Category Archives: Board of Directors

2021 at LUM – A Year to Remember


Happy New Year!

For many 2021 wasn’t the best year ever, but it was at least better than 2020. At LUM, the focus on and service to all of our neighbors in need is stronger than ever. Some of the highlights that made this a year to remember are as follows:

  • NEW LUM LOOK – at a special event in June, a new logo, colors, and brand were revealed honoring the enduring legacy of LUM and signifying a new era with a renewed commitment to give help & hope.
  • NEW FOOD PANTRY – LUM food program expanded with the opening of the LUM Westside Food Pantry located at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tippecanoe County. The LUM Westside Food Pantry complements the LUM Protein Food Pantry, located in downtown Lafayette, and is the only TEFAP food pantry in West Lafayette.
  • NEW EVENTS: Two new initiatives were launched this year: Day for Dads & Free HaircutsDay for Dads is designed to encourage and celebrate fathers who are engaged with their children and families. Free Haircuts are now offered once a month at LUM thanks to Jay Soto and other barbers in town.
  • NEW STAFF POSITIONS: After reviewing the staffing needs, the following positions were created: Volunteer Coordinator, Immigration Clinic Assistant Director, Shelter Shift Supervisor, & Business Office Clerk.

Even more remarkable is that in 2021 LUM served more than 3,000 households through 22 different programs! Thanks to caring and generous people like YOU, LUM is still here and still providing essential services to the community. It has been “a year to remember,” indeed. Cheers to 2022! And Happy New Year to you and your family.

Wishing you and your family Peace, Hope & Love in the new year.


New Year’s Message from the LUM Executive Director


| Welcome 2022 | Still in Our Heart | Six Feet Apart |

Thank You

  • For your generous financial support of the program & services of LUM

Thank You

  • If you volunteered overnight or prepared a meal and delivered it to the LUM Emergency Shelter
  • If you volunteered as a LUM Camp counselor, After School Program tutor or in one of LUM’s other youth programs that are narrowing the academic achievement gap
  • If you attended the LUM Retirement Follies, contributed to LUM Good Samaritan Fund or served as an advocate with the LUM Good Samaritan Program, helping more than 1,500 families to avert utility disconnect or eviction from their homes
  • If you participated in the Port of Hope event or volunteered with the LUM Immigration Clinic
  • If you ran in the Turkey Trot 5K Run, or donated food or worked for the Community Thanksgiving Feast
  • If you donated, hosted a family, participated in Jubilee Christmas making Christmas possible for 1,750 local children in 625 local families
  • If you served on the LUM Board of Directors
  • If you fought hunger in our community by volunteering with the LUM Protein Food Pantry — or by participating in Hunger Hike
  • If you served as a LUM tax preparer and helped return hundreds of thousands of dollars in refunds and credits to low-income households in our community

Thank you for being a friend in 2021. LUM has impacted a significant number of children and families in our community this year because of YOU. What YOU do for LUM is so important in enabling us to accomplish our mission — and restores dignity to families, encourages and educates children, is a positive force in our community — offering peace, hope & love to the families we serve.

Thank you for choosing us as your community partner this year. Here’s to another day of service to the people of this great community.


Merry Christmas to You & Your Family


Joy | Peace | Family | Love | Hope | Faith


Dear Friends,

This festive holiday season feels like the right time to share warmest thanks for your friendship.

Your support helps us in our calling, “Tackling basic human needs and uplifting the people of Greater Lafayette.

Thanks for being there for Lafayette Urban Ministry during these challenging times, when our neighbors have needed us the most. The enthusiasm and generosity you’ve shown LUM are inspiring, encouraging, and much appreciated.

I hope we connect in 2022. Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy holiday season!

Warmly,

Wes Tillett
Executive Director
Lafayette Urban Ministry


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Before the End of 2021 – Invest in LUM


Only Days Left – Tax Deductible Gift for 2021


While preparing for holiday celebrations, it’s important to stop and reflect on the joy and blessings in your own life while also being aware that not everyone in your community is so fortunate. Please consider setting aside part of your budget to support the work of Lafayette Urban Ministry with a tax-deductible charitable donation.

