Meet Our Dedicated Staff

Bess Witcosky
Bess Witcosky
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...
Karen Ricks-Gangwer
Karen Ricks-Gangwer
Program Manager
Karen is Joyful Journey’s Program Manager. 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...
Janelle Weir
Janelle Weir
Program Assistant
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...
Kristen Patton
Kristen Patton
Office Administrator
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...
Connie Rice
Connie Rice
Program Assistant
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...
Brittney Vaal
Brittney Vaal
Program Assistant, Administrative Assistant
Brittney holds a dual role at Joyful Journey as a Program and Administrative Assistant. It gives her JOY to learn Friends’ life stories to create lasting friendships and optimize their engagement. She enjoys working with individuals as well as behind...

7 Statements of Philosophy about Serving Our Friends

  1. We accomplish things with our Friends based on their current abilities and interests because everyone needs a sense of purpose.
  2. We respond to our Friends, including to his/her changes in abilities, in a way that is not hurtful or offensive.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. We are aware of the environment and its impact on our Friends. We will make changes supporting our Friends, as needed.
  6. 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.
  7. We respect the privacy and dignity of our Friends and their families.

Volunteer Associates


Cathy & Gerard Benner

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.

  • Cathy

  • Gerard

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

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!


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 soon 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!


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 other relationships and other necessary tasks—what a respite in the midst of full-time caregiving!


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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