Category Archives: LUM Staff

LUM Outreach – Lafayette Volunteer Expo


Promoting the LUM “Summer of Service”

Recently, LUM participated in the Lafayette Volunteer Expo. It was a great opportunity to recruit new volunteers and invite individuals to become more engage with LUM.

L to R: Jeffrey Auguste, LUM shelter director; Marlena Edmondson, LUM Camp director; Wes Tillett, LUM executive director, Yanina Gomez Szyszko, LUM Immigration Clinic assistant director; and Terri Anderson, LUM volunteer coordinator & office manager

LUM staff were excited to share the LUM Summer of Service. LUM Summer of Service focuses on the variety of LUM volunteer opportunities offered this summer from being a LUM Camp counselor — to serving meals at the Emergency Shelter — to being a teacher’s aide in the 5th Quarter Summer Learning Program — to assisting clients at one of the two LUM food pantries — or working as an advocate with the Immigration Clinic and Financial Assistance Program.

If you missed the Lafayette Volunteer Expo and want to be a part of the LUM Summer of Service, go to LUMserve.org/volunteer or email or call the LUM volunteer coordinator, Terri Anderson (volunteer@LUMserve.org | 765-423-2691).


Outreach is an important part of the mission of Lafayette Urban Ministry. Members of the LUM professional staff actively seek opportunities to promote LUM services, recruit volunteers, and educate people on issues relating to poverty, hunger and homelessness. Directors of the various LUM programs are eager to raise awareness of LUM services, are well-informed on social and economic issues, and would like to help raise awareness in the local community on critical issues affecting low-income families.

Staff members are available to speak or set up an information table for churches, civic organization, agencies, community events, and educational groups. To make arrangements for a presentation or event, call or email LUM (765-423-2691 | lum@LUMserve.org).

LUM Attends Taste of Ramadan


Local Islamic Society Donates $2,000 to LUM


Last Friday, Wes Tillett, LUM executive director, attended the Taste of Ramadan event sponsored by the community members of the Islamic Society of Greater Lafayette with the Purdue Muslim Student Association. Wes was honored to share with the members in the breaking of their daily fast with prayer and a wonderful meal, and learn more about the customs and traditions of Ramadan.

As a part of the celebration, Wes was presented with a $2,000 gift to LUM from Dr. Humaira Gowher, chairperson of the Islamic Society of Greater Lafayette Board of Trustees (pictured). LUM is grateful for the generosity and support from the local Islamic community especially from the Islamic Society of Greater Lafayette and Purdue Muslim Student Association — and sends warm wishes for Eid al-Fitr with peace and prosperity to all. Eid Mubarak!


Outreach is an important part of the mission of Lafayette Urban Ministry. Members of the LUM professional staff actively seek opportunities to promote LUM services, recruit volunteers, and educate people on issues relating to poverty, hunger and homelessness. Directors of the various LUM programs are eager to raise awareness of LUM services, are well-informed on social and economic issues, and would like to help raise awareness in the local community on critical issues affecting low-income families.

Staff members are available to speak or set up an information table for churches, civic organization, agencies, community events, and educational groups. To make arrangements for a presentation or event, call or email LUM (765-423-2691 | lum@LUMserve.org).

LUM Camp – Living Proof of the Impact


Meet Marlena – Camper, Counselor & Director

Dear Friends:

Marlena Edmondson is living proof that LUM Camp is changing the trajectory of young lives. 

Marlena’s first experience with LUM Camp was as an 8-year-old girl. Camp was an entirely new experience for her. She had never ridden a horse, never sang silly songs before a meal, never spent time away from home in the nurturing care of fun-loving counselors. Marlena loved it all. LUM Camp was a transformative experience. 

The next two summers, Marlena eagerly came back to LUM Camp as a camper. Then, as a teenager, she became a junior counselor. As a young adult, Marlena saved up her vacation time throughout the year so she could spend a week serving as a LUM Camp counselor. Today Marlena serves as the LUM Camp director, creatively crafting each LUM Camp to be a life-giving, life-changing experience for every one of the 80 campers. 