So far this year, LUM has served close to 3,000 individual local households through one of the 22 programs. This incredible number is only possible because of the intentional generosity of people such as yourself. Thank you. It is our hope that, in the spirit of “good will toward all people,” you will support the vital work of Lafayette Urban Ministry with a financial gift. Your contribution of $50, $100, $250, $500, or $1,000 will be used to uplift people in Greater Lafayette. 

The donation process has been simplified allowing supporters to donate online, by phone, in person or by mail. Donate Online by clicking the button below -or- call us at 765-423-2691. Mail or Drop off your donation to the LUM Office, 420 N 4th Street, Lafayette, Indiana 47901.


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During the past year, Lafayette Urban Ministry served 2,725 families through one or another of our 22 programs.

Explore our website to see how you can make your donation to LUM more meaningful to you.


The donation process has been simplified allowing supporters to donate online, by phone, in person or by mail. Donate Online by clicking the button below -or- Call us at 765-423-2691. Mail or Drop off your donation to the LUM Office, 420 N 4th Street, Lafayette, Indiana 47901.


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Meet Sarah – New LUM Intern


Sarah A. Warner, LUM Intern through the IU School of Social Work

Sarah A. Warner is the new LUM intern for the Fall semester. She was born in California, grew up in Crawfordsville, IN and now lives in Lafayette with her boyfriend, Coleman, and their yellow-lab-mix, Moko.

Sarah graduated from Crawfordsville High School and earned her bachelors from the University of Evansville in Psychology with a minor in Sociology. She is currently completing her internship with LUM as a part of her MSW program at the IU School of Social Work. When she graduates in December 2022, she plans on becoming a licensed social worker and working with children in a school setting or with a nonprofit agency.

At LUM, Sarah will be working with children in the After School Program, as well as assisting the Immigration Clinic, Thanksgiving Dinner, Emergency Shelter, Port of Hope event, and Jubilee Christmas. Sarah shared that,

“I’m excited to explore the many aspects of social work offered at Lafayette Urban Ministry. I love that I will be able to serve the community at the same time as learning about working with people in need.”

In her free time, Sarah enjoys travelling and exploring other cultures, cooking and baking, listening to podcasts, crocheting (a new skill she learned during the pandemic), and outdoor adventures with Moko.

LUM is fortunate to have someone with Sarah’s energy and passion join the LUM staff as an intern. Join us in welcoming her.

Meet Yanina – New LUM Staff Member


Yanina Gomez Szyszko, Immigration Clinic Asst. Director

Yanina Gomez Szyszko is the new Assistant Director of the LUM Immigration Clinic (reporting to the Immigration Clinic director). She grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, has lived in Copenhagen, Denmark and Valencia, Spain, and currently lives in Lafayette, Indiana.

Yanina graduated from Escuela Cristiana Evangélica Argentina (E.C.E.A) in Buenos Aires, has studied Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Buenos Aires; and is currently enrolled at the International University of Valencia pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Her goal is to complete a Master of Clinical Psychology by 2025. Yanina speaks both English and Spanish. She is an avid volunteer working with agencies in Denmark, Spain, Argentina, Poland and the United States (Lafayette) that focus on children, nutrition, fair labor, homelessness, food distribution and waste, elderly and animals.

Yanina is inspired by the Bible passage,

“Let everything you do be done in love,”

1 Corinthians 16:14.

She is also driven by the courage and determination of her Polish ancestors who migrated to Argentina during the interwar period — especially her great-grandmother, Melanja. Each in their own way, her family members, overcame the challenges of migrating with children while pregnant, being pioneers in their careers, and successfully raising their children, to be grateful, with a positive attitude, and have faith and trust in God.

She shared that,

“I hope in my new role with LUM to use my skills and experience to help in all aspects of the Immigration Clinic. It will be personally enriching to have a positive impact on the immigrant families in our community.”

