Our Board

Edith Yoder

Board Chair

Edith Yoder, EdM, is the Chief Executive Officer of Bridge of Hope National and serves as community board chair of Bridge of Hope Lancaster. She authored the original church volunteer training manual for Bridge of Hope and developed many Bridge of Hope manuals on nonprofit management, fundraising, and board issues. Edith holds a master’s degree in Adult and Organizational Development from Temple University and a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Eastern Mennonite University. After 30 years with Bridge of Hope in varying roles, Edith is more passionate than ever about building neighborhoods of support for families facing homelessness.

Jassinya Alvarado, M. Ed.

Secondary Coordinator of School Climate, School District of Lancaster

Jassinya works with the secondary schools, implementing the MTSS framework to support all students holistically. She also provides Deep Equity training for all staff members, coaches staff with classroom and behavior management strategies and provides support to schools to improve the culture and climate. She believes all students deserve a safe, consistent, predictable and positive environment to support them in reaching their highest potential. Jassinya lives in Lancaster and attends Journey Church. Jassinya joined the board because she is “passionate about the mission at Bridge of Hope and the commitment to support families facing homelessness.”

Dixie Becker

Adjunct Professor at Reading Area Community College

On a day full of tears back in 2013, I was accepted as a participant in the Bridge of Hope program.  As a human being, I felt crushed and just about hopeless about digging out of a life of working so very hard, but seemingly getting deeper in a financial hole.  Bridge of Hope Neighboring Volunteers walked beside me, picked me up and in the spring of 2015, I graduated from the program a changed person with financial rationality, hope, optimism and so much love for the world again. The challenges continued, but I could follow the steps I learned and “walk through the fire” or better yet, “step around it.”

I have worked at Reading Area Community College since 2006 as an adjunct professor of developmental math, working to educate students to fill gaps in high school math, so they can be successful, in the college math needed for their careers and degrees. My Bridge of Hope experience helps me to walk alongside and neighbor students on their paths.

I have been married and widowed twice, the last time in June 2019. I’m raising my son Daniel 15, and my husband’s two grandsons 19 and 20, who have had their own lives filled with trauma and abuse.  I just moved into my rebuilt house as a tree crashed through the old house in 2019 shortly before my husband passed away.

I am a member of Bowmansville Mennonite church where I teach Sunday school. It is an honor and blessing to serve on the board of Bridge of Hope Lancaster.

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Danelle Bender

Danelle Bender is a board member of Bridge of Hope Lancaster and actively involved in the community, and raising children. She is grateful for Bridge of Hope’s support in her life at a time when she needed it.

Elaine Lapp Esch- Bridge of Hope Community Board Member

Elaine Lapp Esch

Business Owner

Elaine Lapp Esch, BS in Business Administration, is the sole proprietor of a house painting business that she has run since 2013.  She enjoys the hands-on process and the daily gratification of seeing change and beautification.  She likes helping her diverse clients create and improve the space they call home and nestle into it, and hopes to facilitate that sense of nesting in the Bridge of Hope community as well.

Elaine has one daughter in college and one in high school.  She lives in Lancaster Township and attends Blossom Hill Mennonite Church.  She loves being outside as much as possible and her favorite hobbies are hiking, kayaking and gardening.

Elaine says, “I have supported the work of Bridge of Hope for many years, but when I went through a divorce several years ago, I realized how easily finances, safety nets and social structures can become destabilized.  It made me more passionate about being part of a network that makes sure no-one faces these challenges alone.”

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Sarah Fritz

Program Facilitator for Compass Mark

Sarah is a Program Facilitator for Compass Mark, where she provides life skills and substance abuse prevention to at-risk youth with the Student Skills for Life program. Sarah previously served as the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office and as a Community Homeless Assessment and Referral worker at Tabor Community Services, which allowed her to make important connections with stakeholders across the county. Sarah holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Hanover College and a master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Resolution from American University.

She and her husband live in East Lampeter and attend Community Mennonite Church of Lancaster. Having worked alongside those experiencing homelessness in Lancaster during her time at Tabor, she is passionate about assisting Bridge of Hope with any connections and guidance that will foster the most effective and engaged service to all Lancastrians!

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Crystal Martin- Lancaster County Community Board Member

Crystal Martin

Supervising Coordinator of Student Services at the School District of Lancaster

Crystal Martin, Ed.D. is the Supervising Coordinator of Student Services at the School District of Lancaster where she oversees the expansion of a Student-Centered Climate and Culture which includes training with Restorative Practices, Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports, and Deep Equity in addition to providing support with district level systems for attendance and behavior. She holds the belief that with consistent, predictable, positive, and safe environments, schools do a better job, more of the time, with more students, across more differences. Crystal’s background in working with schools equips her with a unique voice at Bridge of Hope Lancaster.

