AJS-U.S. Staff

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Dana Kroll
Executive Assistant
dana@ajs-us.org

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Kate Parsons
Director of Communication
kate@ajs-us.org

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Comfort Sampong
Communications Specialist
comfort@ajs-us.org

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Jill Stoltzfus (VanBeek)
Executive Director
jill@ajs-us.org

 

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Alison Wabeke
Director of Programs
alison@ajs-us.org

AJS-U.S. Board of Directors

 

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Dr. Scott Johnson – President; Member, Finance Committee

Scott Johnson began his career in the 1990s working for the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (now World Renew) in the Philippines and Grand Rapids. He joined the board of AJS-US in 2006, after finishing his Ph.D. in Strategic Management at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Johnson currently teaches Strategy and Business Ethics at Iowa State University in the Ivy College of Business.

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Russ Jacobs, JD – Vice President; Member, Finance Committee

Russ Jacobs works as General Counsel, Chief Legal Affairs Officer of the National CASA Association, which, together with state and local member programs and volunteer advocates, supports abused and neglected children in their dependency proceedings.  In this role he serves on the executive leadership team, manages the legal function, and oversees membership change policies.  Prior to National CASA he worked in private practice and then in-house at Starbucks Corporation. 

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Dr. Kim Lodewyk – Secretary; Member, Development Committee

Dr. Kim Lodewyk is a licensed clinical psychologist who works as a managing partner and clinician at Heritage Professional Associates with multiple offices in the Chicagoland area.  She works with a variety of problem types and ages and specializes in working with trauma. Dr. Lodewyk and her husband have three adult children and live in the western suburbs of Chicago. She also serves on the board of Sunshine Gospel Ministries.

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Mike Goorhouse – Treasurer; Chair, Finance Committee

Mike Goorhouse is President/CEO of the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area, where he oversees the Foundation’s donor engagement efforts, community impact strategies, endowment investment policies and internal operations. He studied at Calvin College and Grand Valley State University’s Graduate School for Public and Nonprofit Administration. He has received numerous awards for his work in philanthropy, including being named one of the top 30 Civic Leaders under the age of 30 in the nation by the National Conference on Citizenship in 2011.

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Stephen DeHaan, JD –At-Large Member, Executive Committee; Chair, Governance Committee

Stephen DeHaan has more than 30 years of experience as a lawyer focusing on personal injury cases.  He has a Master’s degree in physiology from the University of Wisconsin, and has done research into cardiovascular physiology. Mr. DeHaan attended law school at Valparaiso University School of Law in Indiana. He graduated with honors in 1983 and became a member of the State Bar of Michigan that same year.

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Sharon Baker – Member, Program Committee

Sharon has been on the AJS-US board of directors since the beginning of AJS. She received her bachelor's degree from Calvin College in Special Education. She has taught special education and early childhood education for 35 years and currently teachers at a Christian School in Byron Center, Michigan, where she lives with her husband.

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Dr. Vilma (“Nina”) Balmaceda – Member, Program Committee

Vima “Nina” Balmaceda is the president and CEO of Peace and Hope International, and a professor of political science at Nyack College in New York, where she is the Director of the Center for Scholarship and Global Engagement. Nina earned her law degree from the Pontifical Catholic University’s School of Law in Lima, Peru, and master degrees in International Peace Studies, in Government and International Studies, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame.

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Paul DeBoer, CPA – Member, Finance Committee

Paul DeBoer is a member of the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He is one of the original partners of the local public accounting firm DeBoer, Goodyke, Kahler & Tuttle in Grand Rapids, MI. He has worked as the CFO at Extol, Inc., an engineering and manufacturing company in Zeeland, Michigan, before returning to the public accounting practice he helped to found.

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Maureen O’Keefe Hodge – Member, Development Committee

Maureen has lived and worked in urban poor communities in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and Los Angeles.  Maureen is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has helped start nonprofits and community programs that bring change and justice to the suffering.  Maureen and her husband Chris lived in Honduras and have three children with a large extended Honduran family.

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James “Jim” Nealon – Member, Program Committee

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.

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Dr. Kelli Schutte – Chair, Program Committee

Kelli Schutte serves as department chair and professor of business at William Jewell College in Kansas City, Missouri.  She holds an economics degree from Calvin College, a Master's Degree in Finance from Western Michigan University and a Ph.D. in Labor Relations from Michigan State University. Dr. Schutte and her family are active in foster care both working with foster youth and volunteering with local organizations.  

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Jo Ann Van Engen – Member, Finance Committee

Jo 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 Master’s 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. With her husband, Kurt Ver Beek, she has lived in Honduras for over 30 years.

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Mark Veenstra, MD  Member, Development Committee

Dr. Mark Veenstra retired in 2014 after 27 years as an orthopedic surgeon, though he continues to perform surgery several months per year with medical brigades to Honduras.  Dr. Veenstra studied at Calvin College before earning his MD from Wayne State University School of Medicine. He and his wife live in Kalamazoo, Michigan when they are not in Honduras, working with a medical clinic in Gracias, Honduras that they founded together with the Luke Society.

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Kurt Ver Beek – Member, Development Committee

Kurt Ver Beek is the President and co-founder of the “Asociación para una Sociedad más Justa” or AJS-Honduras, AJS-US’s sister organization in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Dr. Ver Beek is also a professor of Sociology for Calvin College, where he has co-directed the Honduras semester program for the past 21 years. He graduated from Calvin College before pursuing a Master’s in Human Resources from Azusa Pacific University, and a Doctorate in Development Sociology from Cornell University. He and his wife, Jo Ann Van Engen, have called Honduras home for more than 30 years.

Team in Honduras

Our US-based team works in tandem with more than 130 Honduras-based employees to pursue justice in Honduras. Our Honduras team (AJS-Honduras) is comprised nearly entirely of Hondurans and also has its own leadership. The work of AJS in Honduras has received international recognition for its effectiveness and creativity, and our US staff work to share the lessons of this work with others outside of Honduras encouraging others to heed the call to do justice. The website, in Spanish, of AJS-Honduras is asjhonduras.com.

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From the Justice Journal

The New York Times published an opinion piece by Sonia Nazario, Pulitzer Prize winning author and also our good friend, about the problems facing Honduras. For those of us who love Honduras, it is not an easy read - but we have seen change and we remain hopeful.