Kid Link


Kristy Tripp: A Story of Community Action in Riverside

In a surprise announcement, a former Riverside neighbor and her work colleagues recently presented a check from Sammons Financial Group to support scholarships to the after-school program at Laura B. Anderson Elementary School.

Kid Link GOALS

  • Identify needs and wants of families in underserved neighborhoods
  • Form an initiative charged with addressing needs using existing resources
  • Implement changes
  • Measure the change in student performance

What’s Kid Link Riverside doing this week? Click the image at right.

Kid Link bee logo - click to learn more

Kid Link Riverside Outcomes

Click the tabs to learn more.

Kid Link Riverside is demonstrating a collaboration of agencies that provides enriching out-of-school activities for 50+ kids each week. An expanded 5-day-per-week after-school program will enhance the existing offering from Kids Inc. at LBA beginning with the 2021-22 school year.

Activities are organized by the Boys & Girls Club to include programming provided at no cost from several organizations, including The Salvation Army, Sioux Falls Parks & Rec, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, 4-H, community volunteers, and LBA parents. Volunteers generally number 15-20 individuals who assist with setup, cleanup and encouraging students.

Over time, volunteers have established a communications strategy that includes email, social media, connections to key employers, a relationship with school staff, and intensive neighborhood outreach.

  • Three of the new Feeding South Dakota mobile food pantries are in or near this neighborhood. A small survey confirms these sites are more convenient.
  • Faith Temple Food Giveaway and the Helpline Center use a United Way Worldwide grant to offer a delivery solution for those families without transportation or other barriers to accessing charitable food.
  • Volunteers serve a hot meal from the Nightwatch food truck to more than 100 individuals every Tuesday night.
  • Sermon on the Mount Mennonite Church hosts a food giveaway every Tuesday. Food for this program is collected by Bread Break Ministry from several local businesses.
  • Faith Through Frames provides quick-print photo IDs that are accepted by Feeding South Dakota for food giveaways.
  • The Salvation Army food pantry expanded food choices to include ethnic options and stopped requiring photo IDs to receive food.
  • Church on the Street provides a comprehensive printed flyer to help people more easily find a place to have a meal or receive a food package.
  • For the summer of 2021, the Boys & Girls Club and the USDA provide food boxes to families, regardless of income. Each box includes 7 days of suppers and snacks for each child in the household. Delivery is available on Tuesdays at LBA or to the family’s home.

A critical outcome for this demonstration initiative was to leave behind a sustainable group of parents and other adults who could grow their own leaders and support their neighborhood school. For the summer of 2021, Kid Link is testing the use of a paid assistant to build rapport in the neighborhoods and increase participation.

Kid Link Riverside events have developed into family nights where kids and adults engage in activities together. Volunteers model appropriate ways to interact with and teach children. And a local church congregation is becoming a community center once again. All with one goal in mind: supporting the academic potential for students attending LBA.

What does Kid Link do for children?

Thrive’s leadership has adopted a neighborhood approach to collaboration that produces immediate benefits for school-age children. The result is Kid Link. The initiative will realign community resources to better serve children and their families in Riverside and two additional neighborhoods.

​Kid Link began in 2020 as Kid Link Riverside. A series of summer events at Laura B. Anderson Elementary School introduced the initiative and its volunteers. Activities included weekly visits from the Bookmobile and special guests, and twice monthly free hot meal service.

In the fall of 2020, amidst a global pandemic and colder weather, Sermon on the Mount Mennonite Church graciously offered to host indoor after-school activities for children and parents. Everyone has been welcomed to safely join the group for:

  • Math Tutoring
  • Homework Help
  • Reading Buddies
  • Games and Crafts
  • Snacks
  • Health & Parenting
  • Library Books
  • Free Hot Meal To Go

None of this could have happened without the collaborative work of more than 100 volunteers. These passionate leaders represent more than 40 businesses and organizations, but also include dozens of advocates from across the community.

Their goal: a demonstration project that brings parents and families together to tackle common obstacles to student success.

Parents and other adults have a huge influence on each child’s success in school. Kid Link Riverside is helping families connect to LBA and support their children’s progress.

Wade Helleson

Principal, Laura B. Anderson Elementary School

The idea of collaborating to help individual neighborhoods grew out of the work of Sioux Falls Thrive Food Security Action Team members.

“Closing food service gaps citywide is like trying to eat an elephant in one bite,” one member said. The team dug into Augustana’s “Food Security and Food Systems” research and targeted the Riverside neighborhood, home to LBA, for a demonstration project.

Resolving food access is the project’s first goal, but as parents and neighbors engage with the initiative’s volunteers, task teams will work to close other service gaps that make it difficult for LBA students to achieve.


News about Kid Link Riverside is available at Parents will also receive information through their child’s classroom mailbox. Click the link below to subscribe to Kid Link email news.


Establish trust and credibility with the Riverside community.

Build relationships in the Riverside community with dignity and respect.

Engage the Riverside community in identifying wants, needs and potential solutions.

Align existing community resources to develop sustainable outcomes for the Riverside community.

Read the latest news about Kid Link Riverside:


Kid Link Riverside is a way to meet LBA staff, neighbors, and parents. Volunteer task teams need your help communicating with families, planning activities, organizing distribution of supplies, scheduling out-of-school supervision, making food, cleaning up after events, and so much more.

Leadership Team

Members of the Laura B. Anderson School staff

  • Wade Helleson, Principal
  • Eimi Cloutier, School Liaison
  • Kimberlie Horn, Second-Grade Teacher

Three members of the Food Security Action Team

  • Allison Struck, Education Foundation
  • Tami Prostrollo, First United Methodist Church
  • Joel Gackle, Augustana Alumni Association

Members from related organizations

  • Diane de Koeyer, City of Sioux Falls
  • Wayne Slothouber, Oak Hills Baptist Church
Kid Link Leadership Team 2020

Members of the Leadership Team pause for a photo during an online meeting.

Thrive Action Teams are key to our mission. They address obstacles to student success by focusing on creating systemic change in the conditions surrounding the educational system.

Action Teams are comprised of individuals who:

  • Represent a cross-section of business, government, nonprofit and faith-based communities.
  • Have knowledge and experience to contribute to the ecosystem issue being addressed.
  • Are willing to make a commitment to participate regularly in Action Team activities.

Teams can accommodate up to 15 members for two-year terms. One-third of Action Team membership turns over every two years and opportunities for Task Team volunteers are always available. Contact us to learn more.

Share This