Crystal and her husband, Doug, live in Brownstown, PA and attend Lancaster LCBC. Crystal is passionate about the mission of Bridge of Hope and their commitment to families facing homelessness with neighboring relationships.

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Lynette Morales

Stewardship Consultant, Everence (Central Penn region)

A native of Lancaster, Lynette joined Everence more than 10 years ago, currently working closely with Hispanic and Latino congregations and church members, helping them integrate their faith and finances through congregational services, pastor and church leader resources, and stewardship education. Lynette and her husband, Juan Carlos, have three children and in addition to spending time with her family, Lynette enjoys scrapbooking and sharing the Gospel. She is a member of Christ Alone Fellowship, a Bible Fellowship Church, in Lancaster City, where her husband serves as church planter and teaching pastor.

Lynette stated, “Bridge of Hope’s model alone gives me reason to be excited about being a small part of this work: Mobilizing the church! As a pastor’s wife I see the importance of the Bride of Christ being what God has called her to be. Responding to homeless is just one small piece of the great work God called the church to.”

Jalisa Mowery

Scheduling Assistant, Signature Custom Cabinetry

Jalisa has been with Signature Custom Cabinetry for 16 years. For the past several years Jalisa has organized the annual Golf Classic which is hosted by Signature Custom Cabinetry and Bomberger’s Store. The tournament has raised over $600,000 to end homelessness and support Bridge of Hope National. Jalisa lives in Ephrata with her husband Jason and two dogs, and is passionate about sewing and quilting, including making pieces for donation to various charities. Jalisa likes the structure of Bridge of Hope which “includes a three-way partnership, to be more of a hand up, instead of a hand out” for mothers and children facing homelessness.

Dawn Ranck-Hower

Pastor of New Holland Mennonite Church

Dawn Ranck-Hower, MDiv, is the pastor of New Holland Mennonite Church. Dawn relates to church members and to the hundred children and their families at the New Holland Early Learning Center, connecting families with local social services, including Bridge of Hope.

Dawn and her husband Bryan Hower, live and are active in the New Holland community. In her spare time, Dawn is an avid crocheter, reader, and enjoys hosting in her home.

Dawn has been a part of four Bridge of Hope groups of Neighboring Volunteers and served for four years on the Bridge of Hope BuxMont board of directors. Dawn says: “It has been a joy, through my neighboring and board experience, to see Bridge of Hope give families the extra support that they need to not only survive but to thrive.”

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Nancy Rohrer Sauder

Registered Nurse

Nancy Rohrer Sauder is pleased to join this new community board for Bridge of Hope Lancaster.  Nancy’s first contact with Bridge of Hope was when she served as part of a group Neighboring Volunteers (previously “mentoring groups”), about 20 years ago.  She also served as chair of the board for Lancaster & Chester Counties, and has maintained contact with the local Bridge of Hope and Bridge of Hope National organization through the years.

Nancy is a registered nurse, and also has a bachelor of science degree. She has worked as a mediator for more than 30 years.  She is married to Clair H. Sauder and they have two adult sons and two young grandsons.

“A long time ago when I was on the Bridge of Hope Lancaster & Chester Counties board, someone asked me what it is about homelessness that makes me want to be involved with Bridge of Hope.  I said that I can’t imagine what it would be like to actually be homeless, but I can imagine trying to cope with the challenges of parenting and providing a stable home for my children without a support network.  When we faced my husband’s job loss, the death of our baby, and various illnesses, I had the blessing of an extensive support network in my life.  Friends and family helped me through the hard times.  I want to be part of Bridge of Hope because the organization helps to provide a “neighborhood” of support for a family  during a difficult phase of their life.  None of us can go it alone – none of us should have to!”

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Joan Gotwals Yoder- Bridge of Hope Lancaster Community Board Member

Joan Gotwals Yoder

Co-owner of Brook Ledge Horse Transport

Joan Gotwals Yoder part of the ownership team of a multi-state family owned/operated transportation company, Brook Ledge Horse Transport, where she spends much of her time in payroll, benefits and general office administration. She received her B.A. from Goshen College (IN) in Business in 1983.

Following graduation she married Terry Yoder and they have resided in Lancaster County ever since.  Joan and Terry are the parents of two young adult children.

Joan has served on the board in various capacities with Bridge of Hope over the years, including nine years on the board of Bridge of Hope National and many years co-chairing the Gala Luncheon.

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Karene Swartz Zimmerman

Former teacher and Life Coach

Karene Swartz Zimmerman, MA is a former teacher and Life Coach.  Karene says, “I have worked with Bridge of Hope for over  20 years  and have been a board member, fundraiser, and chaired the Garden Luncheon for many years.  I’ve also been a Neighboring Volunteer for 3 families over the years with my church.  My husband, Mark, and I live in Lititz and our adult daughters both live in Philadelphia.  Mark and I both feel that supporting Bridge of Hope is one of the best uses of our money in supporting a charity.”