Faith, Humility, Service, Leadership.
These are words that describe Lafayette Urban Ministry Board member, Debra Parent. Deb has been on the LUM Board since 2006 and is currently serving as the president. Deb is a parishioner of St. Mary’s Church in Lafayette, which is one of the 42 member churches of LUM.
Deb Parent, the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Jacob Scheeres, grew up in West Lafayette in a family intensely focused on faith and service. Her family members often traveled to impoverished nations to serve the less fortunate. This had a lasting impact on Deb and when she graduated from Purdue University she felt a calling to do mission work around the world. Deb married her childhood friend, Tom, started a family, and those travel plans were put on hold. Her need to serve and her faith did not diminish though.
Today, Deb feels that she was called to serve in her own backyard instead, and this is what was truly meant to be. Deb also states that her true vocation is first and foremost her family especially her four children: Andre, Marie, Monique and Luc.
Like many parents, Deb focused much of her service on her children’s school community which also happened to be affiliated with her church. Once her children were older, Deb began searching for new ways to engage in the community. It was serendipity when her pastor asked Deb to serve as St. Mary’s liaison to the LUM Board.
Deb quickly felt a deep connection with the mission of LUM. After a bit of time on the LUM Board, Deb also began serving as a case manager with the Emergency Shelter for the Homeless. As a case manager, Deb meets with clients of the LUM shelter once a week to help them deal with their challenges and develop the skills to get on track for a better life.
When asked to share her journey to the position of leadership with LUM, Deb is quick to give credit to the entire team and diminish her involvement. But Deb’s experiences with her family, with St. Mary’s, and as a case manager have made her an effective leader on the LUM Board.
As the president of the LUM Board, Deb has focused on empowering the entire team of Board members, has supported new initiatives defining LUM’s focus on serving immigrants, pioneered new marketing and fundraising initiatives using social media and initiated LUM Board representatives attending the Community Foundation of Greater Lafayette board education series workshops.
Deb shares that her work with LUM has been a blessing and has helped her grow spiritually. Her daily prayer is to be used effectively by God in anything she does for LUM or community, so He will say “well done, my good and faithful servant.” The community has truly been blessed by Deb Parent’s commitment to service especially through her leadership with LUM.
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