Category Archives: LUM Staff

Nina’s Reflections On COVID-19 from the Frontlines

Food Pantries

“During the COVID19, the volunteers at the Protein Food Pantry set a goal of continuing to serve our clients with respect for the safety of all and maintaining personal interactions. They have worked hard to follow all of the precautions & protocol. I am proud to say that we have remained open each week and work to help relieve and reduce the stress our clients are experiencing by allowing them to have choices in the food selections when possible. The need is great, and our clients appreciate us staying open.”

Nina Morgan, Director, LUM Protein Food Pantry

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Food Pantry – LUM Protein Food Pantry

Josh’s Reflections On COVID-19 from the Frontlines

“After a great deal of planning to develop a safe and effective model, we enabled low income taxpayers to get their returns done for free. Many lack the technology or confidence to do their own taxes, and without the LUM tax program they might have been paying hundreds of dollars for this service. It’s taken extra work, but our 12 volunteers have been up to the challenge, and are working very hard under difficult conditions. It is clear that despite COVID-19 our program has been a success, on track to surpass 200 returns this season.”

Josh Prokopy, Director, LUM Tax Assistance Program

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Tax Assistance Program

Linda’s Reflections On COVID-19 from the Frontlines

Good Samaritan Program

“Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote, ‘Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.’ The ability to help others through the Good Samaritan Program has felt hopeful during a year filled with many challenges far beyond any that I have experienced in my lifetime. So many of our clients have been overwhelmed, feeling they will never catch up with their rent and bills. Our ability to help financially, along with offering a listening ear, referrals and information on where else to turn, has helped to provide a stone of hope.

Linda Hicks, Director, LUM Good Samarian Programs

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Good Samaritan Fund

Financial Assistance – First Quarter 2021

Financial Assistance – Since January 2021

As LUM closes out the first quarter of 2021, it is worthy to note that although families are receiving their tax refunds and stimulus checks, the crisis continues.

Families are still needing financial support. Since January 1, 2021, here are the stats:

  • 382 local families have been helped
  • 138 of these families (36%) were asking for assistance for the first time
  • $43,032.57 has been distributed so far

LUM hopes you agree that investing in the LUM Good Samaritan Program is a wonderful way to support your community and those in need of emergency assistance. If you are able, please consider a donation. One hundred percent of what you give will be passed along to struggling households, perhaps one in your own neighborhood.

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Good Samaritan Fund

Meet Christian – New Immigration Clinic Director

Christian Gallo, JD – LUM Immigration Clinic Director

Christian Gallo is the new director of the LUM Immigration Clinic. He grew up in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina and now lives in Lafayette with his three children. Christian earned his baccalaureate degree from Colegio Champagnat, Master in Laws degree from Indiana University, and JD from Universidad Católica Argentina (Buenos Aires). He has been a member of the Ciudad de Buenos Aires Bar since 1995 and Indiana Commission on Hispanic and Latino Affairs for more than 10 years. Christian is fluent in four languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian) as well as speaking basic French.

Christian was drawn to LUM because he enjoys helping and advocating for others. He shared that, “Helping people in need is true love to others and God; thus, it becomes goodness for them. We are instruments of God in his salvation plan.” This Bible passage from the Book of 2 Chronicles also guides him in his work, “But as for you, be strong and do not slack off, for there shall be a reward for what you do.

Christian considers himself an advocate for those in need and is inspired by two quotes. The first is a quote by Socrates, published by Plato, “It is better to suffer an injustice than to commit one.” And the second is from a soliloquy by Cyrano de Bergerac written by Edmond Rostand, “But one cannot fight hoping only for success! No! No: it’s still more sweet if it’s all in vain!” Both remind him that we must act against injustice, strive to be just to others, and know that the work of social justice is never done.

