Multi-Cultural Center helping kids, spreading Christmas spirit

Published: Dec. 18, 2020 at 7:18 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The Multi-Cultural Center plays a big role in the education of many area students with the after-school services they provide, including an early Christmas gift.

Petros Idris is a 5th grader at Cleveland Elementary. After school, you’ll often find him at the Multi-Cultural Center.

“It’s just like fun and the teachers are all fun here, and they’re really nice,” Petros said.

Petros is one of many kids who take advantage of the Multi-Cultural Center’s programs. Many of which help with academics and language barriers.

“Everything that we do is academic recovery so we have a reading recovery program, a math recovery program for elementary kids. The schools refer to us so they’re at least one grade behind,” said Executive Director Christy Nicolaisen.

The programs offer rewards to the kids for academic improvement throughout the entire year. Which includes some good stuff for the holidays.

“We have anonymous donors and First Presbyterian Church. They gave us money to give these kids gifts for those achievements. So they work really hard to get these goals. Every kid who has, which is everyone this year, will get a new blouse, a new pair of pants, a new pair of shoes, and an academic gift.”

“To see even over the course of one academic year how much progress students can make with that little bit of extra attention and that little bit of extra support that we’re able to offer them is really great,” said assistant director Alasdair Selmes.

And the Multi-Cultural Center couldn’t do it without community help.

“It’s critical for us. We wouldn’t be able to survive or run our programs without United Way and the folks that give us money and volunteers,” said Nicolaisen.

An important program, that enhances the lives of so many area kids in Sioux Falls.

“Every single kid that comes here matters and so we want them to know that we love them and we care for them and we’re here to support them,” said Nicolaisen.

In addition to educational services, the Multi-cultural Center also teaches kids self-defense. And it’s not just during the school year, the center has eight weeks of summer camp.

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