Even more, Marlena credits LUM Camp as the catalyst that put her on a pathway toward helping children as a career. Marlena earned a Masters of Social Work degree and works in the Tippecanoe Schools Corporation as a school social worker. LUM Camp helped broaden the horizon of Marlena’s life, purpose, and impact.

(Check out the three-minute video of Marlena telling you her LUM Camp journey in her own words — below.)

Marlena knows what LUM has known since the 1960’s, when it started hosting a camp for children every summer: a week of camp has remarkable benefits in terms of intellectual curiosity, social skills, gross and fine motor skills, positive values, spirituality, and overall positive identity. Because of these scientifically verified benefits of camp, every summer LUM continues to put on a top-notch, weeklong overnight camp for boys and girls, ages 8, 9, and 10. 

This summer LUM Camp will take place July 26-29. The children come from families served throughout the year by Lafayette Urban Ministry. Hosted at the lovely Hanging Rock Christian Camp in Warren County, IN, LUM Camp involves swimming, horseback riding, arts and crafts, boating, morning chapel, wall climbing, zip-lining, snacks, delicious meals, and diverse and caring counselors.

A key component of the year-round LUM Youth Programs (which also include the After School Program and the 5th Quarter Summer Learning Program), LUM Camp is one of the premier summer camp programs available to children anywhere. 

LUM Camp is a scholarship-based camp, meaning we only invite children whose parents are not able to pay for the actual cost of camp. The actual cost is more than $200 per camper. We ask the campers’ parents to pay $5 per child and ask our generous donors to cover the rest.    

  • $200 = sponsor one LUM camper
  • $400 = sponsor two LUM campers
  • $100 = ½ LUM Camp sponsorship 
  • Any amount will support LUM Youth Programs

With so many children eagerly awaiting their chance to attend, would you like to give the gift of LUM Camp – investing in both their short-term fun and long-term life skills?  Who knows? There might be another little Marlena Edmondson attending LUM Camp this year.…

With gratitude,
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Wes Tillett
Executive Director

P.S.  Please support the LUM Youth Programs and invest in future generations. To contribute online, click the link below.


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LUM Camp

Marlena’s Journey – In Her Own Words


Marlena Edmondson is the director of LUM Camp 2021. She earned a BSW in Political Science & Social Work from the University of Indianapolis, and an MSW with a concentration in Child Welfare from Indiana University.

Marlena was a LUM Camper as a child for three years and LUM Camp volunteer camp counselor for 14 years, before become the LUM Camp director in 2018. During the rest of the year, she is the Student Services Coordinator at Mayflower Mill Elementary School with the Tippecanoe School Corporation. Marlena grew up in Lafayette, graduated from Harrison High School, and currently lives on the north side of Lafayette with her two cats, Dudley & Zelly.

LUM is lucky to have someone with Marlena’s passion, talent and experience be a part of the LUM Camp program for the past 22 years.

Meet Marlena – LUM Camp Director

Camper, Counselor & Director – 22 Years So Far

Marlena Edmondson is the director of LUM Camp. She earned a BSW in Political Science & Social Work from the University of Indianapolis, and an MSW with a concentration in Child Welfare from Indiana University.

Marlena was a LUM Camper as a child for three years and LUM Camp volunteer camp counselor for 14 years, before become the LUM Camp director in 2018. During the rest of the year, she is the Student Services Coordinator at Mayflower Mill Elementary School with the Tippecanoe School Corporation. Marlena grew up in Lafayette, graduated from Harrison High School, and currently lives on the north side of Lafayette with her two cats, Dudley & Zelly.

LUM is lucky to have someone with Marlena’s passion, talent and experience be a part of the LUM Camp program for the past 22 years.


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LUM Camp

LUM is Planning for the Next Half Century

Ten Year Strategic Plan – “LUM Lift Off”

Here is a glimpse of the plan for the next 50 years. The LUM program directors are one-year into a ten-year strategic plan entitled, LUM Lift Off: A Plan for the Next Half Century.