Christian enjoys being with his family and coaching soccer and rugby. In 2007, he was the coach of the Purdue Women’s Rugby team. He is passionate about his work and looks forward to joining the LUM team. He is genuinely impressed with the work being done at LUM, especially with the LUM Immigration Clinic, and plans on building on that success. Please join us in welcoming Christian Gallo to LUM as the new LUM Immigration Clinic director.

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Immigration Clinic

Career Opportunity at LUM — OFFICE MANAGER Position Open

Immediate Opening | Full-Time | Benefits

LUM has an opening for Office Manager overseeing the day-to-day operation of the LUM Office as well as the coordination and appreciation of volunteers. 

Office management experience, volunteer recruitment & training experience, strong communication skills, proficiency with computer software and office equipment, and task-orientation are a must. Qualified candidate should have a bachelor’s degree as well as an engaging personality and positive outlook.

Please SHARE with qualified candidate. If interested, please Email, Mail or Drop-off a resume with cover letter to Wes Tillett, LUM Executive Director ( | 420 N 4th Street, Lafayette, IN 47901).

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

LUM Annual Staff Retreat at MatchBOX

Topic: Building an Antiracist Workplace at LUM

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.

The topic was, “Building an Antiracist Workplace.” The interactive workshop was led by Dr. Jacqueline M. Gatson (Cooper Gatson & Associates and Purdue Engineering), and covered cultural identity, hidden bias, micro-aggression, stereotype threat, bodily racist, and behavioral racism. Dr. Gatson encouraged conversations to bring awareness to 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.

Using the MatchBOX studio with enhanced technology and social distancing as well as allowing staff to attend remotely, the retreat was safe and successful. 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 ever. To view more PHOTOS from the retreat, click HERE.

Staff Retreat Leader – Dr. JM Gatson

Dr. Jacqueline M. Gatson – Cooper Gatson & Associates

Dr. Jacqueline M. Gatson is the Associate Director of the Minority Engineering Program (MEP). She is charged with developing strategy for the recruitment, retention and graduation of underrepresented undergraduate and graduate students. Dr. Gatson is also responsible for cultivating and enhancing Purdue’s leadership in diversity among national organizations and industry partners focused on student success in STEM. Dr. Gatson has over a decade of experience in higher education, specializing in university and industry engagement, STEM programs and strategic partnerships. Her doctoral research, “Industry-university engagement in multicultural engineering programs: an exploratory study,” contributes to the literature on MEPs and provides an in-depth view of the practices, benefits, and challenges of MEP and Industry Partnerships.

Since joining the Purdue MEP staff in 2019 as the Graduate and Organizational
Diversity Strategist, and subsequently as Interim Associate Director, she has been an integral leader in core operational areas including: student engagement and outreach, industry engagement, program management, curriculum design and instruction. In response to COVID-19, Dr. Gatson created the framework for and lead the execution of MEP’s 2020 Virtual Engineering Summer Programs (ABC, MITE, SEW and PREFACE), a first in the program’s history.

Dr. Gatson is known for her leadership and creativity in conceptualizing and managing nationwide signature programming and initiatives. Prior to joining Purdue, she served in numerous roles at Kansas State University including: Assistant Director for Career and Employment Services – College of Engineering and STEM Careers; First Generation Scholars Program Coordinator – College of Engineering; and Special Coordinator for Strategic Partnerships – College of Education, Educational Leadership Department. Dr. Gatson is also the Owner and Principal Consultant for Cooper Gatson and Associates, LLC.

Dr. Gatson is recognized as a STEM diversity and inclusion thought leader and advocate. Throughout her career, she has served on several national boards, committees and research projects including: Panelist (2019) – American Council of Engineering Companies – Indiana, Region D Chair (2010 – 2013) and National Conference Co-Chair (2012 and 2013) – National Association of Multicultural Engineering Program Advocates (NAMEPA), Facilitator (2012) – Oxford Round Table Symposium, Oxford University, England. In 2010, Dr. Gatson was selected for the
James R. Coffman Leadership Institute at Kansas State University and the National Management Leadership Institute by the National Association of Colleges and Employers at Rutgers University. In addition, she has served as a Targeted Research Assistant for the Foundation for California Community Colleges in partnership with the National Science Foundation. In 2020, she was named New Employee of the Year by Purdue University’s College of Engineering.

