LARS Board & Staff

These are the talented people who work hard every day to provide needed services to the Laurel community.

Contact Our Team

Join LARS' Board of Directors

New LARS is currently looking for individuals with fundraising experience (sales), marketing / communications, and human resources experience to join its Board of Directors. This is a wonderful opportunity to make a difference in your community and to work with a team of great people!

Board Position

If you are interested, please review the board member job description. To submit an application, you must first request contact information from LARS' Executive Director, Leah Paley. You will be asked to submit a cover letter and resume.

Request Contact Info

Say Hello to Our Staff

Leah Paley • LGSW

Executive Director

Leah has been an influential part of the LARS team since 2011, serving as Director of Homeless & Emergency Services until 2012, when she was promoted to the position of Deputy Director. During this time she gained a real understanding of the needs of the Laurel community and a drive to ensure that LARS is meeting those needs. In May 2015, Leah was appointed by the Board of Directors to the position of Executive Director. Having overseen the daily operation of LARS’ Crisis Center, Leah has the right perspective to bring LARS’ vision to life as the agency develops its strategic plan for the coming year. She has heard the stories and struggles of LARS’ clients, and these first-hand experiences remain at the heart of her leadership.

Leah brings significant experience to her role at LARS, including management of statewide advocacy efforts for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Leah is a 2011 graduate of the University of Maryland, Baltimore where she received her Master’s in Social Work (MSW) with a concentration in Management and Community Organizing and a specialization in Social Action and Community Development. She is a Licensed Graduate Social Worker (LGSW) in the state of Maryland. Leah and her husband reside in Severna Park with their two small children, and loveable English Bulldog, Rosie.

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Richard Cole

Director of Client Services & Community Relations

Richard W. Cole Jr. brings a wealth of community advocacy, homelessness, budget expertise, and department operations to his new role as Director of Client Services & Community Relations. Richard earned a Master’s degree in Human Services Administration with a concentration in Negotiations and Conflict from the University of Baltimore. Richard earned his undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice from Johnson C. Smith University. Richard has worked extensively in both the public and private sectors. His work includes matters involving Aging and Disabled; Behavioral Health; Crisis Services; Children, Youth, and Family Services; and Homelessness Housing. Beyond professional experience Richard attributes his success to his strong moral upbringing. He gives credit to his grandfather who instilled in him that no matter how successful you become you are responsible for helping others.

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Lauren Soummers • LGSW

Director of Supportive Housing

After graduating from McDaniel College with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work, Lauren found her passion in the human services / non-profit field and went on to obtain a Master’s degree in Social Work with a Clinical/Mental Health focus from the University of Maryland, Baltimore School of Social Work. Lauren provides supportive services and case management to chronically homeless and disabled individuals in order to help them live independently, and move towards self-sufficiency. She also oversees LARS’ Transitional and Permanent Housing Programs.

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Laura Wellford

Development & Marketing Manager

With deep family roots in the Laurel community and a B.S. in Psychology from Mount St. Mary's University, Laura is committed to ensuring that all of Laurel’s residents are given help when they need it and treated with the dignity they deserve. As Development & Marketing Manager, Laura seeks to engage the community with LARS’ mission in fun and meaningful ways. From writing grants to organizing large-scale fundraising events, Laura plays a key role in fueling LARS’ day to day operations.

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Angelica Christian

Case Manager & Volunteer Coordinator

Inspired at a youth development program in inner city DC, Angelica quickly developed a passion for helping low-income families and individuals. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and family science from the University of Maryland, College Park. Raised by Puerto Rican parents and driven by the desire to master the Spanish language, she obtained a certificate in Spanish Studies from the University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain. This supplements her solid educational foundation centered around understanding the individual, the family, and the environment in which they interact.

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Alli Milner

Emergency Services Case Manager / Program Coordinator

A passion for adventure and helping others motivated Alli to move to Laurel after earning her bachelor's degree in Child & Family Studies from John Brown University. This same motivation has led Alli to participate in two service projects in Guatemala, volunteer as an intern at Bethany Community Church, and pursue her position at LARS. Through her position at LARS, it is Alli's desire is to help others find stability and safety amidst hard stages of life. When she is not at work Alli loves to be the best aunt she can be to her nieces and nephews both here in Laurel and in her hometown of Sand Springs, Oklahoma.

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Audrey Vaught

Self-Sufficiency Program Coordinator

While earning her degree in Criminal Justice at University of Maryland College Park, Audrey was inspired to pursue a career in Social Work. Audrey received her Master’s Degree in Social Work with a concentration in clinical mental health from The University of Maryland, Baltimore School of Social Work in 2015. Before becoming the Self-Sufficiency Program Coordinator at LARS, Audrey spent a year providing in-home case management and support services to families and children with behavioral needs. Audrey is a Laurel resident and is thrilled to be working for an organization that impacts her local community.

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Macy Roberts

Supportive Housing Case Manager

Arimathea (Macy) Roberts joined LARS in 2017 as Supportive Housing Case Manager. She is eager to apply her experience and perspective to her work with clients at LARS. Macy is currently attending Ashford University and is in the last few months of receiving her Bachelors of Arts in Human Services, with a focus in family and child welfare. She has experience with housing policy and advocacy, and other issues relating to homelessness. “A little bit of help made all of the difference in the world for me. I’m excited to be joining a team that is committed to making that difference in each and every one of our client’s lives.”

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Lynette Greenwood

Office Manager

Lynette’s infectious smile is the first thing people see when they walk through LARS’ door. She is the master multitasker who keeps our very busy office functioning like a well-oiled machine. Lynette joined LARS in 2009, bringing 30 years of secretarial experience to her role as Office Manager. She is a graduate of the University of DC and worked with foster parents and children before coming to LARS. Lynette loves to travel, swim, and spend time with her husband, two sons, and two grandchildren.

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Say Hello to Our Board

Board Officers

Don Ausherman, President

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church

Larry Krieger, Vice President

Resurrection of Our Lord Catholic Church

Gary Hall, Board Secretary

St. Mary of the Mills Church

Rick Askins, Board Treasurer, Board Treasurer

U.S. Senate, Office of the Sergeant At Arms

Board Directors Members listed alphabetically

LaKia Bourne

Synergy Accounting

Dot Brownlie

Laurel Presbyterian Church

Bob Conley

First Baptist Church

Tom Dernoga

State of Maryland

Ruhan Guonah

The Columbia Bank

Tricia Katebini

Clifton Larson Allen LLP

Larry Krieger

Resurrection of Our Lord Church

Wesley Kreger

Community of Christ

Lisa Misra

Bethany Community Church

Rebecca Stanley

Woodforest National Bank

Jenny Wall

St. Philip's Episcopal Church

Mike Woodruff

St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Church

Leah Young

Oseh Shalom