The vision is “Increasing accessibility by removing barriers, increasing awareness of LUM services and opportunities; creating transformative experiences for those LUM serves: and committing to sustainability by focusing on LUM financial, human and physical facility & environmental resources.

The plan consists of five-year goals and one-year, renewable action plans. Progress has been made on the goals, including increasing awareness, removing barriers, enhancing services, breaking the cycle, and exceeding expectations. Stay tuned for more developments.

50th Anniversary Reflection from Joe Micon


LUM Executive Director Emeritus | 1990 – 2020

Happy 50th Anniversary to all in our LUM family! As a community of difference makers, it is important to take at least a short time out to reflect upon this remarkable milestone. It is important to celebrate because for 50 years we have lifted up the needy in our community. We have helped low-income families to be economically stable and at-risk children to attain brighter futures. We have welcomed the immigrant stranger and enabled those who are hungry and homeless to know compassion and self worth.  

But for LUM, it has always been about more than charity. It has also been about justice. We have always believed that the two are inextricably linked and that our charity is only a waystation on the road to justice for those we serve. So along with celebrating our Good Samaritan work, food pantries and Emergency Shelter, LUM celebrates the accomplishment of fairer public assistance guidelines, a more progressive state tax code, and tireless progress toward racial equality. Along with Jubilee Christmas, LUM Camp and our After School Program, we celebrate public policy victories for textbook assistance for Indiana public school children, free breakfasts for hungry children in our state’s public schools, and the implementation of the WIC nutrition program for low-income mothers and their infant children.

LUM has always believed that while charity provides crumbs from the table, it is justice that offers a place at the table. We work toward a society that has more justice, because it becomes a society that needs less charity. In the mid 1800s the Rev. Theodore Parker asked us to: Look at the facts of the world. You see a continual and progressive triumph of that which is right. I do not pretend to understand the moral universe, the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways. I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. But from what I see, I am sure it bends towards justice.

Congratulations LUM on 50 years of bending the arc. Here’s to another 50 years of loving neighbors, seeking justice, empowering the least among us and renewing the church’s social ministry!


From 1980 to 1989, Joe Micon directed the LUM Advocate, Jubilee Christmas, Repairs on Wheels and Social Justice Programs. He was the LUM Camp director for 40 years (1980-2020) and the LUM executive director from 1990 to 2020. Under his leadership, the annual budget grew from $278,790 to $1,174,49518 more churches joined the board, staff increased from eight to 28, the LUM Ray Ewry Center opened, the LUM capital campaign raised close to $2.8 million, and 12 new programs began, including the After School Program5th Quarter Summer Learning Program, Immigration Clinic, Tax Assistance Program and Winter Warming Station. Joe was the first social worker elected to the Indiana General Assembly, serving two terms from 2004 to 2008. Since retiring from LUM, he serves as one of four Commissioners appointed to the Indiana State Lobbyist Commission and is a member of the Ascension St. Vincent’s Hospital Williamsport Board of Directors. Along with his wife Jo, Joe operates a small cow/calf farm in Warren County. He cherishes time together with family and friends, enjoys honing his newfound drone piloting skills and hitting the open road in the RV! To read more about Joe Micon, click HERE.

LUM Outreach – Local Resistance Fair


Promoting LUM Opportunities, Services & 50th Anniversary


Recently, LUM participated in the Greater Lafayette Resistance Fair. It was a great opportunity to recruit new volunteers, share the scope of LUM programs with attendees, and invite individuals to the LUM 50th Anniversary Celebration.

L to R: Patti O’Callaghan, Larry Guentert, Terri Anderson, Ann Cripe, Susan Broillette & Adelia Sorge

Outreach is an important part of the mission of Lafayette Urban Ministry. Members of the LUM professional staff actively seek opportunities to promote LUM services, recruit volunteers, and educate people on issues relating to poverty, hunger and homelessness. Directors of the various LUM programs are eager to raise awareness of LUM services, are well-informed on social and economic issues, and would like to help raise awareness in the local community on critical issues affecting low-income families.

Staff members are available to speak or set up an information table for churches, civic organization, agencies, community events, and educational groups. To make arrangements for a presentation or event, call or email LUM (765-423-2691 | lum@LUMserve.org).

