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Changing Lives Today

“If I don’t do this, I’ll never be able to move on and live my life free.” Lisa reminded herself as she arrived at LSS Behavioral Health. She took a deep breath. She was ready.

At 56, Lisa knew it was time to deal with the abuse she experienced when she was young. She spent decades trying to avoid her past, but it always had a way of bubbling to the surface when she least expected it. “I can no longer quiet the pain and stop the memories from coming back,” were among the first words she spoke to her therapist, Rachel Shepherd, director of LSS Behavioral Health Services.

Unfortunately, as we age, we often become more reclusive, and it’s not always by choice. This results in many older adults feeling isolated and lonely. That’s why the Sioux Empire United Way and Lutheran Social Services are joining forces to provide trained volunteers with companionship for older adults in the Sioux Falls area through a program called “Better Together.”

A handful of LSS donors have set up matches and challenges to double the impact of donations made during South Dakota CARES. This includes DeMaris Nesheim.

She is a longtime LSS donor whose giving started with the Canyon Hills Center in Spearfish — a residential treatment facility that helps youths with emotional, behavioral health and educational challenges.

A handful of LSS donors have set up matches and challenges to double the impact of donations made during South Dakota CARES. This includes Jennifer Kirby, who has been connected to the LSS mission all her life.

Join us for a Panel Discussion and State of the Agency Address featuring LSS President and CEO, Rebecca Kiesow-Knudsen, and LSS leaders. This event will take place Thursday, April 25, at 5:30 p.m. at the Coliseum in downtown Sioux Falls.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to gain insight into the strategic vision of the Multi-Cultural Center post-integration into LSS, as well as updates and trends in refugee resettlement from the LSS Center for New Americans.

Double Your Impact—Your support becomes their success story. Read stories of change and see how you can increase the impact of your gift at SouthDakotaCares.org now through April 27. Your gift to one of four matches can make a significant impact: Building Successful Families Match, Enhancing Access to Mental Healthcare Match, Helping Children in Foster Care Challenge and Offering Cutting-Edge Care Challenge.

Thirty-two years ago, Vicki Breeman received counseling services at LSS. Her life was spiraling. “It was crumbling all around me. I needed help,” she said.

Back then, Vicki was a single mom with three children and battling mental health struggles, addiction, legal issues and financial strain. “I landed in the right place. LSS changed my life in ways that were unexpected.”

Ku’s first days of life were difficult. He was born three months early and spent the next month in the NICU. His future was unknown—until he met his foster mother, Sara Hornick.

Sara and her husband experienced infertility, which ended with an unplanned hysterectomy. They were devastated, but found relief in knowing there were options.

“If I don’t do this, I’ll never be able to move on and live my life free.” Lisa reminded herself as she arrived at LSS Behavioral Health in Rapid City. She took a deep breath. She was ready.

When Lisa stepped into her therapist’s office, she had two goals—find a way to heal from the past and reduce anxiety to move forward.

At LSS, we often share stories about the people whose lives have changed through our work and your support. As advocates for all people to be healthy, safe and accepted in South Dakota—their stories give us purpose.

The story of LSS is written by each person who walks through our doors. “When we think about the ‘why’ we exist at LSS—it’s to meet people where they are when they finally have the courage to pick up that phone or walk in asking for help,” says Sheri Ekdom, former Vice President of Community Services.

Valentine’s Day 1943—a young woman met and fell in love with an army serviceman, and she became pregnant. Before they could marry, he was shipped overseas to serve in World War II. She insisted she would parent her baby but her parents did not support her. According to the records, she decided “she would be doing him an injustice trying to raise him alone.”

All it takes is one unexpected turn to uproot a stable, healthy family and send them spinning. These families may be tempted to brace hardship alone; however, just a bit of extra help can make a world of difference. Such was the story for Tara and her family.

Tara and her husband moved to Sioux Falls eight years ago. Together, the couple started a business, had two children and worked hard to give their family a happy life. For a while, everything seemed wonderful.

All it takes is one unexpected turn to uproot a stable, healthy family and send them spinning. These families may be tempted to brace hardship alone; however, just a bit of extra help can make a world of difference. Such was the story for Tara and her family.

Tara and her husband moved to Sioux Falls eight years ago. Together, the couple started a business, had two children and worked hard to give their family a happy life. For a while, everything seemed wonderful.

Thirty-two years ago, Vicki Breeman received counseling services at LSS. Her life was spiraling. “It was crumbling all around me. I needed help,” she said.

Back then, Vicki was a single mom with three children and battling mental health struggles, addiction, legal issues and financial strain. “I landed in the right place. LSS changed my life in ways that were unexpected.”

Last spring, you showed us that together, we are powerful as a community.

During our 2023 South Dakota CARES fundraising drive, more than 300 individuals came together to donate over $323,000 in support of making our vision a reality—that all people in South Dakota will be healthy, safe and accepted.

Good friendships are essential to our health, happiness and longevity. As we get older, it becomes especially important, but also especially challenging, to maintain close relationships and continue doing activities that bring us joy.

