Tag Archives: monica casanova

Meet Leanna – New LUM Staff Member

Leanna Giltmier, Finance Director

Leanna Giltmier is the new Finance Director of Lafayette Urban Ministry (reporting to the LUM executive director). She grew up in Decatur, Illinois and currently lives in West Lafayette with her husband, Brett. Lianna has two children who are in college. Megan is enrolled at Michigan State, and Nick at Purdue. Her stepson, Andrew, is a first-year resident at University of California – San Francisco in Fresno, CA.

Leanna earned a BS from the University of Illinois. She has served with West Lafayette Band Boosters, March-a-Thon as president & founder (2017-22), and MOPS International (2004-2015).

When reflecting on her excitement and pride in joining the LUM team, Leanna stated that, “LUM puts hands and feet to one of my favorite verses (Micah 6:8) in the Bible,

Love mercy, do justice, and walk humbly with your God.’

I love that LUM is known for bringing the faith community together to serve the vulnerable with dignity. I am grateful to be part of it alongside great people.”

Leanna is a lifelong learner. She enjoys working with passionate individuals who work as a team to make processes more efficient and make strategic and operational decisions with good data. Leanna shared that she is “excited to put that all this into practice with the great staff members at LUM.”

Leanna has volunteered with the LUM Immigration Clinic and the LUM Food Pantries. She worked in financial management for a large corporation earlier in her career. For the past several years, Leanna has focused on raising her family and volunteering in the community. Leanna stated that, “The chance to put these experiences together to serve our community through LUM is a gift that I do not take for granted.” For enjoyment, Leanna loves reading, exploring US national parks, and is an avid sports fan, especially college basketball and tennis.

LUM is fortunate to have someone with Leanna’s experience and passion join the LUM staff. Please join us in welcoming her.

Leanna is inspired by the Blessings of Hope by Jan Richardson,

So may we know the hope that is not just for someday but for this day — here, now, in this moment that opens to us:
hope not made of wishes but of substance,
hope made of sinew and muscle and bone,
hope that has breath and a beating heart,
hope that will not keep quiet and be polite,
hope that knows how to holler when it is called for,
hope that knows how to sing when there seems little cause,
hope that raises us from the dead
— not someday but this day, every day, again and again and again.

Blessings of Hope by Jan Richardson

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.

Compromiso con el patrimonio y la profesión

Conozca a nuestra nueva directora asistente
Mónica Casanova

por Andrea Axsom

La Clínica de Inmigración de LUM desea presentar a su nueva directora asistente, Monica Casanova. Los roles principales de Mónica incluyen la posible captación de clientes y ayudar a los clientes a navegar el proceso de inmigración.

Mónica es una inmigrante de primera generación que nació en México y emigró a los Estados Unidos cuando era bebé. Ella recuerda cómo esta experiencia “me formó como individuo y como directora asistente. Como primera generación, me sentí avergonzado de no haber nacido en los Estados Unidos y si me hubieras preguntado a los 10 años, de mala gana te diría o mentiría sobre dónde nací “.

Su familia quedó indocumentada hasta que el presidente Reagan aprobó la Ley de Amnistía en 1986, lo que permitió a su familia salir de las sombras y vivir sin miedo. Después de que se promulgó la ley, ella recuerda que “pudimos visitar a mis abuelos en México por primera vez. Recuerdo a mi madre corriendo por un maizal gritándole a su madre la primera vez que la visitamos. Fue la primera visita de mis padres en diez años “.

Las experiencias de la infancia de Mónica le permitieron convertirse en quien es hoy y han alimentado su pasión por trabajar en inmigración. Mónica es el primer miembro de su familia en graduarse de la escuela secundaria y asistir a la universidad, recibiendo un B.A. en Educación y una maestría en Biblioteconomía e Historia Pública.

Mónica es miembro fundador de Greater Lafayette Immigrant Allies y actual vicepresidenta de la junta. También es una candidata política por primera vez, que se postuló para el boleto demócrata para el asiento del Consejo General del Condado de Tippecanoe.

Commitment to Heritage and Profession

Meet the New LUM Immigration Clinic Assistant Director
Monica Casanova

by Andrea Axsom

The LUM Immigration Clinic would like to introduce its new Assistant Director, Monica Casanova. Monica’s primary roles include prospective client intake and helping clients navigate the immigration process. 

Monica is a first-generation immigrant who was born in Mexico and immigrated to the United States as an infant. She recalls how this experience “shaped me as an individual and as the Assistant Director. As a first generation, I felt ashamed that I was not born in the United States and if you would have asked me at 10 years old, I would grudgingly tell you or lie about where I was born.” 

Her family was undocumented until President Reagan passed the Amnesty Law in 1986, allowing her family to come out of the shadows and live without fear. After the law was enacted, she remembers that “we were able to visit my grandparents in Mexico for the first time. I remember my mom running down a cornfield shouting for her mom, the first time we visited. It was my parents’ first visit in ten years.” 

Monica’s childhood experiences allowed her to become who she is today and have fueled her passion for working in immigration. Monica is the first member of her family to graduate from high school and attend college, receiving a B.A. in Education and a master’s degree in Library Science and Public History.

Monica is a founding member of the Greater Lafayette Immigrant Allies and a current board Vice President. She is also a first-time political candidate, running on the Democratic ticket for Tippecanoe County’s Council-at-Large seat.

Meet Monica – New LUM Staff Member

Monica Casanova, Immigration Clinic Asst. Director

Monica Casanova is the new Assistant Director of the LUM Immigration Clinic (reporting to the Immigration Clinic director). 

She grew up and lives in Lafayette with Neal Starkey, her husband, and their two daughters, Ella and Violet. Monica graduated from Jefferson High School, earned a BA in Education from Purdue University and two Master’s degrees in Library Science & Public History from Indiana University/Purdue University – Indianapolis, and is the vice president of the Greater Lafayette Immigrant Allies.

As a longtime volunteer with the LUM Immigration Clinic, Monica is excited about her new role with Lafayette Urban Ministry. She shared that,

becoming the assistant director gives me an opportunity to increase my impact on the families served by the Immigration Clinic.

In her free time, Monica enjoys reading, watching movies & TV, listening to music — and most importantly spending time with her family and supporting her children in their activities. LUM is fortunate to have Monica join the LUM team.