Category Archives: Mission Moment

Client Corner – LUM Good Samaritan Program – Meet Gregory Gillard

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Meet Gregory Gillard from Lafayette. He is a client of LUM Case Management, a former guest of the LUM Emergency Shelter and a recipient of the LUM Good Samaritan Fund.

Gregory was unemployed and needed to find a job close to his aunt who has recently taken ill. He moved to Lafayette to look for work and needed to stay as a guest in the LUM Emergency Shelter—and he took full advantage of LUM Case Management.

Within a matter of a few weeks, he landed a job at downtown restaurant and signed a lease. During this transition into his new home and his new job, Gregory needed some emergency financial assistance from the LUM Good Samaritan Fund.

He simply needed “non-skid” shoes for work, some assistance with his security deposit and one or two pieces of modest furniture like a dresser.

Gregory appreciates LUM for giving him the support he needed to get a job and find a home — which gives him the stability and security to allow him to visit his family often, especially his aunt — just in time for the holidays.

If you wish to donate to the LUM Good Samaritan Fund, LUM Emergency Shelter and LUM Case Management program, click HERE.

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Filed under Case Management, Giving, Homeless Shelter, Lafayette Urban Ministry, LUM, Mission Moment

LUM’s Unexpected Blessings — YOU!

 December 2014

Dear Friend,

Joseph "Joe" Micon

Joseph “Joe” Micon

Amid all the hustle and bustle of the season, I try to look for those unexpected blessings that make Christmas so special….

  • The laughter of a child as he opens a brightly wrapped box.
  • The joyful tear of a mother as she welcomes her freshman student home from college.
  • The wonder of a perfectly-timed Christmas morning snowfall.
  • And I remember that Christmas is about the unexpected blessing of our Savior.

Who among us can ever get used to the unexpected way that he came to dwell among us, or the unexpected cast of characters who came to visit him in the stable? Who would have expected that he would live his life concerned only about loving and serving others?

As I look back over our past year together at the Lafayette Urban Ministry, I remember so many instances that were unexpected blessings for me…

  • I remember the young boy in the LUM After School Program who beamed with pride as he showed me the A+ on his spelling test. Our dedicated volunteers had been helping him memorize his list of words all week.
  • I remember the opening of the new LUM Legal Immigration Clinic.  In the days that followed, clinic staff began finding real solutions for neighbors desperate to keep their families together.
  • I remember the smile on the worn face of the homeless man who finally left the LUM emergency shelter after a two week stay. A LUM case manager had helped him make a new start with a new job and a new home of his own.
  • I remember the long summer days of LUM Camp where our campers played, sang, learned and made so many new friends – all while growing in confidence and self-esteem.

Last year, the Lafayette Urban Ministry served 6,027 low-income households through one or another of our 16 programs. For each of those households, the Lafayette Urban Ministry, and you, were an unexpected blessing.

I hope that you will continue to be such a blessing by making a generous Christmas Season gift to the Lafayette Urban Ministry.

Your gift of $50, $100, $250, $500, or $1,000 will be put to use right here in our own community providing at-risk children and their struggling families with brighter futures and more hopeful tomorrows.

The profound meaning of Christmas is that our Savior dwells within every heart that is loving, within each spirit that is tender – and within any gift that is shared generously with another. On behalf of the children and families at LUM who are touched by your generosity, please accept my thanks – and my sincere wish for a joyous Christmas filled with unexpected blessings!

Joe Micon Signature
Joe Micon
Executive Director
Lafayette Urban Ministry

P.S. — You may contribute to Lafayette Urban Ministry online at

Thank you.



Even now we simply do not expect to find a deity in a stable.

Somehow the setting is all wrong:

the swaddling clothes too plain,

the manger too common for the likes of a Savior,

the straw too inelegant, the animals reeking and noisy,

the whole scene too ordinary for our taste.

And the cast of characters is no better.

With the possible exception of the kings, who among them is fit for this night?

The shepherds? Certainly too crude.

The carpenter too rough. The girl too young.

And the baby!

Whoever expected a baby?

Whoever expected the advent of God in a helpless child?

Had the Messiah arrived in the blazing light of the glory

of a legion of angels wielding swords,

the whole world could have been conquered for Christ right then and there

and we in the church  -to say nothing of the world!-

would not have so much trouble today.

Even now we simply do not expect to face the world armed only with love.

by Ann Weems

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Filed under Giving, Lafayette Urban Ministry, LUM, Mission Moment, Uncategorized, Volunteer

Client Corner – LUM Tax Assistance Program – Meet Lewis Perrick

ClientMeet Lewis Perrick from Lafayette. Lewis is a client of the LUM Tax Assistance Program.

