Tag Archives: LUM staff

Congrats to Mady Kirts Lester, LUM Teacher


IU 2021 Graduate, Bachelor of Social Work

Mady Lester, right, with Carleigh Bennett, LUM teacher

The LUM staff members gathered last week to celebrate Mady Lester.

Mady just graduated from the Indiana University School of Social Work earning a bachelor of social work. Since Mady started at LUM in 2018 as an intern, she has earned an associates degree, gotten married, and earned a BSW. This fall, Mady will begin work on her Master of Social Work, also from IU.

LUM is thrilled to announce that Mady will continue to be a LUM teacher this summer with the 5th Quarter Summer Learning Program. LUM is fortunate to have someone with Mady’s experience, education and passion working with the students in the LUM Youth Programs. Please join us in congratulating her on her achievements and thanking her for her service to the children in our community through her work with LUM.


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


Make a Donation Button
Tax Assistance Program

Meet Jess – New LUM Thanksgiving Director


Jess Avila – LUM Community Thanksgiving Feast

Jess Avila is the new director for the LUM Community Thanksgiving Feast. She is responsible for all aspects of the annual celebration where more than 800 free meals will be distributed on Thanksgiving (11/26) at Central Presbyterian Church, Lafayette.

Jess is originally from Liberty, New York, and moved to West Lafayette with her family. She graduated from Harrison High School, served in the US Army Reserves for four years, earned an associates degree from Ivy Tech Community College in Child Development, and a BA in Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies and Pre-Law from Purdue University. She still lives in West Lafayette and is engaged to be married to Phil in 2021. They have 15 nieces and nephews and three cats (Tucker, Bentley & Panther). Jess is a personal trainer, youth exercise specialist & nutrition coach with a local fitness center; and head girls basketball and track & field coach at Klondike Middle School. With LUM, Jess & Phil have volunteered for more than six years including the Community Thanksgiving Feast (pictured).

Jess shares that,

I am most happy when I am helping others 
— both people and animals.” 

She finds inspiration in “young people who give us this bright light and hope for a better future.” She has great empathy for families struggling with poverty and food insecurity. Jess shared that,

My mom did her best but needed help and sometimes we were left feeling worthless, hopeless, sad, scared and confused because we needed that help.

Jess admires LUM, sharing that,

I see all of the LUM staff members working to serve while ‘restoring dignity,’ as stated in the mission statement.

Jess enjoys nature (kayaking, hiking, running, biking, and feeding wild animals), cooking, reading, watching movies, comedy, activism and social justice, being a Purdue & New York Jets fan, watching and playing sports, hanging out at home with Phil, and ranch dressing.

LUM is fortunate to have Jess Avila join the LUM staff.


Make a Donation Button

 

Thanksgiving Celebration

 


Meet Josh Prokopy – New Role with LUM in 2020

This year, Josh J. Prokopy will be expanding his role with LUM to include outreach, fundraising and tax assistance. Josh will now be the director of two major fundraising events (Hunger Hike & Turkey Trot 5K Run), the Tax Assistance Program and the Dream Team project.

Josh grew up in Conway, Massachusetts and now lives in West Lafayette with his wife, Linda, and their three teenage children, Annabel, Margaret & David. Anabel & Margaret are both in 10th grade, and David is in 7th grade, all at West Lafayette Junior/Senior High School. They are members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tippecanoe County.

Josh earned a bachelor’s in independent concentration from University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and both a Master’s in Sociology and a Master’s in Social Work from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In addition to being active in the community with housing related organizations and with his church, he is an avid home-brewer of beer and has a 2nd degree black belt in Taekwondo. Josh enjoys being out in nature, playing strategy games, and spending time with friends and family engaged in meaningful conversation, “preferably over a pint of excellent home-brewed beer.”

LUM is fortunate to have someone with Josh’s talent and experience as a member of the team.

Income Tax Preparation Season is HERE


Josh Prokopy – LUM Tax Assistance Director

Josh J. Prokopy is the new program director for the LUM VITA tax assistance program. With LUM, Josh has served the past two years as the Turkey Trot 5K Run director.

Josh grew up in Conway, Massachusetts and now lives in West Lafayette with his wife, Linda, and their three children, Annabel, Margaret & David. Annabel & Margaret are both 14 years old and in 9th grade at West Lafayette Junior/Senior High School, and David (11) is in 6th grade at West Lafayette Intermediate School. They are members of Unitarian Universalist Church of Tippecanoe County. Josh earned a bachelor’s in independent concentration from University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a Master’s in Sociology and Master’s in Social Work both from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Josh is active in his church.

