The staff of Children of the Promise is a diverse group of individuals and families who serve from Haiti, the United States, and Canada. Because we strive to practice excellent stewardship in everything we do, many of our staff are support-based.
Jamie & Jenny Groen- Director of Operations/Volunteer Coordinator (MN)
Jamie and Jenny Groen have been familiar with Children of the Promise since its beginnings, as they grew up in the same community as the Bonnemas and their children. Jenny volunteered at COTP several times in its first few years. A trip to Haiti and COTP in 2008 inspired the Groens to leave their teaching jobs in CA and move to Haiti for a year. Once in Haiti, the Groens were hooked, they decided to adopt 3 beautiful children: Rosemika, Roselinda, and Alex. Soon after, they added a biological son, James. They are currently living in Willmar, MN, working on completing the adoptions and citizenship of their children and hope to return to Haiti some day. Jamie is now working as the Director of Operations for COTP. This role includes fund-raising, administrative work, promotion and speaking. Jamie and Jenny also coordinate volunteers.
Robin Knight – Adoption Director (Texas)
Robin Knight is the daughter of Bud and Jan Bonnema. She went with on the Bonnema’s first trip down to Haiti in 1999. After she graduated high school, Robin moved to Haiti with her mom, Jan Bonnema, to start taking in infants. Robin lived there for about 2 years before moving back to the states. Robin has maintained connected to COTP daily since the very start. She is currently our Adoption Director and corresponds with all families interested in adopting. She also helps to advocate for children needing medical visa’s.
Kirk and Christina VanderPol- Field Director and Mental Health Expert
Kirk and Christina Vander Pol hail from rural MN where they have raised their boys, Noah (9) & Elijah (6). Missions and outreach have always been central to the Vander Pol’s with Kirk and Christina going on numerous mission and service trips, working in inner-city Chicago, and participating in local Muslim outreach. After supporting COTP through their local church in Prinsburg, in 2011 Kirk organized a trip to COTP. The whole family spent the month of June at COTP. Short after returning home they decided to adopt two girls, Natalie (3 1/2) and Rose (1 ½) and not long after that, they responded to God’s call for service at COTP! Kirk has experience in management, construction, and ministry. Kirk serves as a co-director in the field, along with Rob VandeLune. Kirk’s focus is more on finances, property management and adoptions. Christina has her license in clinical counseling and will head up the infant mental health program and over see baby house staff. Noah and Elijah will be helping with new sisters, entertaining babies with their cool moves, doing school work, and making new Haitian friends.
Rob and Erin VandeLune- Operations Manager and Nurse
Rob and Erin come to us from Orange City, IA with their four kids Gracie (7), Karys (6), Addyson (3), and Tobias (1). Rob has been working with Trinity Reformed Church and has served as the Director of Student Ministries for the past 6 years. Erin has most recently been employed at Northwestern College and was serving as the Nursing Laboratory Coordinator. She has also taught anatomy labs at Dordt College and worked as a nurse during the years they lived in Southern California in the Neonatal Intensive Care Nursery, Newborn Nursery and Postpartum Women’s Care. They have been married for 11 years. Rob attended Dordt College and graduated with a degree in youth ministry. Erin’s education included 2 years at Northwestern College, 2 years at Northwest Iowa Community College, and 3 years at Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, Ca–leaving her with a Bachelors in Biology and an Associates degree in Nursing. Rob is serving as co-director in the field along-side Kirk VanderPol. Rob oversees our Haitian employees and the baby house, as well as short-term volunteers and long-term staff communication. Erin serves with Sheila as COTP nurse.
Nick & Nikki Stolberg – Facility Manager
Nick and Nikki have both been on several mission trips to Mexico where they built houses and taught VBS. Nikki also spent a month in Rural Kenya teaching 4th grade. Nick has a degree in Management and Operations from Washington State University and Nikki has a degree is in Human Services from Western Washington University. Both Nick and Nikki grew up in Washington State and have lived full time in Haiti since June 2010 with thier sons Eventz and Josiah. Nick oversees all the facilities of COTP, including power, water, technology, and other various systems. Nikki spends the majority of her time being mom to her two young boys.