Like many, Lewis came to LUM for assistance with submitting his IRS income tax forms but soon discovered it was going to be more complicated. He worked with our trained income tax volunteers to not only submitted last year’s taxes but also previous year’s as well.

The final paperwork was submitted last week, and Lewis is thankful for the professional help he received from LUM to put this all behind him.

If you wish to volunteer with or donate to the LUM Income Tax Assistance program, click HERE.

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Filed under Giving, Lafayette Urban Ministry, LUM, Mission Moment, St. John's/LUM Food Pantry

Client Corner – St. John’s/LUM Food Pantry – Meet William Darnell

Meet William Darnell, Sr. from Lafayette — he is a widower with four living, adult children. William is a client of the St. John’s/LUM Food Pantry.

WDarnellWilliam has a disability which prevents him from working — and was recently diagnosed with stage 3 cancer. When his wife and oldest son, William, Jr., passed away, he was forced to moved into a house with three roommates. After paying his monthly rent and utility bills, William has little left for food.

William appreciates the St. John’s/LUM Food Pantry, which allows him to get additional food items when he needs them.

To make a donation to the St. John’s/LUM Food Pantry, click HERE.

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Filed under Giving, Lafayette Urban Ministry, LUM, Mission Moment, St. John's/LUM Food Pantry

Free Haircut – Reflections from a LUM Volunteer

Free Haircut Day at LUM

Today, as I sit at the front desk, I can see and hear some small miracles going on in the hallway.

A woman has come to give free haircuts. We have had eight 2013-02-21 LUM haircuts 008 (2)men so far, who have come in looking the very best they can in their circumstances, and leave with a brand new look.

They touch their hair and lift up their heads. When I tell them how good they look, they smile broadly. They have already ducked into the restroom to take a look, and they know they look good.

However, this is less a ministry of haircutting and hygiene, and much more a ministry of touch, of kindness, of normalcy, of conversation, of humanity. I hear the voices down in that hall. They are calm and stress-free.

Someone is touching those men, standing close to them as people who work on hair do. I wonder when that has happened last for them. There is a little bit of laughter now then; the seriousness of their day relieved for 20 minutes. They are doing what most of us do; this is one of those every-day-life sorts of things that we say is necessary and makes us feel good. Twenty minutes of normalcy.

The woman speaks with interest in their lives, and she always ends by saying she will pray for them. That is what is going on down the hall. I am so blessed to be here to see it.

Donna Enersen
volunteer receptionist
September 11, 2014


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Filed under Case Management, Giving, Homeless Shelter, Lafayette Urban Ministry, LUM, Mission Moment, Volunteer

Mission Moment — Meet the Poore Family

March 2014

Dear Friend,

The Lafayette Urban Ministry has been a special friend to Lisa Poore.  

moore family

The Poore Family

After the accidental death of her husband…
During the difficult process of grief and recovery…
Through all the challenges of being a new single parent and working mom…

LUM has extended to Lisa the heartfelt friendship and support she has needed to start over.

Each of her three children, Shane, Hayley and Madison, have attended LUM’s Enhanced After School Program. While Lisa is finishing up her workday as an aide at a local school learning center, her children are here at LUM completing their homework, participating in educational enrichment activities and enjoying the company of caring adults.

During the summer months, Lisa’s children participate in LUM’s 5th Quarter Learning Retention Program where fun-learning in math, science, social studies, and reading helps them to be better prepared to return to school in August.

Each of Lisa’s children have also attended LUM Camp. She remembers thinking there would be no place other than LUM she would entrust to Shane’s, Hayley’s and Madison’s first-ever trips away from home. The children still sing all the LUM Camp songs!

On LUM’s Jubilee Christmas day, Lisa “shopped” for the toys that were on her children’s wish lists. Christmas without their dad will always be difficult. But Lisa was grateful to watch her children’s spirits lift as they opened their presents.

Recently, Lisa came to LUM to have her income tax return prepared free of charge. The state and federal tax credits she earns are crucial to helping Lisa pay her family’s basic costs of living.

So do you see what I mean?

LUM has indeed been a very important friend to Lisa and her children. And like any friend we want to be here whenever

Lisa Poore & Joe Micon, LUM executive director

Lisa Poore & Joe Micon, LUM executive director

we are needed. That’s why I hope you will consider making a generous financial gift to support our work.