Yanina is excited to “be a part of a team with passionate, determined people who have a great love for others.”

In her free time, Yanina enjoys travelling and exploring other cultures. She has visited more than 30 countries on four continents, so far. Yanina has studied new languages, most recently Polish, Danish and French. She is also an administrator with the Polish Genealogy Group in Argentina and the organizer of an international book club hosted in four cities: Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, Warsaw, and Barcelona; and plans on starting a book club in Lafayette soon.

LUM is fortunate to have someone with Yanina’s experience and passion join the Immigration Clinic staff. Join us in welcoming her.

Women Religious Leaders of LUM Honored

LUM Member Churches – 11 Women Leaders

Indiana State Representative Sheila J. Klinker recently recognized the distinguished women leaders of the LUM member churches with a framed proclamation. Before the most recent LUM Board meeting, Representative Klinker offered remarks, praise and certificates to Dr. Karen Atcheson, Rev. Ashley Bonnes, Rev. Dr. Hilary Cooke, Rev. Lisa Hood, Rev. Pamela Jones-Horne, Rev. Tracey Leslie, Rev. Dr. Rachel Methany, Rev. Rosemary Morrison, Rev. Dr. Gladys Nwabah, Rev. Lucia Oerter, and Rev. Stephanie Smith. {Pictured L to R: Nwabah, Leslie, Cooke, Hood, Morrison & Bonnes.} To view more photos, click HERE.
LUM agrees with Representative Klinker that these religious leaders have been a vital part of the success of LUM governance, planning, outreach and leadership. Join us in recognizing these distinguished women religious & community leaders and ALL women leaders for their service to LUM and our community for the betterment of all.

Today, more than 25% of the LUM Member Churches are led by women. Compared to when LUM was incorporated in 1972, this is welcome change.



In the spirit of Women’s History Month (March) and Celebrating the Women of LUM, today we put a spotlight on 11 women who currently lead a local church or religious community that is also a member of the LUM Board of Directors. Women, like Doris Miner Hanstra (see story above), have been a vital part of the formation and growth of Lafayette Urban Ministry for more than 59 years. The difference today is that these women by virtue of their positions within their church have the authority to make decisions and initiate change in our community.

LUM is grateful for their knowledge, expertise, experience and insight; and is thrilled that they are a part of the LUM leadership team as well. Join us in honoring these women religious leaders and ALL of the other women who have leadership roles in LUM Member Churches, by saying their names:

  • Dr. Karen Atcheson,
  • Rev. Ashley Bonnes,
  • Rev. Dr. Hilary Cooke,
  • Rev. Lisa Hood,
  • Rev. Pamela Jones-Horne,
  • Rev. Tracey Leslie,
  • Rev. Dr. Rachel Methany,
  • Rev. Rosemary Morrison,
  • Rev. Dr. Gladys Nwabah,
  • Rev. Lucia Oerter, and
  • Rev. Stephanie Smith.

Women Leaders of LUM Member Churches

Celebrating the Women Religious Leaders

Today, more than 25% of the LUM Member Churches are led by women. Compared to when LUM was incorporated in 1972, this is welcome change.

In the spirit of Women’s History Month (March) and Celebrating the Women of LUM, today we put a spotlight on 11 women who currently lead a local church or religious community that is also a member of the LUM Board of Directors. Women, like Doris Miner Hanstra (see story above), have been a vital part of the formation and growth of Lafayette Urban Ministry for more than 59 years. The difference today is that these women by virtue of their positions within their church have the authority to make decisions and initiate change in our community.

LUM is grateful for their knowledge, expertise, experience and insight; and is thrilled that they are a part of the LUM leadership team as well. Join us in honoring these women religious leaders and ALL of the other women who have leadership roles in LUM Member Churches, by saying their names:

  • Dr. Karen Atcheson,
  • Rev. Ashley Bonnes,
  • Rev. Dr. Hilary Cooke,
  • Rev. Lisa Hood,
  • Rev. Pamela Jones-Horne,
  • Rev. Tracey Leslie,
  • Rev. Dr. Rachel Methany,
  • Rev. Rosemary Morrison,
  • Rev. Dr. Gladys Nwabah,
  • Rev. Lucia Oerter, and
  • Rev. Stephanie Smith.

