Mary Ellen Mitchell

Mary Ellen Mitchell is a co- founder of Lydia’s House. As a collegiate volunteer, she became interested in the root causes of homelessness at the Open Door Community in Atlanta. Shortly after her graduation from Emory University, she moved back to Cincinnati, her home, and became an on-site volunteer at Grace Place, a provider of transitional housing for women and children. Professional development continued for her in Washington, DC where she worked for Jubilee Housing, a nonprofit provider of housing and supportive services. She returned to Cincinnati in 2006 and went on to hone skills in fundraising and development and complete her MA at Xavier University. Mary Ellen has been married to Ben since 2008, is a member of Bellarmine Chapel and is the mother of three young children. She lives in Norwood where she's helped renovate 5 houses, 2 parks and sometimes preaches at local churches.

Meridith Owensby

Meridith is a co-founder of Lydia's House. She has 15 year history in transitional and low-income housing provision. She became interested in the root causes of homelessness as a collegiate volunteer at the Open Door Community, a homeless service provider in Atlanta, Georgia. Meridith continued her work with the Open Door after graduation, becoming a live-in resident and the Volunteer Coordinator for the ministry. Professional development continued in Washington, DC. Meridith worked as a Social Services Manager at Miriam’s House, a home for homeless women with HIV. She brings many gifts and talents to Lydia's House, including case management and guest support, liturgy and celebration, and operations and finance prowess. She enjoys yoga and the arts, is an oblate with the Transfiguration Sisters and is a member of the Winton Community Free Methodist Church.

Ashley Martin

Ashley is our live-in shelter manager at Lydia's House. She is a recent graduate of Bridgewater College, located in Bridgewater, Virginia where she studied psychology, social work, and criminology. She has completed numerous internships working closely with women and children through Social Services, Court Advocacy, and Transitional Living Houses. Ashley came to work here at Lydia's House through Brethren Volunteer Service, a year-long volunteer program associated with the Church of the Brethren that focuses on advocating for justice, working for peace, serving human needs, and caring for creation. When Ashley is not working, she enjoys going for hikes, reading, and finding new, local coffee shops to give a try.
Grace Sanford

Grace is a new volunteer serving at Lydia's House through the Mercy Volunteer Corps! She recently graduated from the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, Kansas with a major in chemistry and a minor in biology. Grace volunteered with Saint Mary's House for Mothers in Liberty, Missouri and other similar organizations throughout college, which grew her love and compassion for women and their children. She also was the president of the theology club at her university and was able to lead multiple retreats for middle school and high school students. This helped her grow her faith while also allowing her to share it with others.These opportunities inspired her to choose a year of service with MVC and to choose Lydia's House as her service site. Grace enjoys swimming, travelling, going to concerts, and practicing her Catholic faith. She hopes to bring a spirit of positivity, empathy, and care to all she encounters while at Lydia's House.
Debbie Baumgartner

Debbie Baumgartner has been living and working in the Uptown neighborhood in Chicago for the last thirty years. She has volunteered at Cornerstone Community Outreach, a local homeless shelter that houses over 200 people nightly. Helping to get the Winthrop Avenue Family Historical Garden started and establishing the Uptown Restaurant Society have been some of her greatest joys. She has worked as a math teacher, event planner, bi-vocational pastor, and kitchen manager. She holds Bachelor’s Degrees in Mathematics and Theatre from Texas Christian University, and is currently working towards a Graduate Certificate in Theopoetics from Bethany Seminary. She is married to David and they have two great young adult children. Debbie enjoys connecting with others, cooking, and reading. She is excited to continue to use her gifts in her work at Lydia’s house and learn about Cincinnati from the women there.
Julie VanBergen

Julie is a life-long learner and enjoys serving others. Julie and her husband have three kind and loving adult sons, a daughter in law, a granddaughter, a grandson on the way, as well as many furry, four legged grandchildren! She comes to St. Lydia's House from Muskegon, Michigan and loves all things Lake Michigan. She earned a Bachelor's Degree from Michigan State University in Child Development and Education and a Masters Degree from Central Michigan University in Educational Leadership. Julie taught elementary education for over twenty years and enjoyed being an elementary school principal for 13 years.  Most recently she was a literacy coach and wrote a literacy curriculum for middle school students. Her hobbies include yoga, biking, traveling, whitewater rafting and engaging in new adventures. Julie is a member of Bellarmine Chapel. She is excited to be a part of the mission of Lydia's House!
David Baumgartner

David Baumgartner is married to Debbie and they have 2 amazing college kids. David has managed low-income senior housing and more recently was the building engineer for a 10 story 100 year old building in Uptown, Chicago. As a young man David spent a year in Costa Rica on a farm and learned Spanish, a skill that he has tried to keep all these years since. David went to school for furniture design and interior construction in Austria. He enjoys creating things out of pallet wood or upcycling other treasures into furniture. David is looking forward to help maintain safe and healthy environments where people can thrive.