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Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sioux Empire Transitioning to LSS Mentoring

After 25 years and impacting thousands of Sioux Falls area children, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the Sioux Empire is ending its affiliation with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. The matches currently supported by BBBS will be supported by Lutheran Social Services Mentoring Services.

“We are proud of our partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America over the last 25 years, and the Board did not take this decision lightly,” says Elizabeth Duffy, Board President for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sioux Empire. “Our top priority continues to be the children served by these critical mentoring relationships, and we are confident in the plan to create a custom program with LSS.” 

While this change means the organization will no longer use the Big Brothers Big Sisters brand name, it will save on affiliation cost and increase efficiencies for volunteers, staff, and families who use mentoring services.

“This change was made with Sioux Falls area kids at the heart of the decision,” said Duffy. “We feel this collaboration makes sense and will create a one-stop-shop for people looking to impact youth through mentoring and for families looking to enroll their child in a mentoring program.”

The former Big Brothers Big Sisters program will be renamed, but its mission remains the same.  The new program will serve youth ages 7-14 by matching them with a mentor and allowing them to meet in the community at times that work for both the mentor and student.  Volunteers for all programs must be at least 18 years of age and successfully complete an application, screening, and training process.

LSS Mentoring Services currently offers two other unique programs – Everyday Heroes and USucceed. The Everyday Heroes program runs in partnership with 12 area school districts and serves more than 1200 students and volunteers annually. Matches in this program meet once a week at school during the school day. The USucceed Program pairs volunteers with high school students, serving 130 mentors and students each year and requires matches to meet in or out of school for four hours per month.

“There is still a great need for mentors in Sioux Falls,” said Betty Oldenkamp, LSS President. “Combined, there are more than 400 kids on the waiting list. By joining forces, we hope to make a bigger impact on recruitment and retention of quality mentors.”

For more information on the transition or LSS Mentoring Services, call 605-444-7801.

Lutheran Social Services is a private non-profit social service agency in operation since 1920. Last year, 48,690 lives were touched through a variety of services offered through LSS statewide. Core services offered by LSS include adoption, pregnancy counseling, foster care, kinship services, childcare & education, disaster response, mental health counseling, re-entry services, Center for Financial Resources, residential services for children & youth, alternatives to detention, independent living services for young adults, mentoring, Better Together and Center for New Americans. LSS serves people of all ages, races, faiths and economic levels with professional, confidential and affordable services. LSS services are licensed by the State of South Dakota and accredited by the Council on Accreditation. LSS is a United Way agency.

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