Sarah McLeester – Program Coordinator
Lift Board of Directors – Secretary
“There is tremendous power when we show up in the lives of our kids and communicate that they matter and that they belong. At Lift we show up day after day and demonstrate in real tangible ways the love of Christ to these kids. What a privilege it is to be a part of the story God is writing for these children.”
Bio: Sarah is currently the Program Coordinator at Lift, having served in this position for 3 years. Formerly an intern with Lift for two years, she worked closely with the Director to lay the frameworks of the new program. She is passionate about mentoring and has been a mentor through Kids Hope U.S.A for the past 5 years as well as informally through her church for over a decade. Sarah graduated from Taylor University in 2016 with a BA in Social work. She is currently working on her Masters in Nonprofit Management from Grace College.
Lainie Gegner -Fourth Grade Team Leader
“I believe that anything that instills dignity in someone is something worth doing. Lift is an organization that seeks to truly see each child: to see their full potential and instill in them a confidence that they are capable and brilliantly created. Every time I show up at Lift, I get the honor of creating a space that instills dignity. A space where children feel seen, heard, and capable of success.”
Bio: Lainie has worked with Lift since it began in 2014 as a volunteer, an intern for two years, and recently joined the staff as a Team Leader for fourth grade. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Taylor University in 2018 and plans on pursuing a career as a counselor, serving vulnerable children. She recently had the opportunity to live and serve as a preschool teacher in a foster home in Beijing, China. Lainie has a strong demonstrated commitment to caring for vulnerable children around the world.
Krissy White – Third Grade Team Leader
“The Lift program is unique due largely to the community involvement and the volunteers. The kids come in every day and have a barrage of people from all walks of life who are there to spend time with them! The relationships built between our kids and volunteers and staff are a tangible picture of the love of Christ that we talk about every day in worship”
Bio: Krissy volunteered and interned with Lift her Senior year of college. After graduating from Taylor in 2017 with Public Health and Psychology double major, she worked with Shepherd Community Center in Indianapolis. While there, she taught elementary health and worked in their after school program. She joined the Lift staff at the beginning of this year as the Third grade team leader.
Judy Sutherland – Second Grade Team Leader
In the words of Dr. Seuss, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Reading with children helps set them up for success. It helps to exercise their brains and to develop language skills as well as their imagination and creativity. At Lift we have opportunity to provide one-on-one reading time between each child and a volunteer. What a joy it is to see relationships develop between them in addition to some amazing growth in the kids’ reading skills!
Bio: Judy graduated from Taylor University in 1982 with BS degree in elementary education. She taught 5th grade for 3 years in a private school and has spent over 20 years in the public schools, including Eastbrook and Mississinewa.
She has been married to Ron for 37+ years, and they have two married kids and four wonderful grandchildren.