Caminando Juntos, sponsored by the Aberdeen Presentation Sisters, is a ministry with the Latino population in the Sioux Falls, South Dakota area. Inspired by the zeal of our foundress, Nano Nagle, and her deep love for those made poor, Caminando Juntos responds to the Gospel mandate to “welcome the stranger” and to work for justice. Our primary purpose is to help create a welcoming presence and respond to the needs of newer Latino immigrants as they seek to integrate into a new culture and make a home in area communities.

Caminando Juntos began in 2002 as a response to the rapidly increasing presence of Latino immigrants in eastern South Dakota. Over these past years, this ministry has welcomed and served thousands of Latinos.

We are Celebrating 20 Years of Service!

 

One score, 20 years ago, a vision became a reality. Caminando Juntos (Walking Together) was born out of the light from the lantern that Nano Nagle carried over 247 years ago. On September 30, 2022, Caminando Juntos celebrated 20 years of joyful service with our Latino brothers and sisters in the Sioux Falls area. During these years, they have walked with Latino migrants with one purpose in mind, to be a welcoming presence. We invite you to watch these videos, featuring both our  historical beginnings and our Open House Celebration.

Caminando Juntos
Through the Years

Caminando Juntos
Open House Celebration

Ministry in Action

The team at Caminando Juntos works to respond to the infinite needs and concerns of our Latino brothers and sisters, by reaching out to them daily and accompanying them in whatever way we can. The language of love heals. The language of love is the Body of Christ. Every day, the staff at Caminando Juntos serves our newly arrived Latino brothers and sisters, mirroring Christ’s love as they work to offer a welcoming presence to all providing acceptance, love and hope for each person’s journey.

Read more about Caminando Juntos in their annual newsletter

Provide Immigration Legal Services

Sister Janet Horstman and Christy Nicolaisen are passionate in their commitment to educate their clients on their immigration legal options, counsel them on how best to proceed, and represent them through the process of filing their cases and obtaining the desired outcomes.  Facilitating their clients’ visa processes and seeing families reunited after years of separation is a great joy for Christy and Sister Janet. It is also a wonderful blessing to be present at their clients’ naturalization ceremonies and see them become fully participating members of our society.  Sister Janet is a Department of Justice Accredited Representative since 2006 and Christy’s application for DOJ Accreditation was renewed in 2022.  In 2021 we responded to nearly 3,000 immigration calls and consultation requests and filed or represented nearly 200 clients in their immigration cases.

Immigration Facts
We invite you to read some immigration facts.

DACA Facts
State of Hispanic Homeownership
South Dakota Cities with the Largest Latino Population
American Immigration Council; Immigrants in South Dakota

Reunify Unaccompanied Minors with Families

Caminando Juntos continues to assist families as they navigate the complex system of applying for sponsorship and locating their children in shelters on the border and across the country. Through our accompaniment, separated families are joyfully reunited and resettled into the community as one family unit. In 2021 we assisted approximately 20 families with this process.

Teach English to Adults

Three levels of daytime and evening classes are offered to Spanish-speaking adults, who are eager to learn English. Learning the language enables them to adapt more quickly to U.S. culture, secure employment, and participate more fully in the broader community.  On average we have 125 students enrolled in our English Language Program.

 

Create Cultural Connections

Each year Caminando Juntos, with strong support from the business community and many other partners, sponsors the Cinco de Mayo festival at Falls Park in Sioux Falls. There, families and community members come together to celebrate the richness and diversity of the Latino cultures through food, music, family-friendly activities and more Over 8,000 people come together each year to celebrate the Latino Cultures among us. We invite you to view our virtual Cinco De Mayo celebration for 2021 by viewing the links here – YouTube and Facebook page

Assist with Resources

Our Office and Resource Manager, Kathy Donis and Angelica Narez, Support Services, welcome people who come to our door daily. They help them complete a variety of forms and applications, connect them with basic resources and services, and most importantly, listen with their hearts to each person’s needs and situation so that they can respond compassionately. Caminando Juntos assists several thousand persons annually, for example:

  • 1,200 Walk-in Visitors
  • Over 11,000 Phone contacts
  • 1,200 Referrals
  • 580 Applications
  • 2,500 varied translations

Ministry Needs / Ways to Get Involved

We seek partners to assist with funding for the following needs:

ESL Instruction

  • Instructor stipends
  • ESL workbooks and classroom materials
  • Scholarship fund

Immigration Legal Services

  • Updating legal resources
  • Ongoing legal training
  • Financial assistance for clients with special legal needs
  • Citizenship application fees and preparation material
We invite you to join us in supporting our Latino sisters and brothers. CLICK HERE to donate to Caminando Juntos.

