Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest (LSS-SW) has various programs with one main goal which is stabilizing lives. We see forgotten people, stabilize people during crisis and transition, build a foundation where people can thrive, and preserve dignity and respect for the most vulnerable.

This has been the mission of LSS-SW throughout our 50 years history.

At LSS-SW we welcome refugees from all around the globe including Afghanistan, Iraq, Congo and other countries. We also work with people who claim asylum at the border to enter on foot. In honor of national human rights awareness month; we want to lift up refugees. In serving refugees, LSS-SW provides core services from the day they enter the US until they are self-sufficient. Core services can include case management, employment assistance, and obtaining life-sustaining resources that allow refugees to reach their goals and dreams. When refugees come to America, they flee their country due to danger, sometimes they are traumatized and frustrated due to what they went through. LSS-SW welcomes them as they arrive at the airport with a friendly smile and face, we welcome them to a safe and warm home. From here, our case managers do the first visit the next day to make sure that they feel safe then give them everything they need, food, bedding, furniture, and other basic needs. From the first day they are assigned to LSS-SW they not only become our clients but our family as we are the first community they get.

LSS-SW provides cultural orientation, as well as employment training for our clients to get connected to employers. This aligns their past experiences with what they would like to do in the future helping them to reach their dreams. LSS-SW staff walk them through the integration by guiding them and providing them the resources they need to progress. That includes health screening, rent and utility payments and more until they start working and save up money. We also assist in kids school enrollment, English classes, and various life-skills training to upgrade their skills like sewing, that will help them in the future. We are with our new family members through case management and employments services up to four years.

The fulfillments

Lutheran Social Services staff develop a genuine relationship with clients that ties them together from day one. We become their families as case managers are part of their everyday lives for at least their first 90 days. Employment specialists become their first experience with career path from the day they apply for a job to the day they get hired. The best feeling LSS-SW staff get is to see a smile on clients’ faces as a sign of gratitude. It is fulfilling to see somebody progressing and building up their bridges to success then come back to you later with a smile saying, “thank you for helping me!” Several clients with proper skills begin to work directly with LSS and happily serve others as they were served, which is a philosophy we promote in our workforce. We have many successful stories of clients who have gotten better and better and who furthered their education and now are in positions of serving others.

Posted by Annelise Patterson