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(765) 607-6156

Meet our Dedicated Staff:


Bess Witcosky (email:

Bess is Joyful Journey's Director. Although she has performing arts in her background, she prefers to work behind the scenes to ensure that our Friends always take center stage for care. She enjoys bringing a unique and creative perspective to organizational strategies, team building, and new programs. Bess also has a passion for community partnerships because "we can accomplish so much more when we work together!"

It gives her JOY to make connections with Friends; provide engaging opportunities for them to enjoy success and fulfillment each day.

In her free time, Bess loves going on outdoor adventures with her family and eating good food!

Karen Ricks-Gangwer (email:

Karen is Joyful Journey’s Program Coordinator. She keeps Joyful Journey a “happening place” with well thought out activities, exceptional personal care, and a deep spot in her heart for our Friends and their families. Karen states, “I love the small family-like atmosphere and relationships we have developed with Friends and families.”

Some of her favorite moments are those where she is able to learn from those Friends around her! Karen adds, “They have so much to offer!” Whether it’s playing a game of ping pong with Friends or preparing a craft project, Karen feels JOY seeing Friends being engaged each day at Joyful Journey.

When Karen has free time, she finds enjoyment doing landscaping, gardening, and spending time with her grandchildren and their Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers.

Janelle Weir (email:
Janelle spends her time at Joyful Journey as a Program Assistant. The JOY she feels is especially true when she is able to assist Friends while gaining relationships as she hears their life stories. Janelle’s smile is contagious and her willingness to do anything to make the Joyful Journey house a friendly and welcome place is wonderful. Participating in putting puzzles together is always a great encourager. Janelle says, “I just love seeing our Friend’s faces light up when we are able to complete a good puzzle.”

Outside of her fun at Joyful Journey, Janelle loves reading and spending time with her family.

Kristen Patton (email:

Kristen is Joyful Journey’s Office Administrator, taking the important area at the front desk on Tuesday through Thursday. Kristen helps keep JJ organized, greets families and Friends, directs inquiries to staff, helps where needed, all while building important relationships with our caregivers and Friends.

Having walked the care giving path, she has a special place in her heart for all caregivers and it brings great JOY to her being a part of an organization that is sensitive to their needs.

When not at Joyful Journey, Kristen enjoys reading, visiting tea rooms and botanical gardens, trying new recipes and spending time with her favorite people - her husband and two adult children. Helping round out Kristen’s zeal for people is her time spent in respite-care ministry, the welcome ministry, and Mothers of Preschoolers ministry at her church.


Rodneisha Hancox (email:

Neisha is a Program Assistant at Joyful Journey. It gives her JOY when she helps put a smile on our Friends’ faces. Currently enrolled in Elderly Professional Studies and Human Services at Ivy Tech, Neisha’s focus is on Activity Directing. When she works with Friends at Joyful Journey, you can see her creativity shine as she seeks out the perfect activity to build connections and engage with Friends.

In her free time, Neisha is very involved in community outreach and volunteering. She also enjoys painting with her sons and refinishing furniture. “Neisha radiates kindness and compassion! We feel blessed to have her as part of our Joyful Journey team!” - Karen Ricks-Gangwer, Program Manager.

Connie Rice (email:

Connie is a Program Assistant at Joyful Journey. It gives her JOY when she hears about our Friends’ life experiences; she loves to see them smile and laugh as they reminisce! Connie has been a caregiver in various settings for over 25 years. She loves what she does, and it shows!

When Connie is not at Joyful Journey, she enjoys gardening, spending time with her adult children, and riding her motorcycle in the country. She can also be found volunteering for retired and disabled veterans.

Cathy & Gerard Benner (email: and )
Cathy, President, and Gerard, Treasurer and Board Chair, are Co-Founders of Joyful Journey.  Both are committed Volunteers on many levels for the organization. What came from personal caregiving experience, driving hearts of compassion for caregivers and families, and listening to where their faith was leading them has been a humbling mission of talking the talk and walking the walk.

Cathy finds JOY in seeing parts of her mom in each Joyful Journey Friend and knowing her mom’s memory will be a legacy of love for our community of caregivers and those being cared for. Hearing of life breathing moments in caregiver lives because of the positive impact Joyful Journey has afforded them provides Gerard great JOY. Both are inspired by the love exhibited by our communities, Board, Staff and Volunteers as shown through everyone’s personal calling and willingness to help make Joyful Journey a reality.