The Lafayette Urban Ministry is both first recourse and last resort for our neighbors in need. During 2013, the Lafayette Urban Ministry served 6,027 different families. Our doors are always open and our staff and volunteers are always here to serve – every day of the year, literally around the clock.

By making a generous contribution of $50, $100, $250, $500, or $1,000 you can help brighten the future for the many children and families LUM serves.

Your gift will be used to support all of LUM’s important programs…

  • the Homeless Shelter and Case Management Program
  • the Good Samaritan Emergency Assistance Program
  • the Community Thanksgiving Meal, and St. John’s/LUM Food Pantry
  • the Asset Building Classes and ID clinic
  • the many Youth Service Programs and Free Income Tax Return Service

Your past support has been critically important to those we serve here at the Lafayette Urban Ministry. I hope you will continue – and perhaps increase – your giving for 2014.

Through all of her challenges, Lisa Poore has always impressed me as a devoted and hard working mom. Right now, she is taking an online course in order to receive a higher job certification. In the future, she dreams of purchasing a new home.

Lisa gives thanks for the friendship and generosity shown her by the Lafayette Urban Ministry. It has helped her and her children to heal and start over again.

But in-so-far as LUM would not be here without your generous support, Lisa is really giving thanks for you.

Please, won’t you make a generous gift to the Lafayette Urban Ministry? Please give online at

Joe Micon Signature
Joe Micon
Executive Director
Lafayette Urban Ministry

P.S. — Help us to build a community where hardworking moms like Lisa Poore, and terrific children like Shane, Hayley and Madison can live, learn and grow to their fullest potential. Please, can we hear from you today?

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Filed under 5th Quarter, After School Program, Giving, Income Tax Assistance, Jubilee Christmas, Lafayette Urban Ministry, LUM, LUM Camp, Mission Moment

Mission Moment – Meet the Minor Family

LUM Enhanced After School Program Works to Narrow the Academic Achievement Gap

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Kelly Minor is a single mom from Lafayette, Indiana who works fulltime for Franciscan Alliance as a patient access representative at St. Elizabeth East Hospital. Kelly is also a dance instructor (ballet, tap, jazz, acrobatics, modern, and Hip-Hop) in her hometown of Flora, Indiana. Her two children, Keely (age 7) and Duryá (age 9), are enrolled in the LUM After School Program and go to Edgelea Elementary School in Lafayette. Keely is in 2nd grade and is active in dance and sports; and Duryá is in 3rd grade and is involved in Cub Scouts, sports and dance.

A couple of years ago when Kelly’s two children were both old enough to go to elementary school, she faced the common dilemma of finding someone to watch her children after school until she finished her work day. Information about the LUM After School Program was distributed at her kids’ school, and it seemed to be a perfect solution. Kelly did some research and was a pleased to discover that the LUM After School Program is a complete educational enrichment program; and she received only positive reviews from her friends, current ASP families and local educators.

Kelly Minor shared that since her children started
the LUM After School Program,
Keely and Duryá’s grades have improved,
They’re more engaged in school,
They enjoy writing and read more.

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Kelly is committed to providing the best opportunities for her children to succeed. The LUM ASP allows her to work fulltime and spend evenings and weekends getting involved in her children’s education and activities both inside and outside of school. Kelly is particularly impressed with the ASP enrichment programs and field trips. She knows that each day, Keely and Duryá will get their homework completed, learn something new, get a nutritious snack and have fun. By the way, Keely and Duryá love the LUM After School Program too.

Keely and Duryá’s success in the LUM After School Program is just one example of the tremendous positive impact the program is having on our community. Just as important — all of this gives Kelly Minor great comfort.

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The LUM Enhanced After School Program works to narrow the academic achievement gap by providing safe, fun and enriching childcare for Lafayette children in kindergarten to 6th grade. This year ASP serves 48 children for three hours each school day, giving their primary care giver a chance to finish their workday. Children are transported from their schools on LUM buses to the LUM Ray Ewry Youth Center.

Once there they get a nutritious snack and begin working on homework. Once they finish their homework they participate in a variety of educational and recreational activities including music, reading, religious, crafts education, playing games, gardening, and playing on the on-site playground. In addition, the students go on numerous field trips.

