Leadership

Mike Duerksen
Director, Canada

Mike Duerksen became Generation Rising’s first Director of Operations in 2012, at first only working 15 hours per week while the organization grew. He previously led communications and marketing for Siloam Mission in downtown Winnipeg, and worked for Global Aid Network in Germany. Having grown up in Paraguay, Mike has experienced first-hand the tremendous opportunity that a quality education can offer. He has an MBA in sustainability and a BA in communications from Canadian Mennonite University.

Krista Corrigan
Business Manager, Canada

Krista joined the Generation Rising team in fall of 2019 as the Business Manager. She previously served for seven years in an administration role. Krista enjoys working with people who have such a passion and joy in providing children with an education that includes teaching them about God’s love. Krista and her husband Jacob, reside in Winnipeg with their son, Hudson.

Viola Ayala
Scholarship Coordinator, Canada

Viola Harder Ayala is the scholarship Coordinator for Generation Rising.  She started working for Generation Rising in August 2018.  Viola, her husband and 4 daughters moved from Paraguay to Canada 3 years ago.  Before working with Generation Rising, she was a stay-at-home mom and did work with Missions at her home church in Paraguay.  Working with the scholarship program is a special joy for her because she can learn about the children and the schools through the reports and stories that she gets to send out from those precious children that are in our program. Viola has a degree in Theology from the Evangelical University in Paraguay.    

Tom Friesen
Director, USA

Tom Friesen retired from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development where he served as Director of the Montana State Office.  His prior work experiences include college teaching, working with faith-based nonprofit corporations in Denver and South America, and in management of public housing. Since retirement he has consulted for nonprofit corporations in Denver and Guatemala and also spent a year with AmeriCorp (domestic Peace Corp).  Volunteer activities include mentoring persons seeking U.S. citizenship and working at a nonprofit bike shop.  He has degrees in Sociology and Religion with some study in business management.

Dr. Gerson Cabral
Director, Paraguay

Serving as the founding principal of the PROED School in Asuncion, Paraguay, Dr. Gerson Cabral helps with curricula development and leadership training at Generation Rising’s partner schools in Paraguay. A veteran educator with more than 20 years of experience and a doctorate in education, Gerson trains principals and teachers in how to implement Christian values into a comprehensive education. He advises principals and teachers in how to encourage participation of parents and students in the organization and development of the school. As well, Gerson acts as the liaison between Generation Rising’s partnering schools and the Government Department of Education in Paraguay.

Fiona Neufeld
Sponsorship Coordinator, Paraguay

With a Master of Arts in Counseling from Providence College, Fiona works closely with our partner schools, the parents and the sponsor children supported by Generation Rising in Paraguay. She has a special burden for single moms who work hard to provide a better future for their children.

Board of Directors

Rudolf Duerksen
President

Rudolf Duerksen is a founding member of Generation Rising. He has worked in Latin America for over 22 years, being involved in development work with indigenous people. He served as Executive Director of SERVOME, a church-related social services agency in Paraguay, dedicated to working with marginalized people and street children. Rudolf led the founding team of MEDA Paraguay and CODIPSA — a commercial enterprise helping small landholders process manioc into starch and take it to the export market. Rudolf has studied animal science, agriculture, development and missiology.

Tomas Martens
Treasurer

Tomas Martens is a founding member of Generation Rising. Tomas resides with his wife and two sons in East St. Paul, Manitoba. He currently works for Transport Canada as a Civil Aviation Safety Inspector. Tomas was born and raised in Paraguay. He completed a diploma in Aviation at Providence College, MB and worked as a flight instructor and charter pilot for 6 years before joining Transport Canada. At Providence College, Tomas took an active part in missions as a representative for South America. He has taken students to Aviation Mission headquarters and introduced them to mission aviation.

Ann Ediger
Secretary

Ann Ediger is a founding member of Generation Rising. Ann resides in Winnipeg, Manitoba where she works as a nurse. In the past, Ann has worked in primary health care and development in Paraguay, convincing her of the importance that education holds as a means to reduce poverty. Her present work as a palliative care nurse has given her the opportunity for short term involvement in a Cuban church. Ann serves in the care-giving ministry at her church.

Chuck Penner
Vice-President

Chuck Penner became a member of Generation Rising in 2015 and joined the board in 2016. He has been involved in missions and economic development projects in Cuba and Mexico. Chuck has spent over 25 years in the Canadian grain business and has owned and operated LeftField Commodity Research since 2010. He grew up in Manitoba’s Red River Valley and has a Diploma in Biblical Studies from Winkler Bible Institute. He also has a Bachelor of Science in Ag Economics and an Agribusiness Diploma from the University of Manitoba. Chuck and his wife Marlene live in Winnipeg and have three grown daughters.

Sally Kauenhowen
Board Member

Sally and her husband Carl are founding members of Generation Rising. They have 3 sons and 1 daughter and reside in Narol, Manitoba. Sally was raised in Paraguay. She has always been involved with mission projects through church since she joined at age 15. Sally has seen firsthand what a difference it makes for children to have a  quality education in Paraguay. After the family moved to Canada, Carl and Sally were very exited to join with other founding members of Generation Rising and help enable children to a better future.

Ingrid Koss
Board Member

Ingrid became a member of Generation Rising and joined the board in 2017. She has traveled to Central America several times in recent years and is moved by the courage and the resilience of the people. Ingrid believes that education for children means hope for the whole family. Ingrid has a work history in administration, quality assurance, and freelance writing. She currently works at Square One World Media as the Communications Writer, and lives in Winnipeg with her husband and family.

Helmut Sawatzky
Board Member

Helmut joined the board of Generation Rising in 2018 after taking part in a service trip to Nicaragua with his church. Helmut was born in Paraguay and continues to foster a good relationship with family and friends there through regular visits. He recently stepped back from the workforce after having served more than 30 some as warehousing and distribution manager. He is a member of a local church where he has served in various capacities including chairman of the board. Helmut resides with his wife Wilma in Springfield, Manitoba. They have two children who are both grown.

Aaron Friesen
Board Member

Aaron Friesen joined Generation Rising in 2014 and has since visited every project in Paraguay, Honduras and Nicaragua. A retired farmer, Aaron is passionate about creating opportunities for children living in poverty. Aaron and his wife Verna live in Rosthern, Saskatchewan where they are involved in their home church.

Clint Toews
Board Member

Clint has served on the Generation Rising Board for 5 years.  He graduated with a diploma in Missiology from Steinbach Bible College and went on to graduate studies in Pastoral Theology at Canadian Bible College. After serving as Pastor in the Christian & Missionary Alliance in Lac la Ronge, Sask., he served as a Lifeline Director for Winnipeg Youth for Christ. In recent years he has served as Associate Pastor of Bethlehem Aboriginal Fellowship. His social work experience includes being a senior counselor for the MacDonald Youth Services and Manitoba Community Treatment Assoc. for youth in conflict with the law. Clint has authored two books focusing on relational healing.  He and his wife Pearl reside in Winnipeg and participate in sponsoring several children at Generation Rising schools.