That’s why LSS Better Together matches older adults — those 55 and older in rural areas or 60 and older in Sioux Falls — called “Neighbors” with volunteers to provide socialization and friendship, share resources and build a lasting relationship.

Good friendships are essential to our health, happiness and longevity. As we get older, it becomes especially important, but also especially challenging, to maintain close relationships and continue doing activities that bring us joy.

That’s why LSS Better Together matches older adults — those 55 and older in rural areas or 60 and older in Sioux Falls — called “Neighbors” with volunteers to provide socialization and friendship, share resources and build a lasting relationship.

Our past experiences profoundly shape how we interpret the world and the people around us. For those who carry deep hurt or trauma, the instinct to build walls or maintain control often can lead to inflicting pain on others. At LSS, these individuals find grace as they grow in self-awareness and learn to move forward — building a future where they can feel healthy, safe and accepted in their relationships. This story rings true for Marie.

When Hohman started with LSS Mentoring Services, he had one mentee, Dakhym, whose twin brother, Payton, was being mentored separately. Over time, Hohman stepped in and offered to mentor both boys together. He became a stable presence and a dependable friend to the boys. Of course, their younger brother had to come along too. ‘I’m not going to let them down’

In October, a group of students at LSS Center for New Americans went to Siouxland Libraries Downtown Library. The purpose of the trip was for students to explore the library, see the different resources available, talk to librarians and of course, get library cards and check out books. At the library, the students were greeted […]

Since before Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863, Americans have gathered together to feast and give thanks. Recently, a group of students, teachers and volunteers at LSS Center for New Americans came together to talk, play games, eat delicious food and most importantly, express their thanks. This year, the party was planned […]

Written by Dana Goeman, Financial Counselor and Educator October is full of the stereotypical scary things—goblins, ghouls, and the like. You know what scary thing you don’t hear as much about, though? Debt. When we hear that interest rates are rising we often think about mortgages or car loans, but credit card interest is also […]

You often get a glimpse of life stories from the people we serve—a quote, a few paragraphs, rarely a full story of their challenges and successes. Joe’s life story answers why our vision is that all people in South Dakota will be healthy, safe and accepted.

At LSS, we connect people with the resources to help them be their best selves. That means we work with community partners to help meet client needs and ensure our whole person family-centered approach is carried out successfully.

We are excited about the collaboration between Leadership Aberdeen and LSS to bring mentoring into the Aberdeen School District.

We listen to individuals and families about their strengths, challenges and what they need to succeed.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'” -Fred “Mr.” Rogers Every year we ask LSS employees why they choose to stay with the organization. Every year one of the top […]

Over time, families grow and change, and encounter new and complex challenges. At LSS, these families find strength as they learn to communicate and work through obstacles, each member receiving the support they need to be healthy, safe and accepted.

Andrea came to the United States to escape violence and corruption. Now, as a mother of four, she works hard to provide for her children. She sacrifices her own comfort to see them succeed because education is so important to her. Andrea never imagined her children would get into serious trouble, so when she received a call that her oldest daughter had been picked up by law enforcement and brought to the Arise Reception Center, she felt devastated.

Healthy families celebrate their blessings and support one another during life’s challenges. That’s why LSS is dedicated to providing services to families to make sure everyone is healthy, safe and accepted.

For Beth and Scott Boyens, starting their family took a long time. They spent seven years trying before their oldest child, Anna, entered the world. And when the couple encountered even more difficulty trying for their second, they went looking for medical help.

Thousands of people recently gathered to celebrate the 2023 Festival of Cultures—some local community members and others from abroad. Although this was the 26th annual event, it was the first year following the integration of the Multi-Cultural Center into LSS. The partnership between LSS and the Levitt honored the tradition of the festival while elevating […]

June 19 is Freedom Day Today we recognize Juneteenth – Freedom Day. Juneteenth commemorates the final emancipation of enslaved African Americans after the Civil War. At LSS we have made a commitment to work toward racial equity: “LSS acknowledges racial and ethnic differences because of the profound impact they have on individuals, groups, communities and […]

June 20, 2023 is World Refugee Day. Join LSS for a free panel conversation at the Coliseum (515 North Main Avenue) from noon to 1 pm to learn more about the refugee resettlement process and resettlement in South Dakota. Hear directly from former refugees about their experiences. The event will include a panel moderated by […]

Written by Dana Goeman, Financial Counselor and Educator   In case you haven’t heard, June is National Homeownership Month! If you’re like me and you’re currently renting but oh-so-excited to someday sign on the dotted line and get the keys to your own home, it can be tempting to jump into being a homeowner when […]

Celebrate the various cultural communities in Sioux Falls at the 26th Annual Festival of Cultures on Saturday, June 10 at Levitt at the Falls. WHOMembers and visitors of the Sioux Falls area are invited to celebrate the cultural diversity in our community. The Festival of Cultures is a FREE and family-friendly event.  WHATEnjoy live music, […]