ASP is staffed by a professionally trained educator, an assistant, and many talented volunteers including several trained bus drivers. If you are interested in volunteering or need more information, call or email Cindy Haley at (765) 423-2691 or

The LUM After School Program needs the following school supplies ASAP:

  • Monetary Donation, click HERE
  • Prizes for the Reward Box — small toys and trinkets
  • Notebook paper; Dry Erase Markers; Pencils; Glue Sticks
  • Facial Tissues; Clorox Disinfecting Wipes
  • Sports Equipment; Sidewalk Chalk
  • Snacks, Fresh Fruit; Juice

The complete ASP Wish List is posted online, click HERETo view the ASP Wish List, check out the LUM Pinterest board—Click HERE

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You may also sponsor an educational, cultural and recreational enrichment trips for the children to various locations like Imagination Station, a local pool, or a holiday party (Halloween, Christmas, etc.). Also, there is a need for Bus drivers.

For more information, call or email Cindy Haley at 765.423.2691 or

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Filed under 5th Quarter, After School Program, Lafayette Urban Ministry, LUM, Mission Moment

Mission Moment — Rex Fuller’s Journey to Recognition

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Just the mention of Rex Fuller’s name around any of the LUM staff elicits a smile. Currently Rex Fuller is the “go to” volunteer at the St. John’s/LUM Food Pantry because he is reliable, flexible, and hardworking. Rex has a genuine desire to serve his community through the food pantry. It is this record of service to the community that was recently recognized with a prestigious award presented to him by both Mayor Roswarski and Mayor Dennis at an appreciation luncheon. Rex Fuller’s journey to a volunteer has not been easy though.

Born in Jasper County and raised in Newton County on the border of Goodland and Kentland, Rex was married and divorced twice and suffered a serious injury while working on a farm in Illinois in the mid-1970’s. In addition to the physical trauma from the accident Rex suffers from seizures since 1985. Since then, his disability has made it difficult to pursue a career of any kind. From 1986 through 2003, Rex applied for disability benefits from Social Security three times, was denied three times, appealed three times, and was denied his appeal three times. In 2003, he hired another attorney, applied and was granted disability. Unfortunately during this time, Rex was not able to pay his rent and needed to take advantage of the LUM emergency shelter.

Rex was a guest of the LUM emergency shelter for eight months. During that time, Rex eagerly volunteered for kitchen duty. He assisted with meals, washed dishes, and scrubbed pots. Eventually he began to volunteer to do more. Rex also enjoyed and took advantage of his case management meetings. It was during this time that he was reminded of his favorite motto –

“God helps those who help themselves.”

Rex eventually qualified for housing through Transitional Housing, was awarded disability benefits, and found his own apartment in downtown Lafayette. All of his perseverance and hard work was finally paying off and his life was beginning to stabilize.

2013-04-25 RexFuller 017 (2)Today, Rex is a big fan of LUM. He knows firsthand why LUM’s services are needed in this community and how helpful they are to getting people back on track. Rex stated that “if people need help, I feel if they go to LUM, the staff will either give them help or find someone to help them. If someone is about to get evicted – LUM will take them in or find them a place – but they have to be willing to do their part.” Rex thinks this is a vital part of the LUM expectations. Again – “God helps those who help themselves.”

Rex also shared that he was raised mostly by his grandparents; and his father lost his leg due to an accident and complications after surgery. He credits his compassion and empathy for the elderly and individuals with disabilities to these life experiences. Rex believes everyone should be treated with dignity and made to feel valued. He also believes that we all deserve to smile and laugh every day. He practices this in his work with the St. John’s/LUM Food Pantry. His grandmother would often tell him that

“if you try to help someone you will be blessed for it.”

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Rex takes pride in the fact that he is known as reliable and hardworking with the supervisors at the food pantry. Rex only has one scheduled shift a month but he works often because he fills in when volunteers don’t show up or can’t make it in. Rex also feels good that his work is needed and appreciated, he is good at working at the food pantry, and it is something about which he is passionate. From his own personal experience he knows that not having enough money to buy food can happen to any of us. When you can’t work, don’t have enough money, and are on a limited budget – the food pantry is there to help – it’s a grocery store alternative. Rex stated that he is “helping the St. John’s/LUM Food Pantry do God’s work by volunteering.” When he works a volunteer shift, he is constantly looking for things to do. He uses his storytelling skills and good humor to make the clients feel welcome, comfortable and happy. He makes sure that he serves each client well and particularly enjoys helping people load their food into their cars. Rex is willing to do whatever it takes to make their day and to meet their needs.2013-04-25 RexFuller 015 (2)

Rex has turned his life around and is now truly paying it forward. He is a great example for all of us and a testament to the impact of the mission of the Lafayette Urban Ministry. A special thank you to Rex for his 20+ years of service to the food pantry and sincere congratulations on his recent and well deserved community service award.

