Category Archives: Board of Directors

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.

LUM Board – Day Preference Survey

Message from the LUM President


Get Involved to Advance the Work of LUM


Dear Friend of LUM,

It is my honor to serve as President of the LUM Board of Directors. Each member of our Board represents their church partnering with LUM to tackle basic human needs and uplift people in Tippecanoe County. 

Lafayette Urban Ministrycreates a larger vehicle for making a difference in Greater Lafayette than an individual church can make by itself.

I am thankful for LUM staff, donors, volunteers and Board members who work together to restore the hope and the self respect which all people need and deserve.

As you learn more about the programs of LUM, I hope you are inspired to get involved or increase your involvement to advance the important work of Lafayette Urban MinistryThank you for your interest and support.

Sincerely, 

Cheryl A. Fowler
President, Board of Directors

Annual Report 2020 – Lafayette Urban Ministry



Here is your personal copy of the 2020 Annual Report of Lafayette Urban Ministry, Inc. The pages detail the remarkable work that together WE have accomplished on behalf of low-income children and working families in our community during one of the most challenging years of our history.

How humbling it is for the LUM staff members, as well as the many LUM many volunteers, to see the generous financial investment from the LUM donors and to experience the ever-present encouragement and support of the LUM Board of Directors.

Feel free to share the LUM Annual Report with friends and family members to show the impact that YOU are having through your partnership with Lafayette Urban Ministry.

If you have any questions or comments, please be in touch. THANK YOU for all you continue to do for local children and families and your neighbors experiencing homelessness through the service & programs at Lafayette Urban Ministry — especially during this crisis.

  • To view the LUM 2020 Annual Report, click HERE.
  • To view all LUM reports including the Annual Report, click HERE.

In 2020
  • Lafayette Urban Ministry served 3,020 households
  • Thousands of individuals volunteered in a LUM program
  • 2,137 individuals, churches, civic organizations, foundations or local businesses contributed financially to the work at LUM

LUM Mission Statement

Poverty is the greatest thief.

More than depriving a neighbor of food or shelter or warmth, it steals away hope.
While other thieves may take away the past, poverty steals the future and self-respect.

Lafayette Urban Ministry is in the business of restoring human dignity. Through voluntary efforts and contributions we give back the hope, the future, and the self respect which all God’s people need and deserve.

Ours is a Christian ministry that welcomes congregations and people of all faiths.
We give witness to God’s saving love & prophetic power by loving neighbors, seeking justice, empowering the least among us, and renewing the Church’s social ministry.