Stop Asian Hate



The board and staff members of Lafayette Urban Ministry uphold that every human being is worthy of dignity, respect, and love. LUM stands in solidarity with Asian, Asian American & Pacific Islanders. LUM denounces xenophobia and racism, and strongly opposes the increasing acts of violence and attitudes of hatred toward Asian, Asian American & Pacific Islanders.  #StopAsianHate

Joan Low – Superstar LUM Leader & Servant

Appreciation for 16 Years of Leadership

Joan Foord Low, transitioned from being LUM board president as gracefully and humbly as she entered in 2005 as the newly selected representative from her church to the LUM Board of Directors. For the past 16 years, she led with passion and strength through some of the most significant milestones at LUM, including the search and hiring of the new LUM executive director last spring.

Due to COVID-19, Joan was given a Zoom send-off from her colleagues and was presented with a token of appreciation from the LUM board and staff members by Wes Tillett, LUM executive director. Pictured is Wes presenting Joan with a framed sketch of the Salt Lake Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Utah with a plaque that reads, 

“With deep appreciation of Joan Low for her years of leadership and service at Lafayette Urban Ministry.”

Joan is one of an impressive group of women who have led and served LUM through the Board of Directors. She is an inspiration to all and a shining example of the contribution individuals can make in our community through the work of Lafayette Urban Ministry. Joan shared that she will still volunteer with the LUM youth programs and wherever else she is needed. THANK YOU, Joan!

Meet Cheryl Fowler – LUM Board President

Celebrating the Women of LUM in March

LUM is excited to introduce you to the president of the LUM Board of Directors, Cheryl Fowler.

Cheryl has been an active LUM volunteer for more than eight years when she was selected to represent her church, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tippecanoe County, on the LUM Board of Directors. In addition to serving on the LUM Executive Council for the past four years, Cheryl has served on the Hunger Hike Fundraising Committee for seven years and was the program director for the LUM Community Thanksgiving Feast in 2015 & 2016.

Cheryl grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, graduated from Finneytown High School, and earned a BS in marketing from Miami University, Ohio. Cheryl lives in West Lafayette with her husband of 36 years, Gary, and they have an adult daughter, son-in-law and seven-month old granddaughter. In addition to her family, she draws inspiration from music, especially this Carrie Newcomer song lyric,

“The greatest revolution is a simple change of heart.”

Cheryl shared that,

“Central to my faith is the inherent worth and
dignity of each person and my commitment to
justice, equity and compassion for all.”

This is what drew her to get involved with Hunger Hike and the new LUM Westside Food Pantry, opening this April.

“Creating awareness of food insecurity, raising money to fight hunger and providing food assistance to local families,”

is important to Cheryl. She is most proud of her work with the LUM Executive Council, stating that,

“Serving as the liaison for my church, working with the governance of LUM and witnessing firsthand the LUM volunteers & staff making a difference in people’s lives, gives me such a positive feeling. LUM truly is in the business of helping to restore human dignity and hope.”

Cheryl Fowler and Wes Tillett, LUM executive director

Following a long history of women serving with LUM, Cheryl is a humble and hardworking leader and volunteer. Over the years, she has stepped up and led when needed but has also rolled up her sleeves and participated in the day-to-day work at LUM.

“LUM helps me live out my values,”

Cheryl shared with pride and gratitude.

Cheryl also serves on the social justice team with her church and a racial justice group in the community. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, outdoor activities including camping, traveling, music and supporting the arts, and tap dancing, which she has done since she was four years old.

LUM and the children and families served by LUM are blessed to have someone like Cheryl as their leader, advocate, and servant.