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Authors

Lisa VanEngen is a freelance writer at aboutproximity.com. She seeks to encourage others to place themselves in the proximity of doing justice. She lives in Holland, MI with her husband Kris and their children, Ellie and Josiah.

Alyssa VanErden is entering her 4th year as a 3rd grade Spanish immersion teacher at Grandville Christian school in Grandville, MI. Before beginning at Grandville, Alyssa taught English in Honduras for a year. She enjoys getting her students involved in environmental discussions and activities while trying to promote zero waste in her classroom.

Erica VanEssendelft works with the Mennonite Central Committee in Mexico City. She is also a former Policy Analyst and Advocacy Fellow for the Office of Social Justice. Listening to great music and finding beauty in the world is what gives her courage in the work towards justice. 

Carissa VanHaitsma is a recent graduate of Calvin College, where she majored in Sociology and Writing. Carissa has been working for the Office of Social Justice since May 2013, primarily working on immigration reform advocacy. She plans to pursue a Master's degree in Public Administration and Social Work in fall 2014. 

Rev. Thyra VanKeeken is the Pastor of First Christian Reformed Church of Toronto. Thyra is a native of Edmonton, Alberta, a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary, and a former intern at the Office of Social Justice. Currently Thyra serves on the committee that supports the Centre for Public Dialogue in Ottawa. Thyra is a Do Justice columnist

Gary vanLoon is a retired but still active prof (Chemistry and Environmental Science) at Queen’s University. A member of Westside Fellowship CRC, he participates in a number of ‘justice’ and multi-cultural activities through the church, in the community and Canada-wide. A long standing interest in development-related issues, particularly those connected with agriculture and the environment still finds fulfillment through applied research along with colleagues in this country and abroad. Gary is married to Asha and they have three children and three grandchildren, living in Ottawa, Guelph and Vancouver.

Laura Veenema is a Reading Specialist and former Language Arts teacher with a B.A. from Calvin College and an M.A. from Saint Xavier University. She has an incredible husband, and they live in the Chicago area with their beautiful baby boy. She now works from home as a mom and literacy tutor.

Martin Vegt emigrated to Canada from the Netherlands at the age of 14, and worked as a professional photographer for 40 years. He is a graduate of Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, and has served as Elder at East Hill Community Church in Vernon, British Columbia for many years. Martin shares 4 children and 8 grandchildren with his wife of 45 years, Frances. Now retired, he spends his days caring for laying hens, tending a large plot of raspberries, and advocating for justice and peace in Israel/Palestine.

Cindy Verbeek is a Do Justice columnist and board member for Diaconal Ministries Canada. She has worked as a volunteer and board member and has been a staff member of A Rocha Canada since 1996. A Rocha is an international conservation organization working to show God’s love to all creation. She is now working as the Northern British Columbia representative and community mobilizer. Cindy volunteers as a stream-keeper, and manages the Buck Creek Canfor Hatchery, an A Rocha project raising coho salmon, providing environmental education and participating in habitat restoration projects. She attends Houston CRC, where she coordinates the church’s community garden, and she is the regional Climate Witness Project contact for British Columbia.

Rachel VerWys recently moved to West Michigan after living many years in Southern California. Her greatest joy is sharing life with her husband, Ryan, and their four kids, Malachi, Abram, Ezekiel, and Selah. She volunteers as the Board President for Communities First Association, a national organization committed to asset based community development. She also serves on the the board of Grand Rapids Initiative for Leaders, an organization that invests in emerging youth and adult leaders. She studied social work at Calvin College and the University of Southern California, where she focused on community organizing, planning, and administration. She worked in community development in Southern California for 14 years through Kingdom Causes Bellflower. She is passionate about engaging in conversations and work that advance shalom in people’s lives, along neighborhood sidewalks, and in local institutions.

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