Josh shares,“My priorities are to raise my family as best I can, to let loose children who care about the world and our future, to better understand the world around me, and to try and make a difference, at least in a small way, within my community.” He finds inspiration in his father, “who was extremely independent minded and hard working, and never cared a hoot for what anyone else thought of him. He lived his own life in his own way, but did so much to enrich the world around him.” Josh is excited about his role with LUM, and stated, “If we can do anything at all to give people a renewed sense of hope, than we’ve made a huge impact in their lives.”

Josh is an avid home-brewer of beer and has a 2nd degree black belt in Taekwondo. He enjoys being out in nature, and spending time with friends and family engaged in meaningful conversation, “preferably over a glass of excellent home-brewed beer.”

LUM is fortunate to have Josh Prokopy rejoin the LUM staff in this new role.

New LUM Klinker-Alting Family Advocacy Intern


Meet Angela Weaver – New LUM Intern

Angela grew up in Wheatfield, Indiana and graduated from Kankakee Valley High School. She and her husband, Kyle Brown, currently live in West Lafayette with their beagle, Bailey. Angela & Kyle grew up together and are both students at Purdue.

She will complete her degree in three years this May with a bachelor’s in Law & Society. After she graduates, Angela plans on working in advocacy within Indiana government.

At LUM, Angela is an intern with the Campaign for Hoosier Families.


Make a Donation Button
Social Justice Ministry


Meet Mady – LUM Intern


Mady Kirts — LUM Intern

Meet Mady Kirts – New LUM Intern.

Mady grew up and still lives in Lafayette. She graduated from Jefferson High School and is currently enrolled in the Human Services program at Ivy Tech Community College. After she graduates, Mady plans on working in social work and case management at a nonprofit.

At LUM, Mady is an intern with the LUM After School Program.


Make a Donation Button
After School Program


Meet Rob – LUM Interns


 

Robert Krasa — LUM Intern

Rob is from Toledo, Ohio and now lives in Lafayette with his wife, Jessie, who also grew up in Toledo. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Toledo and and is currently enrolled in the Master of Social Work program at the Indiana University School of Social Work (Indianapolis). Before pursuing his Master of Social Work, Rob worked for nine years in community mental health counseling and group program development. Upon graduation in 2019, Rob will pursue a career in policy and leadership.

At LUM, Rob is an intern with the LUM Immigration Clinic and the Dream Team Fund.

 

Meet Evie – LUM Intern


Evie Griffin — LUM Intern

Originally from Estonia, Evie grew up in Marion County and now lives in Cutler, Indiana with her husband of seven years, Timothy, and their 15-month old son. She is a naturalized US citizen. After graduating from high school, Evie enlisted in the US Marine Corp, where she met her husband, and served for five years in various locations including southeast Asia. She earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from IUPUI and is currently enrolled in the Master of Social Work program at the Indiana University School of Social Work (Indianapolis). Upon graduation in 2019, Evie will pursue a career in policy and administration.

At LUM, Evie is working as an intern with the LUM After School Program.

Meet Kathy – LUM Thanksgiving Director



Kathy F. Parker is the new program director for the LUM Community Thanksgiving Celebration. She is responsible for all aspects of the annual LUM Community Thanksgiving Celebration where over 800 free meals will be served on Thanksgiving at Central Presbyterian Church, Lafayette. The event also includes live entertainment, festive decorations and community fellowship.

Kathy grew up in Storrs, Connecticut (home of the University of Connecticut) and now lives in West Lafayette with her husband of 25 years, Brad, and their three children, Allie, Gabe & Caroline. Allie is a senior at Butler University, Gabe is a first-year student at Purdue University and Caroline is a sophomore at West Lafayette High School. They are members of Central Presbyterian Church and have two dogs, Duke and Jax, who they rescued in 2014. Kathy earned a BA in History from Roanoke College (Salem, VA) and an elementary teaching certificate from the University of Rhode Island. With LUM, Kathy serves on the Hunger Hike Fundraising Committee and engaged Central Presbyterian in this year’s fundraising event.

Kathy shares that “it is my mission to consciously live, aware of the needs of others, and the injustice that surrounds us, and purposefully do what little I can to spread light to those around me.” She finds inspiration in “women who are unafraid to boldly speak up for justice.” Kathy is excited about her new role with LUM, and stated that “I love that the mission of LUM is not reserved only for those who call themselves ‘Christian.’ God is much bigger than any one faith, and He finds a way to use all of us. The people who work for LUM are faithful servants of a God who uses everyone to His purpose. It is an honor to be among them.”

Kathy enjoys being active in the community and with her church as well as yoga, coffee with friends and card games with her family. 

LUM is fortunate to have Kathy Parker join the LUM staff.


If you with to donate food for or volunteer at the LUM Community Thanksgiving Celebration, click HERE.


Make a Donation Button
Thanksgiving Celebration