Kid Link



Thrive’s Action Teams are change agents that tackle big community issues. In 2019, Thrive’s leadership asked a strategic question – what would happen if Thrive tackled the resource gaps in Sioux Falls one neighborhood at a time? Wouldn’t focusing on the eight elementary schools in disadvantaged areas of the city have an immediate benefit to the families and kids who live there?

The idea of taking a strategic swerve caught on quickly with the Food Security 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 Laura B. Anderson Elementary School, for a demonstration project.

Kid Link Riverside is funded by the generosity of T. Denny Sanford. Thrive’s Food Security team plays a key role. Resolving food access is the project’s first goal, but as Riverside neighbors engage with the initiative’s volunteers, task teams will work to close other service gaps that make it hard for LBA students to achieve.


Kid Link Riverside will:

  • 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.


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

Read the latest news about Kid Link Riverside:

In creating Kid Link, Thrive’s leadership adopted the neighborhood approach because it produces immediate benefits for school-age children. Over the next three years, Kid Link will realign community resources to better serve children and their families in Riverside and two additional neighborhoods.


The children and families at LBA are the ultimate beneficiaries of this first phase, known as Kid Link Riverside.

Before finalizing engagement plans, Augustana Research Institute will complete interviews with local service providers and families. Although food security is a primary focus, the research will inevitably uncover housing and out-of-school time needs. Environmental concerns such as public safety, transportation, and community health issues are also expected to surface.

Check back for the Kid Link Riverside Report.

Kid Link Riverside Initiative Leadership Team

Three 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

Three members from related organizations

  • Adam Roach, City of Sioux Falls
  • Heather Faulkner, Grand Prairie Foods
  • Wayne Slothouber, Oak Hills Baptist Church

Three LBA parents

To be named.

kids on fence

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.

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