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Support Through Vulnerable Moments

Their Stories—Our Purpose

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.

“We see it as our responsibility to make sure all feel welcome and safe from their very first contact with us all the way through their last. In fact, one of the first things we cover with new employees working the front desk or reception area, is explaining that you are going to hear and see people at their most vulnerable moment. They are not going to be their typical selves, they may yell at you.

They might be crying so hard that you can’t understand them. Just remember, that’s the ‘why’ in our lives.”

When Ekdom was a financial counselor at LSS years ago, she remembers “when people came for counseling, they looked like different people from the minute they walked in to the time they walked out the door. You could literally see a weight had been lifted.” She continued, “Someone can be so emotional that they don’t know what to do, and we are helping them understand that we can work together to reduce barriers and turn things around.”

One of the most rewarding experiences for someone who has dedicated their career to helping others, is seeing the shift in a person or family after getting the help they need. The strength and confidence in people as they leave our office–that is the story of LSS. It is why we exist.

Jay Marchand, director of LSS Re-Entry Services, builds on Ekdom’s thoughts. “If we step back, and it’s difficult at times, but what an honor it is that we get to be there in the midst of the mess—when they are yelling. That’s when they feel safe enough to trust us. It’s an honor that we get to be there to walk through that time with them.”

Regardless of how each story begins, LSS is a place where people can face their toughest battles, become healthy again, find safety, and be accepted.

Their stories wouldn’t be possible without your support. Join us for our Day of Giving festivities April 21-27 with a donation to support the work that makes these stories a reality.