Celebration of Justice: Choosing Hope

Please join us at 6:15pm Thursday, April 11 in Grand Rapids at Frederik Meijer Gardens for AJS' Celebration of Justice Dinner!

We are thrilled to have James Nealon, the former U.S. Ambassador to Honduras and AJS co-founders Kurt Ver Beek and Jo Ann Van Engen join us to share highlights from Honduras and the importance of choosing hope even in challenging times.

Registration opens at 6:15 and dinner is served at 6:45. The butterfly exhibit is open to guests for free from 5:30 to 6:30.

    RSVP Today!      

We are dependent on our volunteers, corporate sponsors, and table sponsors - click below to help us grow our network! 

    Sponsor a Table             Become a Corporate Sponsor                 Volunteer         

Keynote Speakers

James D. Nealon


Former U.S. Ambassador Nealon has more than 30 years of experience in international affairs. His work in the U.S. Foreign Service has taken him to Spain, Hungary, the Philippines, and other countries around the world. Ambassador Nealon has served in public affairs, strategic communications, and human rights, including as the Civilian Deputy to the Commander of U.S. Southern Command.

From 2014 to 2017, Nealon served as the U.S. Ambassador to Honduras, where he led U.S. diplomacy, and connected with civil society organizations such as AJS to promote U.S. interests in reducing crime and violence in the country. After working closely with us for three years, Nealon called AJS, “probably the most important civil society organization currently operating here [in Honduras].”


Jo Ann Van Engen and Kurt Ver Beek

Kurt and Joann.jpgJo Ann Van Engen is a co-director and professor for the Honduran Justice Studies semester abroad program of Calvin College. She graduated from Calvin College in Sociology and received a Masters in Sociology from Azusa Pacific University. She has worked for World Renew and on various development projects, including being one of the founders of AJS, and has lived in Honduras for over 20 years. 

Kurt Ver Beek is the President of the Association for a More Just Society, as well as a professor of Sociology for Calvin College, where he has co-directed the Honduras semester program for the past 19 years. He graduated from Calvin College, receiving a Masters in Human Resources from Azusa Pacific and holds a Doctorate in Sociology from Cornell University.



Thank you to our Generous Corporate Sponsors!



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April's Celebration of Justice is made possible by our committed corporate sponsors:



Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need volunteers?  YES! We rely heavily on volunteers to make our celebration events possible! We need volunteers to help set-up, sell t-shirts, greeting, serving dinner and clean-up. All volunteers recieve a free AJS t-shirt! For more information or to sign-up, please contact Alison Wabeke at alison@ajs-us.org 1(800)897-1135.

When and where is the event? 6:45PM Thursday, April 11 2019 at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park (1000 E Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525)

What time should I arrive? Dinner begins at 6:45 PM, but guests are welcome to come early and stay late. The dinner usually lasts about 2 hours.

What should I wear? The AJS Celebration of Justice event is a dressy yet casual event. Our speakers will be in suit and tie, but many guests come dressed casually. 

Where can I park? There is free parking at the event. Currently, there is some construction as they are expanding their parking lots. Click here for a map on which parking lots are available to park in. On the map, you will find a guest shelter/wheelchair storage. If you need wheelchair assistance, you can be dropped off here and a volunteer will help you inside.

What is a table sponsor? A table sponsor is someone who commits to filling up an 10 person dinner table. 

What is a corporate sponsor or underwriter? A corporate sponsor is a sponsorship gift from a business in exchange for promotion of your business. An underwriter is someone who gives a gift to help underwrite the event costs, allowing gifts received at the event to go directly to our programs. Please contact Alison Wabeke at alison@ajs-us.org for more information on being a corporate sponsor or underwriter.



Your generous donation will support work for justice in Honduras

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From the Justice Journal

"How to Solve a Murder in Honduras," a special series from AJS that tells the story of how criminal investigators, lawyers, police officers, psychologists, information analysts, and victims are working together to end violence in Honduras.