Reflections on LUM from Former Director – Jud Dolphin


Jud Dolphin, LUM Executive Director Emeritus

For 50 years, LUM has grown to meet community needs. We’ve rallied support from the community, businesses, government and churches. Everyone has a few favorite LUM activities. We could fill pages with what volunteers have given and accomplished.  

And through these efforts, something wonderful has happened. LUM has helped to change our community self-understanding.

Even in our organizing purpose LUM proposed that we be “in the business of restoring human dignity.” That means loving neighbors, seeking justice, and empowering the least among us.

So whenever we think about LUM activities, there’s a deeper meaning:

  • When we console, feed and shelter the marginalized…
  • When we advocate for more justice, and humane social programs…
  • When we welcome immigrants, support families and educate children.

Our actions say that we belong to one another. Whether well-to-do, struggling or marginalized, we are family. No one is excluded. As Martin Luther King envisioned, every human being has a birthright to be part of the “Beloved Community.”  

So let LUM continue reaching out, doing justice, loving kindness, restoring human dignity and joining with others in the Beloved Community. It’s our legacy and commitment into the future.


Jud Dolphin was the LUM executive director from 1978 to 1990. Under his leadership, the annual budget grew from $58,620 to $278,790, the first Seed Newsletter was published, 13 more churches joined the board, staff increased from four to eight members, and 11 new programs emerged, including the social justice ministry, Jubilee Christmas, Emergency Shelter, and Community Thanksgiving Feast

Since leaving LUM, Jud joined the US Peace Corps and served in Ukraine and Macedonia. He lives in Washington, DC where he teaches English to new immigrants and watercolor painting classes, writes a blog, and volunteers for positive social change. Jud enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, and creating watercolor art. To read more about Jud Dolphin, click HERE.

LUM Staff Retreat – Pause, Learn & Interact

Retreat Topic – Implicit Bias in the Workplace

Recently, the Lafayette Urban Ministry staff members participated in a daylong, professional development retreat at the MatchBOX Coworking Studio, Lafayette. The LUM Staff Retreat is an annual opportunity to pause, learn, interact & be better. This year’s topic was, “Implicit Bias in the Workplace.

Dr. Jacqueline M. Gatson (Cooper Gatson & Associates and Purdue for Life Foundation) returned as the facilitator. She covered hidden bias, micro-aggression, stereotype threat, and anti-racism. Dr. Gatson encouraged conversations to bring awareness to implicit bias and racism in our work and created a safe space for everyone to share their experiences openly. It was powerful retreat. Each staff member was open-minded, eager to learn and excited to grow. Staff members also had an opportunity to learn more about each other — creating a stronger team. 

Special THANKS to Dr. Gatson, everyone at MatchBOX, and the Tippecanoe County Public Library for making this year’s LUM Staff Retreat the best retreat yet.

To view more PHOTOS from the retreat, click HERE.

LUM Outreach – Living Truth Christ Church


Promoting LUM Opportunities & Services


Outreach is an important part of the mission of Lafayette Urban Ministry. Members of the LUM professional staff actively seek opportunities to promote LUM services, recruit volunteers, and educate people on issues relating to poverty, hunger and homelessness. Directors of the various LUM programs are eager to raise awareness of LUM services, are well-informed on social and economic issues, and would like to help raise awareness in the local community on critical issues affecting low-income families.


Recently, Wes Tillett, LUM executive director, visited the Living Truth of Christ Church. He was given an opportunity to educate and update the church members on the programs at LUM as well as reconnect with current and former LUM board members and volunteers (pictured). It is a testament to the support LUM receives from the members and leadership of the Living Truth of Christ Church. {Pictured L to R are Minister Thometra M. Foster, Senior Pastor James J. Foster, Wes Tillett, and Carl Booker, LUM board member.}


Staff members are available to speak or set up an information table for churches, civic organization, agencies, community events, and educational groups. To make arrangements for a presentation or event, call or email LUM (765-423-2691 | lum@LUMserve.org).