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Filed under Case Management, Homeless Shelter, Lafayette Urban Ministry, LUM, Mission Moment, St. John's/LUM Food Pantry, Volunteer

Mission Moment — The Shelter’s Rebekah Miller

2013-02-05 LUM Emergency Shelter 029 (2) Dusk has fallen and most of our community is cleaning up after dinner and settling in for the evening with their families. But for Rebekah Miller, her work is just beginning. Rebekah Miller oversees the LUM emergency shelter as the Live-in Shelter Coordinator. Rebekah’s official residence is Greenwood, but she has lived in North Carolina and Texas and has spent summers as a youth in New Orleans with her family. Rebekah is a 2nd-year, scholarship student studying civil engineering at Purdue University.

Last fall (2012) Rebekah was looking for a job. Like most students she turned to the student employment website to see what was available. The LUM posting for a part-time, overnight position at the emergency shelter stood out and intrigued Rebekah. Since her youth, Rebekah has been attracted to “mission-type” work.

A once aspiring missionary, Rebekah has hoped for many years to travel the world and offer her expertise to make life better for villages and communities. So when Rebekah informed her family that she accepted a position at the LUM emergency homeless shelter not one of her friends or family members were surprised.

Rebekah was part-time in the fall and was offered the full-time position at the LUM shelter in January 2013.

Each night, shelter guests begin lining up around 9 p.m. and Rebekah with her volunteer crew is ready to greet each guest. The check-in process is detailed and specific and the expectations of the guests are firm. Rebekah moves the process along efficiently and with the warmth of a good friend.

Her nightly goal is to create a safe environment where guests respect each other as well as feel valued and comfortable. Rebekah 2013-02-05 LUM Emergency Shelter 036 (2)accomplishes this by balancing being a servant with reinforcing rules and giving structure. Her demeanor is calming and her attitude is uplifting. She has gotten better at listening, being non-judgmental, and outwardly portraying a positive attitude.

Rebekah freely offers that this experience has had more of an impact on her than the shelter guests. She learns something new about herself each night. Rebekah shared that this opportunity for her is guided by God as is the rest of her life.

Working at the shelter from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. allows her to spend her days focused on her academic pursuits. For Rebekah the LUM shelter position is perfect because the hours don’t interfere with her school work and she’s passionate about serving others.

Rebekah knows that after graduation she wants to work oversees with a not-for-profit, non-governmental agency that utilizes her engineering expertise. Rebekah shared that her dream job would involve “digging wells in Africa” for safe drinking water and doing disaster relief construction work.

In addition to her studies and work with LUM, Rebekah is a leadership team assistant with the Women in Engineering Program teaching, mentoring, and tutoring local middle school students.

Joyce Fasani, the LUM emergency shelter program director, thinks very highly of Rebekah and her work with the shelter thus far.

Joyce stated that “Rebekah adds the ideal combination of professionalism and compassion. She has a way of commanding respect and gaining trust quickly with our guests. We are fortunate to have her on our team.”

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Filed under Homeless Shelter, Lafayette Urban Ministry, LUM, Mission Moment, Volunteer

Mission Moment — The Story of Michael’s I.D.

When Mary Anderson, LUM’s Director of Assistance, met with a client during the LUM ID Clinic drop-in hours recently, she could not have predicted that a week later she would be facilitating a family reunion between the client and his estranged mother. We will call this client, Michael.

Like many in our community who are taking that first step in a long journey back on track, Michael hit a road block – he needed an official ID. Michael was recently released from prison after being incarcerated for more than eight years. He was released without an ID, without a job, and without a home. Michael made several poor choices in the past which led to his imprisonment as well as destroying his relationship with his mother.

Today Michael is focused on becoming self-sufficient. Unfortunately Michael soon realized that you simply cannot do much without an official ID. His dilemma is that he needs a birth certificate to get an ID; and needs an ID to get his own birth certificate. This process is complex and became more so post-9/11. Although he is NOT able to get his own birth certificate on his own, his mother may. This is what led Mary and Michael to have a conversation about re-connecting with his mother who lives right here in town. It appeared to be the only option for Michael so he mustered the courage to call her. Michael’s mother quickly agreed to help Michael get his birth certificate by filling out the application and having it sent to her home address.

Michael is doing everything he can to keep his life moving forward. This vital service at LUM is getting him one step closer to being successful. And hopefully Michael and his mom have now begun to reestablish a positive relationship as well.

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Filed under ID Clinic, Lafayette Urban Ministry, LUM, Mission Moment