Always together, whether at work or play, Cathy and Gerard find great pleasure in serving others and those special times with one another, their grown children, grandchildren, extended family, and a fuzzy dog, Rowen.

Suzan Windnagel  (email:  )
Suzan serves as Joyful Journey’s Volunteer Coordinator and a Board Member. Her expertise and personal experience as a former caregiver are invaluable in Joyful Journey’s dementia care training.

"Joyful Journey is led by a clear mission and shared values related to how everyone at Joyful Journey cares for Friends and families. These guiding principles are so important in my decision to commit time and energy to all that we do together.” Engaging opportunities spent with the most intelligent, funny, curious and tenacious Friends, families and Staff provides Suzan JOY. Singing with Friends is always a favorite activity for Suzan, especially when it is spontaneous as it often leads to discussions about childhood adventures, family, work, or favorite singers.

Outside of our house, Suzan enjoys spending time reading, being with friends, weaving, cooking, and times with her grandchildren, family and 2 silly dogs.

7 Statements of Philosophy about Serving Our Friends
Philosophy in Action

We accomplish things with our Friends based on their current abilities and interests because everyone needs a sense of purpose.

We respond to our Friends, including to his/her changes in abilities, in a way that is not hurtful or offensive.

We appreciate that our Friends have important histories and thoughts to share. It is our responsibility to offer the right environment plus time and encouragement so their voices are heard the most.

We understand that a Friend is doing the best he or she can. When something is not working, it is our responsibility to change our behavior and approach.

We are aware of the environment and its impact on our Friends. We will make changes supporting our Friends, as needed.

We know body language and visual cues, not our words, are the best communication tools. We strive to use fewer words and more visual cues.

We respect the privacy and dignity of our Friends and their families.

Board of Directors

Gerard Benner, CPA, Board Chair and Treasurer
Cathy Benner, President
Stuart Boehning, Secretary
Don Windler, Member
Suzan Windnagel, Member
Robert Truitt, Member

Our Happy Families


I had been anxiously awaiting the opening of this wonderful home for some time to aid in the care of my husband but also for me, too. My husband has been coming from the very first week and he goes several times a week. He enjoys the many activities, other people attending, the very caring and professional Staff, and of course, the delicious meals.

I can now plan to have some “Connie Time” which is such a blessing to my health and attitude. I highly recommend you bring your loved one to Joyful Journey, and I know you won’t be sorry!

- Connie


It’s so comforting to know my mom will enjoy her day, every day, surrounded by caring Staff in a safe, warm place. She looks forward to her time with her friends and tells everyone she knows how wonderful Joyful Journey is.

For me, I get peace and encouragement as I connect with Staff and others I meet there. It’s a perfect fit, and it came at just the right time. What a blessing Joyful Journey is!

- Amy


The Joyful Journey staff does not view caring for their Friend as simply a job, rather they warmly welcome each Friend and treat him/her respectfully as a person.

Having Mom at Joyful Journey a couple afternoons per week has allowed me to get groceries, run errands, go to my own doctor and dentist appointments, spend time with my children, have a luncheon date with my husband, etc. all without Mom along– knowing that she is in good hands.

Joyful Journey gives Mom appropriate activities and individual attention; Joyful Journey gives me opportunities to tend to other relationships and other necessary tasks – what a respite in the midst of full-time care-giving!

- Leslie


As an administrative volunteer I have many opportunities to see JJ Staff at work. Their preparations are always thoughtful, caring, and thorough. Activities are often individualized to the unique needs of a particular Friend, and always appropriate and purposeful for the group they expect to see the next day.

If the day's plan is not working well, the trained and experienced staff and volunteers are flexible and ready to change course. Everyone is included unless they would like some time for themselves, which can be provided while never leaving anyone alone. The level of loving care provided in this home away from home is a rare find!

- Sue L., Volunteer


Our Mission

Joyful Journey is a community-based not-for-profit organization committed to providing compassionate and loving adult day service that preserves the dignity and well-being of everyone who visits & provides encouragement and support to every caregiver.

Contact Us

600 Lindberg Rd, West Lafayette, IN 47906

(765) 607-6156


Our Hours

Monday-Friday: 7:30 am – 5:30 pm

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