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Just Another (Busy) Day at Lafayette Urban Ministry

It is 8:00 a.m. and another day at the Lafayette Urban Ministry has begun.

Receptionist, Connie Decker, opens the doors and welcomes 12 people into the waiting room. Each is facing an eviction, winter utility disconnect, or perhaps a special food, health care or transportation emergency. Good Samaritan Program Director, Linda Hicks, and her volunteers responded to 2,032 of these emergencies last year.

It is 9:00 a.m. and two blocks away on 6th Street, the St. John’s/LUM Food Pantry opens its door to those in our community who are hungry and in need of food. Volunteers distribute food, stock shelves and complete simple administrative tasks. The food pantry offered food to 2,810 households last year.

It is 10:00 a.m. and back here on 4th Street, the Lafayette Urban Ministry ID Clinic opens for business. Three individuals have come to LUM for help in re-establishing their legal identities after having lost their photo IDs. This vitally important service allows our clients to apply for jobs, health care, housing or public assistance. LUM helped 211 individuals regain lost or stolen IDs last year.

From 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. the LUM Tax Assistance Program volunteers are hard at work providing free tax preparation services to low-income working families in our community. Program Director Ben Murphy and his team assure that our clients receive every tax credit for which they are eligible. Last year 552 individuals received an average refund of $1,774!

It is 2:00 p.m. and the LUM Emergency Shelter Director, David Heckert, begins meeting individually with each of the 42 homeless men and women who will be our guests at LUM tonight. What are their plans for getting off the street? How can LUM be of assistance? He calls a guest’s father in Florida. David is happy to hear the son is welcome to return home if only LUM can find a way to get him there. Later that afternoon, the man boards a Greyhound bus thanks to a ticket purchased by LUM.

It is 2:30 p.m. and four LUM activity buses are ready to roll. LUM After School Program  Director, Amanda Bajzatt, and her staff are picking up children from 15 local elementary schools and delivering them to the Education Building at Central Presbyterian Church. Last year, 113 children received snacks, homework help and educational enrichment in a safe and caring environment each day after school while their parents were finishing up their workdays.

It is 3:00 p.m. and LUM Immigration Clinic Director, Susan Brouillette, is beginning her third case meeting of the day. She is working to help a legal work visa holder find the means to return home to her native country. Last year, 101 individuals received help navigating the US Immigration bureaucracy. Fifteen were helped in gaining U.S. Citizenship. Forty-six participated in U.S. Citizenship classes and 17 participated in Spanish conversation tables.

It is 4:00 p.m. and our first planning meeting for LUM Camp 2018 has begun. This year, we will introduce our campers to astrophysics and the science of light! Before you know it, July will be here and 120 LUM campers and counselors will be boarding the buses for Hanging Rock Camp.  “LUM Camp 2018: Let Your Light Shine!”

It is 7:00 p.m. and the LUM Board of Directors has gathered for its monthly meeting. Comprised of one representative from each of LUM’s 46 member-churches, the board begins its agenda by honoring two LUM staff members and four Lafayette police and EMS officers. They helped resuscitate a homeless man found in a snowbank on January 2 when the actual temperature was -19 degrees.

It is 9:00 p.m. and across the street the door to the LUM Emergency Shelter opens. Forty-two homeless guests come in from the cold. Clean bedding, a simple meal, a hot shower and respect are offered to all. A resident of a local addiction treatment program has been invited to share the story of his own struggle with alcohol, and a staff member offers information to our guests about local addiction and mental health resources. 704 individuals stayed in the LUM shelter last year.

At midnight, the LUM Winter Warming Station opens for anyone needing protection from the winter elements. Staff member Jacob Day and two volunteers are on duty tonight. 206 individuals used the LUM Winter Warming Station last year.

It is 7:00 a.m. and our homeless guests are up, finished with breakfast and thankful for a safe night of restful sleep.

During other times of the year, LUM will provide math, reading, science and social studies learning to 60 low-income children enrolled in our 5th Quarter Summer Learning Program. Through Jubilee Christmas, we will provide toys, hams, gift certificates, cookies and baskets to 1,900 children from 700 families. On Thanksgiving Day, 200 volunteers will provide a turkey meal with all the fixings to 900 adults and children at the LUM Community Thanksgiving Celebration.

Your past support of the Lafayette Urban Ministry has been so important to everything that is accomplished here on a daily basis. Together, we have strengthened families, nurtured children and made our community a better place for everyone.

I hope you will continue your support of LUM by making a generous Lenten season gift of $50, $100, $250, $500, $1,000, or more, today. I can think of nowhere else that your charitable dollars will have greater impact and of no better way to practice our Lenten discipline than to share with those less fortunate.

It is 8:00 a.m. and another day at the Lafayette Urban Ministry has begun. Please, may we hear from you today?

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LUM Students Celebrate National Reading Month

March is National Reading Month, and the LUM After School Program students celebrated with a grand birthday party for the beloved children’s author, Dr. Seuss.

The celebration was a pizza party which included reading groups with Dr. Seuss books, fun educational exercises, Dr. Seuss themed gelatin snacks, arts and crafts activities, games and more. The Cat in the Hat, as well as Thing 1 & Thing 2, even made a surprise appearance.

The LUM After School Program was bursting with excitement all focused on reading, writing and creativity. Special thanks to the volunteers from Purdue Timmy Global Health, the MARK Tutoring program at St. Thomas Aquinas, and Purdue Pre-Pharmacy Club for their help with the event.

To view more PHOTOS, click HERE.

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After School Program

Teachers Needed for Summer Program

The LUM 5th Quarter Summer Learning Program is seeking applications for two Teachers.

The positions are full-time, paid ($15 per hour). Teachers are needed from May 29 – August 3, Monday – Friday from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Bachelor’s degree in Education is required, and duties include supervising and teaching 40 children, pre-Kindergarten through 6th Grade.

Qualified candidates should Email, Mail or Drop-off a resume with cover letter including a teaching philosophy to the LUM Youth Programs director, Amanda Bajzatt (765-423-2691 | ).

After School Program
New & Improved for 2018

At the start of the new calendar year, the LUM After School Program found a new home — the Education Building at Central Presbyterian Church, Lafayette. The transition has been smooth, and the impact has been positive.

The LUM After School Program provides safe, fun and enriching childcare for up to 80 children in Kindergarten to 8th grade in Tippecanoe County. The children are transported by bus from their schools to the LUM After School Program at Central Presbyterian Church. For up to three hours each school day, the students work on homework, have a nutritious snack, and participate in craft projects, music, and other fun recreational and educational activities — enabling their parents to finish their workday. The program is staffed by a professionally trained educator, teacher’s aides, interns and volunteers. All of their training exceeds State of Indiana requirements.

The new location at Central Presbyterian Church will be beneficial in many programmatic ways. Some of them are as follows:

  • Ability to separate the students by grade level for homework help and tutoring
  • Large gym available for recreational activities
  • Separate library for quiet reading time
  • Large common room (with a stage) for activities involving all of the students
  • Parking for all of the LUM buses
  • Secure entrance for student pick up
  • Space to accommodate 80 students comfortably and safely

Central Presbyterian Church is an ideal location for the LUM After School Program. Many of the benefits have already been realized, and the potential for more improvements is exciting.

To view more PHOTOS from the LUM After School Program, click HERE.

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After School Program