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LSI and Iowa Synods of the ELCA respond to Iowa flood relief effort

LSI (Lutheran Services in Iowa) and the Iowa Synods of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America) are teaming up to help address the urgent needs of communities suffering flood damage in Iowa.

The flooding is forcing emergency evacuations, road closures, and major damages to homes, businesses, schools, and infrastructure.

The Statewide Lutheran Disaster Response Team is made up of LSI and the three Iowa Synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), and was formed to meet the needs of Iowa communities following a disaster in the state.

Financial donations are critical at this time. Please do not donate materials, as needs for specific items have not yet been assessed. Donations can be made online at

Donations are also being accepted by mail. Please designate “2016 Iowa Flood Relief” in the memo line of the check, and mail it to:

Lutheran Services in Iowa
Attn: 2016 Iowa Flood Relief
106 16th Street SW
Waverly, IA 50677

LSI awarded grant from Metro Waste Authority to improve soil quality for refugee farmers

Des Moines, Iowa—LSI (Lutheran Services in Iowa) recently received a $2,500 grant from the Metro Waste Authority to improve soil quality for Global Greens refugee farmers.

LSI’s Global Greens program provides land access and education for people of refugee status who are interested in community gardening or market farming.

The Metro Waste Authority grant will fund the purchase of compost to enhance soil at the Global Greens Farm and at community garden plots throughout Des Moines.

“Many former refugees who have agricultural backgrounds have a strong desire to reconnect with the land,” said Nick Wuertz, LSI director of refugee community services. “Growing food also has tremendous benefits in areas of nutrition, health and wellness, mental health and socialization, and it also provides opportunities for small business income.”

LSI partners with the City of Des Moines, volunteers, private landowners and refugee community members to establish local community gardens for people of refugee status.

LSI also supports refugee growers who would like to develop small market farming business on larger plots of land. Through a multi-year training program, growers learn to adapt their farming skills to the Iowa climate and environment and to build skills in business development and marketing.

For more information on Global Greens and where to purchase Global Greens certified naturally grown produce, visit

LSI is one of Iowa’s largest human services agencies and impacts tens of thousands of Iowans annually through child abuse prevention, services for families and youth in crisis, services for people with disabilities and refugee services. LSI is nationally accredited and serves people of all ages, genders, nationalities, religions, ethnicities and sexual orientations. To learn more, visit Join us on Facebook at

LSI receives $5,000 grant from Veridian Credit Union Fund

Des Moines, Iowa – Lutheran Services in Iowa (LSI) has received the $5,000 Inclusive Community grant from the Veridian Credit Union Fund.

LSI’s Refugee Community Services program was awarded with the grant, which was created to help support organizations that welcome and include all individuals into its community.

“We are so grateful to the Veridian Credit Union Fund for its generosity. At LSI, we strive to improve the quality of life for dozens of refugees who are finding a new home in the Des Moines area,” said Nicholas Wuertz, LSI’s Director of Refugee Services.

Iowa has resettled more than 2,500 refugees in the past five years, and more than 1,500 in the last three years.

LSI’s Refugee Community Services program is helping refugees in central Iowa by connecting them to community resources and providing them with English language education, employment readiness services, and so much more.


LSI’s refugee program receives $4,000 grant from Bank of America Charitable Foundation

Des Moines, Iowa— Lutheran Services in Iowa (LSI) recently received a $4,000 grant from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Inc., which was awarded to LSI’s refugee program.

The award is part of Bank of America’s mission to invest $2 billion over 10 years in an effort to help economic health and sustainability in communities across the country.

“We are thrilled to receive this grant from Bank of America. This will allow LSI to continue helping Iowa’s newest residents as they create happy, successful futures in our state,” said Nicholas Wuertz, LSI’s Director of Refugee Services.

LSI’s refugee program offers accessible English classes and opportunities to increase cultural awareness, and guidance to students as they develop the skills they need to become active members of the community. The program helps students learn to successfully interact with native English speakers both in the community and in the workplace.

Ross named new Residential Manager at Bremwood

Waverly, Iowa— Ashley Ross has been named the new Residential Manager at Bremwood Residential Treatment Center.

In her new role, Ashley will oversee all residential care services provided at the center for youth ages 13 to 18. Bremwood utilizes a trauma-informed, family-focused approach to provide 24-7 mental health services; shelter care; and independent, transitional, and supervised apartment living programs.

“I am excited to continue my work in residential services at LSI. The staff in our services have a lot of dedication to LSI and what we believe in here, and I am eager to work with them,” Ashley says.

Ashley has worked at LSI for 14 years, starting as an overnight staff member in residential care and a skill development counselor and program supervisor at Bremwood. She worked as a service coordinator in residential care for five years before moving on to be a service coordinator at LSI’s Behavioral Health Intervention Services team, where she developed strategy and managed the care of Iowa children with behavioral health diagnoses. Prior to LSI, Ashley served as a jailer at the Bremer and Butler County Sheriff’s Offices. She holds degrees in Sociology, from University of Northern Iowa, and Corrections, from Hawkeye Community College.

“Ashley is a perfect fit for this position,” says Dennis Smithe, Director of Residential Services at LSI. “We look forward to seeing how her passion and dedication can improve our services to the community.”

In her new role, Ashley plans to employ best practices and innovation to push Bremwood and its diverse array of programs to new levels of excellence that empower positive outcomes for every client.

“It’s important that Bremwood staff at all levels continue to build upon our strong foundation of trauma-informed care,” she says. “I look forward to leading this compassionate, dedicated staff as we continue to care for the kids and families we serve through our programming.”

In her free time, Ashley enjoys golfing, boating, and camping with her husband, Mike, and watching sporting events for her three children, Bridget, Chloe, and Rex.

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