Samantha Cocking

Executive Director

Sam comes to Lift with a 30-year Elementary teaching background in an urban setting. A lifelong resident of Grant County, Sam has degrees from Eastbrook High School, Taylor University, Ball State University, and Indiana Wesleyan University. 

Sam’s desire this year is to use her God-given gifts and knowledge to continue the great work that is at the heart of Lift.

Sam lives in Upland with her husband Kent. They are parents to son Keith, wife Kelly, and Willa, Wally, and Wren, who live in West Chicago.  Daughter Kelbe and husband Kyle live in beautiful Utah with their wonder-dog, Jayber.

Favorite Bible Verse: 
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38, 39

Favorite quote:
In loving or praising a child, we love and praise not that which is, but that which we hope for. -Pablo Picasso

Kelly Sisson

Volunteer and Communications Coordinator

Kelly started volunteering at Lift her second week in Upland and loved Lift so much she volunteered and interned with Lift for her whole time at Taylor University. She is thrilled to work with a program that intentionally pours into the lives of children.

At Taylor, Kelly worked in a variety of offices and leadership positions while studying Psychology and PPE (political science, philosophy, and economics). She calls the furthest Northeast corner of Illinois home, but now loves living in the wonderful town of Upland with good friends! 

Favorite Bible Verse:  
… And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ …
Ephesians 3:17-19

Favorite Quote: 
“Always, everywhere God is present, and always He seeks to discover Himself to each one”
A. W. Tozer

Megan Pollard

4th Grade Team Leader

Megan grew up in Nebraska and graduated from Taylor University, where she played on the soccer team.

Megan is married to Everett, who is the adult ministry resident at Upland Community Church. Megan is working on her Master’s degree in clinical counseling.

Megan has volunteered at Lift and absolutely loves being the 4th-grade Team Leader this year! Megan also works at The Bridge and loves when people stop by to say hi.

Favorite Bible Verse:
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:1

Favorite Quote:
Sorry I’m late, but I left late.
-Rachel Greene

Judy Sutherland

3rd Grade Team Leader

Judy grew up in Michigan and graduated from Taylor University in 1982.  Judy has taught 5th-grade and worked as an educational assistant at Mississinewa and Eastbrook South for 20+ years. This is Judy’s 3rd year as a Lift Team Leader.

Judy is married to Ron, and they are parents to Tim and wife Lissel, children Melanie and Natalie,  who live in Nashville, Tn. Daughter Megan, husband Justin, and children Kinsley and Lucas, who live in Avon, In.

Favorite Bible Verse:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

Favorite Quote:
Preach the gospel at all times. When necessary, use words. –St. Francis of Assisi

Kathy Meadors

2nd Grade Team Leader

Kathy and her husband Ed, a bible teacher at Taylor University, have called Upland home for 24 years and have enjoyed raising their 3 children here. Kathy is a biology major and has taught Jr. and Sr. high science and math for many years. Kathy’s love for children’s literature grew while homeschooling her children through elementary school.

Kathy is so excited to share her love of reading along with her awe of God’s creation with her Lift students.

Favorite Bible Verse:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12: 1 & 2

Favorite Quote:
We only learn to behave ourselves in the presence of God.