An extra set of eyes and ears

Ryder, who is in the second grade in Flandreau, loves it when his mentor, Kari Burggraff, comes to see him. The two meet once a week in the library over his lunch period and typically play a couple games of Uno.

Mentors always wanted

The Flandreau Public School District is again reaching out to see who might have an extra half hour of time each week to spend time with a local elementary student.
Previously mentors were sought for students of all ages, but program leaders felt it was important to perhaps help students build some longer-term relationships. It has the District this year focusing solely on pairing elementary students with an adult mentor.
While the benefits of such a program are reported to be many — studies show students with mentors have improved high school graduation and lower dropout rates, improved behavior at school and home, healthier relationships and lifestyle choices and a better attitude about school, so far the district has only had four local adults offer to volunteer their time.
“Almost any student could benefit from having a mentor,” said Chelsea Greenfield, Elementary School Counselor and Hope Squad Advisor. “Mentors can be a great source of positivity and encouragement for any student...(which is) important because there are children who don’t have dedicated one-on-one time with a positive adult in their lives. School staff can only do so much with their time during the day and this program offers an extra set of ears to listen to our children and make sure they are heard.”
Local mentors are asked to meet just once a week with their student over lunch. There is a space for them to go to talk and play games.
“We have so many wonderful students who are looking forward to being matched with a mentor,” said Greenfield.
“You don’t have to have school/teaching experience to work with kids. All you need is a great attitude, an open lunchtime once a week and the want to make a positive impact on a students life.”
Anyone interested to learn more, you’re encouraged to contact Lisa Falon-Schulz with LSS Mentoring Services at 605-444-7804. You can also learn more about what it means to be a partner in this program at
“It’s only a half hour out of your whole week and hopefully it helps brighten a child’s life by making sure they know they’re important,” said Kari Burggraff, one of the school’s four mentors. Burggraff is also a member of the Flandreau School Board.
“This day and age, kids need some extra adult time, one-on-one and away from the screen. Parents have busy lives these days and don’t always have time to do that with their kids.”

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