September 6 -- Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sioux Empire is transitioning to LSS Mentoring Services. “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,” says Elizabeth Duffy, Board President for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sioux Empire.
The former Big Brothers Big Sisters program will be renamed, but its mission remains the same. “There is a great need for mentors in Sioux Falls and surrounding communities,” 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 details on the transition, click here.
Mentoring Services For Youth
LSS Mentoring Services matches volunteer mentors with students in 11 Sioux Falls area school districts. Volunteers meet for one hour per week. The goal is to empower young people to succeed by establishing trusting relationships with adult volunteers.
Good mentors have a significant impact on youth by providing guidance and developing consistent, long-term friendships. LSS operates two distinct programs.
- Everyday Heroes, school-based mentoring
- USucceed, for high school students
In our most popular program, Everyday Hero volunteers spend one hour per week with an elementary, middle or high school student at school. Mentors and students spend time doing a variety of activities together. For example, it could be any of the following:
- working in the computer lab
- playing board games
- reading a book
- playing basketball
- eating lunch together
- simply sitting and talking.
Everyday Heroes offers a flexible volunteer option. With schools located in nearly every neighborhood, mentors can select a location that is best for them. Most meet with their students during the school lunch hour. This varies from school to school, but it’s generally between 11 am and 1 pm.
School counselors select a young person who can use extra one-to-one attention from a caring adult role model. Counselors are responsible for matching students with volunteers and if needed, providing on-site assistance to the volunteer.
LSS Mentoring Services has been in partnership with the Sioux Falls School District since 2001. It has expanded to include Baltic, Brandon Valley, Canton, Dell Rapids, Garretson, Harrisburg, Lennox, Tea Area, Tri-Valley and West Central School Districts.
96% of youth were highly satisfied with their mentor relationship.
USucceed is an innovative mentoring program for high school students. It offers support from school staff as well as support from an LSS case manager. USucceed matches can meet during the school day or during out of school hours.
USucceed starts when a student enters high school. Their matches commit to meeting until the student graduates. This helps ensure a stable presence and support throughout the student’s high school career. Mentors assist students in setting and meeting goals in relationship development, independent living and academics.
Each agrees to report on their activity to LSS each month. They work as a team to set and meet goals.
Students must be referred to this program by school personnel, case managers, counselors and other support professionals. LSS matches qualified students with volunteers based on need and student interest level.
Hear what mentors have to say about their experience.
“A lot of kids today don’t have that foundation that I had. I like to do what I can to help with that foundation”
“Think about when you were a kid. Think about an adult who made a difference in your life”
“An adult who took a little time to play a game, to ask about your day, to hang out. Think about what that meant to you.”
Watch more video clips about what students have to say about their mentoring experience on this page.