you can buy all you want. – Student from Nicaragua


  • America is freedom. Why because it has a way of life that enable people to live freely with in the country without fighting each other. America also make people who are from a different culture back ground enable them to live freely within the country. America also allow freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom of assembly, and freedom to petition the government, run for office and also the right to vote with in the country. – Student from Sudan

My students constantly amaze me with their skills, vocabulary, and wonderful personalities.  My 3 words to describe these students are courageous, intelligent, and kind, and I am so glad they are here in America, experiencing all the freedom, peace, and fast food 🙂 they like.

Written by Lindy Obach, ESL Instructor


So NOW What?

January 25, 2018

You’ve done it.  You set a goal and, after years of work, have finally accomplished that goal.  That’s right, you finished your college degree.  With that accomplishment comes another question.  “So now what?”  That can be a pretty loaded question.  Does it include career?  Just finding a job?  Location?  Home purchase?  Relationship?  Family?  Vehicle?  More education?  Vacation?  There is a lot of think about when you ask “So now what?”.  While these all matter, I have one more question you need to ask your self –

“So now what about my student loans?”

Unfortunately, many people respond with, “What do you mean?  I just start paying them…. or something…. at some point in time….”  Well, yes, that’s true.  BUT THERE’S SO MUCH MORE! Read the rest of this entry »

I Go to School Just Like My Child! – Back to School for Adult Learners

September 1, 2015

This week all of our blog posts will be following a ‘Back to School’ theme from the perspective of each of our departments.  Check back each day for something new.  For today, it’s the Center for New Americans….

Worried looks, eager faces, glances at other students. Those are the typical images of children on the first day of school, right? Well those images are true even for adult students! Some are scared and unsure of what class will be like, while others can’t wait for class to begin and have their notebook and pen all ready to go before the teacher even enters the room.

Here at the Center for New Americans, we offer a variety of classes for adult learners. Classes like: English as a Second Language, Citizenship preparation, Cultural Orientation, and S.T.E.P (job training). I sat down with Instructor Silke Hansen to learn more about the first day of school.

Before the first day of class, each student is tested on their English skills using the standardized BEST Plus test. Their score determines their placement in class. There are 4 levels to the English classes with 1 being the lowest and 4 being the highest. Our classes are offered year-round so there is not one official start date, but new students begin class on the second and fourth Monday of every month.

Students ask questions in class 3.

Students ask questions in class 3.

That first day of class is full of new information. Often, teachers review the rules and appropriate etiquette for the classroom. New students go through introductions and tell the class something about themselves. In Hansen’s lower classes, it is something as simple as “My name is… and I come from….”   For higher level classes though, they may describe their family, job or hobby. Then class begins as normal.

English class time is 2 hours long and students learn both oral English skills and literacy skills. Daytime classes are offered 4 times a week and nighttime classes are offered twice a week.   When their instructor feels that the student has sufficiently absorbed all of the material, the student again takes the BEST Plus test and their new score determines if they “graduate” into the next level.

For many of our students this is the first opportunity in their life to really go to school. Some may have attended school when they were very little but then war broke out and the schools were closed. Others were never able to afford school, as public schools in the American sense don’t exist in some countries. To finally have the chance to attend school is amazing for them. The pride on their faces when they tell you that they “go to school just like my child” shines so brightly. And they can’t get enough! Our students continually express the desire for English classes to be offered every single day, even weekends! Students are also asking for additional resources to use outside of class, like websites or apps.

If you are interested in volunteering as a classroom assistant, please sign up or call 605-731-2000!

Poster of reasons why students came to Sioux Falls.

Poster of reasons why students came to Sioux Falls.  Education is the top reason.



Written by Kristyne Walth

Happy (and Safe) Halloween!

October 29, 2013

Costumes should be safe! Avoid masks that impede vision. Avoid hard accessories like plastic swords or broomsticks that could poke your child or others. Be sure shoes and costumes aren’t a tripping hazard.

Always check treats and candy to be sure they are safe.

Never let them go alone. Walk with your child. If you think they are old enough to go without an adult, be sure they are with friends you trust. Teach them about crosswalks and talk about where they are allowed to go.

Don’t forget the lights! Be sure that children are walking with bright lights so that others can see them and they can see where they are going. Be sure candles in jack-o-lanterns and luminaries are flameless or out of reach of children.

You are the best judge of what is safe for your child. Don’t be afraid to say “no” to your child even if all of their friends are doing something. Keep your child safe.

Halloween Kids Read the rest of this entry »

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