Dr. Gatson is the Founder and Principal Consultant for Cooper Gatson & Associates, LLC. CGA is a consultant firm that specializes in university, industry and community engagement as well as diversity and cross-cultural training and curriculum. She received her B.A. from Grambling State University and holds both a M.S. from Kansas State University and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership.

Learn More about the LUM Team

Business | Maintenance | Office Management

Lafayette Urban Ministry is proud to introduce the staff members, who work behind the scenes — the business office, maintenance & office management team. Much of the success of LUM may be attributed to these unsung heroes. As you will see in their bios, these staff members have the experience to make the LUM mission a reality. LUM is fortunate to have this talented, dedicated, passionate & hard working staff.

Business Office Team

Eileen Weiss is the Business Manager

She returned to LUM in June 2018. Eileen grew up and currently lives in Lafayette and graduated from Central Catholic High School. Eileen’s education includes:

  • Ivy Tech Community College, Business Law
  • Chrysler Corporation, Automotive Accounting

With LUM, Eileen was the LUM Camp assistant, business manager for four years, project manager for 21 months, Jubilee Christmas program director, Tax Assistance Program director, Community Thanksgiving Celebration program director, Hunger Hike program director, and Good Samaritan Fund Follies entertainment director.

Gayle Koning is the Assistant Business Manager

She started with LUM in 2016. Gayle grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; graduated from Lawrenceville Catholic High School; and currently lives in Lafayette. Gayle’s education includes:

  • American Institute of Banking, Diploma
  • Radisson Hotels International, Revenue Manager certification & General Manager certification
  • The Ohio State University, Pool Operator certification

With LUM, she was a special needs counselor at LUM Camp and has assisted with LUM FolliesHunger HikePort of HopeTurkey Trot 5K Run and Jubilee Christmas.

Nancy Emig is the Clerk in the Business Office working with the Good Samaritan Program

She started with LUM in 2020. Nancy grew up in Valparaiso, graduated from Valparaiso High School, and currently lives in West Lafayette. Her education includes:

  • Purdue University, BS, Supervision

With LUM, Nancy has volunteered as an afternoon receptionist and with the Good Samaritan ProgramJubilee Christmas, and LUM Follies. Nancy’s dog Bayley also is a regular “reading buddy” for the After School Program and 5th Quarter Summer Learning Program.

Office Management Team

Mónica Casanova is the Office Manager and Assistant Program Director for Immigration Clinic

She started with LUM in January 2020. Mónica grew up and lives in Lafayette and graduated from Jefferson High School. Mónica’s education includes:

  • Purdue University, BA, Education
  • IUPUI, MLS, Library Science & MA, Public History

Mónica volunteered with the LUM Immigration Clinic prior to serving as the assistant director.

Connie Decker is the Receptionist

She started with LUM in 2017. Connie grew up and lives in Lafayette and graduated from Jefferson High School.

Connie took several classes at Ivy Tech Community College to gain skills in customer service, clerical & receptionist duties and professional writing. With LUM, Connie was a volunteer receptionist from 2009 through 2017. She also was the Summer Receptionist in 2016 and has assisted with LUM Camp.

Maintenance Team

Nate Gick is the Maintenance Director

He started with LUM in November 2016. Nate grew up in Lafayette, graduated from Benton Central High School, and currently lives in Oxford.

Nate attended Ball State University and completed the HVAC Maintenance Technology Program at the AC/C Tech – Indianapolis.

Kieron Denson is the Custodian

He started with LUM in June 2020. Kieron grew up and lives in Oxford and graduated from Benton Central High School.

With LUM, Kieron has served as a LUM Camp counselor and volunteered for more than four years with various programs and with the Maintenance director.

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