Cherish All Children Staff
Joy McElroy became Executive Director of Cherish All Children in October 2017, transitioning the organization into Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota. Prior to that, Joy was a Cherish All Children educator, engaging churches in the Saint Paul Area Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) to prevent child sexual exploitation. She has over 25 years of leadership experience in business, education and church organizations. Her life’s work has focused on serving and raising up individuals, including a 10 year teaching position at the Promise Program for women seeking self-sufficiency, and creating, implementing, and leading an ELCA program “Youth Leadership in the City.”
Joy holds a master’s degree in Human Resources from the University of Minnesota, with a focus on training and development. She lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota with her family, attending Christ Lutheran on Capitol Hill where they are active in many youth and community activities.
Monica Jones worked as Community Engagement Manager for LSS for almost 10 years, joining Cherish All Children as Youth Program Coordinator in September 2018. Monica has significant experience working in youth service fields, serving the community and helping to break barriers in communities that are underserved. Monica shares, “I have great passion for this work to help communities become more aware of this issue that is happening in our backyard. It has been easy for me to advocate for the needs of our program after being on the ground doing the work and listening to so many stories of what some of our youth have been through for a place to sleep."
In addition, Monica is an advocate to end racism, working with communities to help them become more aware of issues that create vulnerabilities for all youth. She is a proud parent and champion for many young people in her family and community.
Cherish All Children Advisory Board
Our Advisory Board works on fundraising events throughout the year, supporting this work to keep children safe from sexual exploitation and trafficking.
Sue Ferkingstad, Advisory Board Vice Chair
Sue has been an active advocate for Cherish All Children’s mission in her own faith community and as lead of Team Cherish All Children in the annual Stop the Trafficking 5K Walk/Run for Justice. She works to build and support this team in our largest fundraiser of the year. Sue is a member of Faith-Lilac Way Lutheran Church in Robbinsdale, Minnesota, and is the parish program chair for Cherish All Children initiatives.
Gay Gonnerman, Advisory Board Chair
Gay was inspired to become involved in the work against sex trafficking by a performance of Body and Sold by the Chain Reaction Theatre in 2017. She realized how vulnerable our children are to predatory exploitation. She draws on her experience as Development Officer with The Food Group to support and grow the ministry of Cherish All Children. Gay is a member of Lutheran Church of Christ the Redeemer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she is also the part-time Children’s Education Director.
As she was planning an early retirement from Thrivent Financial, Gwen was looking for ways to live out her faith by using her gifts to serve others. Since joining the board of Cherish All Children five years ago, she has seen tremendous progress in the awareness of sex trafficking and how prayer, education, and community action leads to prevention. She is also serving on the LSS Foundation Board, and on another community board. Gwen is active at Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Excelsior, Minnesota.
Kerry Ness, Secretary
Kerry supported Cherish All Children’s accounting functions for many years and supported this transition into LSS. He serves as Chief Accounting Officer for Citizens Alliance Bank. Kerry’s work with Cherish All Children serves to shed a light on the critical issue of child sexual exploitation, which is necessary for all children’s safety, and that of his nine precious grandchildren. Kerry attends Immanuel Lutheran Church in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.
Pastor Nathan Tuff
Pastor Nathan is lead pastor at Olivet Lutheran Church in Sylvania, Ohio. His more than 30 years of ordained ministry has led him to serve communities in Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Ohio. He has served with Cherish All Children for three years and has a passion for the battle against trafficking, especially the exploitation of vulnerable immigrant and refugee communities. He is one of our regular writers of our weekly Wednesday Prayer initiative to 900 subscribers.