 

Volunteer Opportunities at Caminando Juntos:

For opportunities at the office, we do ask that volunteers be at least 18 years of age and are committed and passionate about working with the Latino population. Ability to communicate in Spanish is helpful. Volunteers are needed for English tutors (summer) or English teacher (fall / Tuesday and Thursday evenings), computer instructors, computer lab assistant, conversation class facilitator (Saturday mornings), educational workshop presenter, front desk receptionist (summer), classroom teaching assistant, language and citizenship lab tutor, book club facilitator and children’s story time facilitator.  If you have extra time to give and interested in learning more about any of the above opportunities, please email April Ross: aross@midconetwork.com

If you have extra time to give and interested in learning more about our Cinco de Mayo Fiesta volunteer opportunities, please email Jen Rothenbuehler: jrothenbuehler@presentationsisters.org

Presentation People in Ministry

Sister Janet Horstman, Department of Justice Accredited Representative

Sister Janet is one of the founding sisters of the ministry, serving in her role since 2002. She provides competent, professional, and affordable immigration legal services for Latinos residing in the Sioux Falls area. She is the only bilingual DOJ Accredited Representative in South Dakota and assists with citizenship, work authorization, petitions for family visas, DACA, permanent residence and more. She also provides legal consultations on a variety of other immigration issues. She actively participates in efforts to support and improve the lives of immigrants and refugees and advocates for just and humane immigration laws and policies. Sister Janet also attends regular professional development trainings and webinars to stay abreast of rapidly-changing immigration policies. She may be reached at cjmin@midconetwork.com. To read more about Sister Janet, please CLICK HERE.

April Ross, Educational Coordinator

April joined the ministry in 2018, after teaching Spanish in the Sioux Falls School District for 15 years. She holds a Master’s Degree in Latin American Studies and has traveled extensively in Latin America, including Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. April oversees the educational program of the ministry, including tutoring students and teaching English classes, such as; workplace English courses in local businesses, computer literacy classes, and educational workshops.  In addition, she also recruits and trains volunteers and manages the Don and Diane Loomis Scholarship Fund. April enjoys spending time with her two children. She may be reached at aross@midconetwork.com.

Katherine Donis, Office and Resource Manager

Kathy joined the team in 2019 as the welcoming heart of our ministry. She was born in Boston but grew up in El Salvador. She moved to Sioux Falls in 2008, where she completed her high school education. Kathy offers a wealth of knowledge on community resources and is a trusted presence for the Latino community. She assists clients with needs such as accessing healthcare resources, assisting with paying medical bills, finding employment and community resources, filling out applications, and accessing other basic necessities. Kathy loves helping others and is fully bilingual. She is married with two children. Kathy may be reached at kdonis@midconetwork.com.

Angelica Narez, Support Services 

Angelica joined the team in 2020. She will be working part-time, providing extra support to the front desk at the ministry. Angelica will assist Latino clients in finding community resources, scheduling appointments, filling out applications, and accessing other basic needs. She is excited to be part of the ministry, as she loves helping people and knows there is a big need. Angelica was born in Mexico and moved to the U.S. in 2003 with her parents and five siblings. She is married and has 2 wonderful boys, that keep her active every day. Angelica may be reached at anguti@midconetwork.com.

Christy Nicolaisen, Department of Justice Accredited Representative

Christy Nicolaisen joined the ministry in 2021, after serving as the Executive Director of the Multi-Cultural Center of Sioux Falls for 11 years. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Buena Vista University and has taught numerous classes on human rights, cultural diversity, world religions, adverse childhood experiences, ELL/ABE/GED/Citizenship workshops and classes as well as immigration law and services. She comes to the ministry with fourteen years of experience representing clients in refugee and family-based immigration and has over 30 years of experience working with the various refugee and immigrant communities. Christy has served on various Boards through her professional career such as the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. She has won several awards for her service to the communities where she has lived. She studied extensively in Mexico and loves to travel. She is a foster parent as well. Christy can be reached at cnicolaisen@midconetwork.com.

Matthew Tschetter, Executive Director

Matthew Tschetter joined the Ministry in 2022, upon returning to South Dakota. He holds 2 Masters degrees in Peace and Justice Studies and in Community and International Development; as well as degrees in Organizational Leadership and Christian Ministries/Youth Ministries and Bible. Born in Colombia, South America and raised in eastern South Dakota, he has since lived and worked in various Latin American countries and is bilingual. He comes to the ministry with extensive religious nonprofit board governance and leadership experience. His passion and calling are clear, to joyfully serve and work for justice. He enjoys spending time reading, photography and being with his wife and family. He may be reached at mtschetter@midconetwork.com

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