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 a BA in communications from Canadian Mennonite University and is pursuing a Masters in business administration.
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.
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.
Board of Directors
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 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 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 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 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.