Category Archives: Kids Voting South Dakota

KV SD Raises Nearly $13,000 at Liberty Basketball Game Fundraiser

The Chiesman Center for Democracy, Inc., held the 16th Annual Kids Voting South Dakota Liberty Basketball Game and Taco Feed. The event took place on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at Riggs High School in Pierre, South Dakota. The evening began at 5:30 pm with the Taco Feed with Legislators, Tacos for Top Dogs sponsored by Coca Cola and Taco Johns of Pierre. The game tip-off was promptly at 7 pm. The game is a major fundraiser for Kids Voting South Dakota. The members of the House of Representatives faced off with the members of the Senate in a fun yet challenging game of basketball. There was a free throw event for students and every participating student left with a prize! In conjunction with the basketball game and taco feed they conducted both live and silent auction.

The Liberty Basketball Game, is the major fundraiser for Kids Voting South Dakota, raised nearly $13,000. Wes Brown, the communications manager said, “Thanks to the Legislators, this was a record year for us, raising 4,000 more this year than in previous years, we are thankful for all their help.” The funds raised during this event are extremely important to develop and sustain the resources we offer to schools and teachers across the state. This support helps to ensure that our youth continue to learn about the importance of voting and our government, along with opportunities to practice what it means to be an active and responsible citizen.

The major program sponsors include, South Dakota Rural Electric Association and Touchstone Energy Cooperatives, The Chiesman Center for Democracy, Inc., and Curriculum sponsor, East River Electric.

Celebration at Mount Rushmore

Nearly 600 fourth and fifth graders from around the Black Hills

to took part in the Chiesman Center’s Kids Voting South Dakota

(KVSD) 8th Bi-Annual kickoff celebration on Thursday, September 20 at

Mount Rushmore National Memorial Amphitheater.

The keynote speaker, South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant,

stressed the importance of voting and being active participants in our

electoral process. Those attending also listened to local entertainer, Gordy

Pratt, the Original Fabulous One Guy, engaging students in songs he

wrote about democracy and voting and a performance from Rural America

Initiative’s Ateyapi Drum Group.

Celebrating 20 years, KVSD has been providing year-round K-12

civic education programs for school districts and communities around the

state since 1992, focusing on the voting process, citizenship, and civic responsibility.

KVSD believes that active citizenship and civic engagement

begins, not ends, when ballots are cast. Kindergarten through twelfth

grade students from school districts throughout South Dakota will cast

votes on November 6th through Kids Voting South Dakota.

Childfund International Awards the Chiesman Center Funds

ChildFund International US Program has awarded funding to the Chiesman Center for Democracy to implement a project called “Civic Outreach with Outstanding Leaders” (COOL).

The Chiesman Center will partner with Rapid City schools and youth serving organizations to implement Kids Voting South Dakota® (KVSD) and Project Citizen with ChildFund sponsored children in Rapid City. Twenty to thirty high school students from the Rapid City Academy and St. Thomas More High School will work with elementary and middle school students in schools and afterschool programs in Rapid City. The high school students will attend training on leadership skills and KVSD and Project Citizen programming to prepare them to work with the younger students.

Under the guidance of mentor teachers, the high school students will mentor and coach the younger students at each of the sites. In the 2012 fall semester, the high school students will work with elementary school age students to implement Kids Voting. In the 2013 spring semester, the high school students will work with middle school age students to implement Project Citizen.

New Executive Director for Kids Voting South Dakota


The Chiesman Center for Democracy announced on December 22nd, 2011, Ms. Rebecca Andrew as the executive director of the Civic Education programs. Previously, Rebecca Andrew served as the program assistant for the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Center, the Strengthening Communities Fund and the Institute for Educational Leadership & Evaluation at the Chiesman Center for Democracy, Inc.

Prior to joining the Chiesman Center, she was the Black Hills coordinator for the nonprofit advocacy organization, South Dakota Voices for Children. She also served as the mental health coordinator and advocate with Youth and Family Services’ Prenatal to Five Head Start Program. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Mankato State University, Mankato, Minnesota.

Major programs under Ms. Andrew’s direction will include: Kids Voting South Dakota, South Dakota Project Citizen, South Dakota Youth Congress and South Dakota’s We the People.

2011 Constitution Day (or Citizenship Day)

Constitution Day (or Citizenship Day) is an American federal observance that recognizes the ratification of the United States Constitution and those who have become U.S. citizens. It is observed on September 17, the day the U.S. Constitutional Convention signed the Constitution in 1787.  The law establishing the holiday was created in 2004 with the passage of an amendment by Senator Robert Byrd to the Omnibus spending bill of 2004. Before this law was enacted, the holiday was known as “Citizenship Day”. In addition to renaming the holiday “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day,” the act mandates that all publicly funded educational institutions provide educational programming on the history of the American Constitution on that day. In May 2005, the United States Department of Education announced the enactment of this law and that it would apply to any school receiving federal funds of any kind.

Email the national office ( for a list of educational links that may help you as you prepare for Constitution Day in your classroom.

A special thanks to Kids Voting South Dakota, which is an organization ran by the Chiesman Center for Democracy in South Dakota, for sharing this information with Kids Voting USA.

June ’11 Educator of the Month

KVUSA is pleased to announce that Shelby Berthram is the June Educator of the Month. Ms. Berthram is a first grade teacher at St. Joseph’s Indian School in Chamberlain, South Dakota.  Shelby Berthram always teaches her students not only how important it is to vote but also how crucial it is be educated about our democracy and those running for office.  Her enthusiasm and civics knowledge makes her a great role model for the students, staff and friends in Chamberlain.