Sheila Den Ouden – Nurse
Shiela first learned about COTP from Jamie and Jenny Groen who attended her Church prior to moving to Haiti. She learned of an opportunity to volunteer at COTP in March of 2010 and eagerly decided to come down and help paint murals in all of our baby rooms. After returning home, Haiti was always on her mind. In the Fall of 2011, she received an email informing her that COTP was looking for a new nurse and was wondering if she would be willing to serve with us! She knew it was a calling from God and moved down in October 2011. Prior to moving to Haiti, Sheila received a degree in Nursing from Hope College in Michigan, and spent four years working as an orthopedic nurse at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center.
Carla Lyster – Child Development and Social Work
Carla comes from a small town in Alberta, Canada. After high school, she took a year off and then went to Bible college for a year. While there, she decided to travel to Haiti for the first time. She spent ten weeks at an orphanage near Port-au-Prince. She knew she would be back, but not when. She returned to Canada and started a Bachelor of Education, all the while reading and researching Haiti.
Inn the spring of 2010, she made a second trip to Haiti, and a first trip to COTP. She spent almost four months serving at COTP. She returned for a similar span in the summer of 2011 as well, this time realizing she would likely return long-term. Carla graduated with an Ed degree in the spring of 2012, and joined our staff a month later. Carla spends a lot of time in the baby house, overseeing operations and pouring love and time into the children. Carla also works as our social worker, playing a key role in the admit process and working with biological families.
Dan & Holly Willis – Grace House Parents
Dan and Holly have moved to COTP from Lake City, MI, where Dan pastored for over 10 years and Holly homeschooled their five children (Jadyn, Gabriel, Malachi, Isaiah, and Zion Hope) and served as volunteer and board member of a pregnancy center in the area. Previous to that they were working for a youth home in Grand Rapids, MI. Dan has lived in MI for most of his life with the exception of six years in New York State. He received his Bachelor’s degree at Cornerstone College, and his Master of Divinity at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. Holly grew up in Prinsburg, MN, and went to Calvin College and then to Grand Valley State University for her Masters in Social Work. The Willis family has known about COTP for several years and when they saw the need for house parents on the website, immediately began to pray about God’s will for them in regards to that role. The entire family is excited about building into the lives of children in their home, learning more about Haiti, and forming new relationships with staff and volunteers, both Haitian and international . Dan is also serving as campus pastor at COTP.
Teri Gunnink – Haiti Financial Coordinator
Tori Rayle – Preschool Teacher
Tori first came to Haiti in June of 2011 when she was on a trip to see where she would be living. In September she moved to Port au Prince to oversee a sewing ministry. After ten months she left the organization because she knew she needed to be working directly with children but still desired to be in Haiti. She learned of COTP through the internet and came down to fill the role of a preschool teacher in October of 2012.
Tori is from Ohio but prior to moving to Haiti she was pursuing a degree in Social Work, working as a nanny, and serving with AmeriCorps in Georgia. She developed a heart for the homeless and poor during a mission trip in high school and has worked with this population in various ways ever since.
Gina Diederich – Volunteer Coordinator (Minnesota)
Marcia Roorda- US Financial Coordinator (Minnesota)
Marcia has known about COTP since the beginning as she is Jan Bonnema’s sister. As COTP grew, the need for a person dedicated solely to finances became necessary. She began working with the finances in July of 2008. When visiting Haiti, she was impressed with the way God has used COTP to help not only the infants but the families around them.
Mary DeJong- Canadian Financial Coordinator (Ontario)
Mary and her husband Jerry first became involved with COTP in 2001 through their connection with Daryl Hunick. They worked deligently to register COTP as a Non-Profit in Canada, which was completed in 2005. They have both been on several trips to Haiti. Mary often comes when long term staff are gone to help fill in. Mary is also the Canadian Book Keeper.
Mary Young- Child Sponsorship (South Carolina)
My name is Mary Young. I live in Greenville, SC where I work as a nurse in an adult Intensive Care Unit. I first travelled to Haiti to volunteer with Children of the Promise in June 2001. I have 1 son, Moise, adopted from Haiti. Currently, I coordinate the Baby Sponsorship program.
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