Jake Jones grew up in the plains and amazon regions of southeastern Colombia where his parents worked as missionaries with SIL International to translate the Bible into local indigenous languages. It is his deep connection with the indigenous land and people that provides the “heart” to the Wájaro Foundation. Jake also offers a great deal of experience with regards to organizational development by virtue of his experience building and managing a successful social enterprise in Indiana. Jake is both a faithful practitioner and advocate of the Christian Church being the principal catalyst for peace, justice and truth in the world.
Lauren Jones is an artist, women’s health educator, outdoors expert, social worker, and mother of four. Prior to arriving to Colombia in 2015, for 13 years Lauren offered her gifts and skills to a holistic ministry to under-resourced communities in East-Central Indiana. Lauren is passionate about living in authentic community with others and caring for populations that mainstream society tends to overlook. Among many things, Lauren offers the Wájaro Foundation technical expertise in leadership, health and arts initiatives, and gender issues.
Isaias Rodriguez is originally from Ibague, Colombia, and has years of experience coordinating social, economic and community development projects in different regions around his home country. Isaias is a lifelong member of the Mennonite Church, where he was formed in the historical and active peacemaking tradition that it boasts. Isaias offers the Wájaro Foundation a broad understanding about the longstanding Colombian armed conflict, the complexity of issues faced by vulnerable population as result of it, and skill navigating the nuances of Colombia’s civil society and public sector.
Nate Howard has over 15 years of experience accompanying humanitarian, economic development, peace building and grassroots political initiatives in Latin America. Rooted in his engagement with indigenous-campesino realities, Nate is committed to encouraging base communities to pool together their local resources in order to overcome common challenges. Nate offers Wájaro a unique blend of praxis, professional experience and conceptual understanding.
Laura Páramo is originally from Buenaventura and is passionate about working to transform the conflictive reality of her home country. Laura is a recent graduate of the National University of Colombia in political science and boasts considerable research experience with indigenous communities in different locations around Colombia. Laura offers Wájaro practical know-how in the facilitation of diaogue, pedagogical methodologies and grant writing.
Sarah Baker is a community-minded artist. A recent graduate of Eastern University, she holds her masters in Community Arts & Urban Transformation. Sarah seeks to use her artistic ability to create platforms for storytelling, resistance, and mutual transformation in the forgotten places of our world. Her hobbies include gardening, hiking, and baking bread.
Carolina Chaves, originally from Bogota, is a tireless dreamer that seeks to promote in all that she does, the conerstone principles of her Christian faith – love, justice, forgiveness and reconciliation. Carolina has considerable experience in the management and formulation of social projects that aim to transform territories, to raise awareness about the realities of Colombia, to work cooperatively for sustainable community development and the common good.
Tatiana Ordoñez is a textile artist and entrepreneur from Bogota. She graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Fiber in 2016. She has worked for multiple socially conscious artisan-based businesses in the US and Guatemala. She currently is starting up a home goods brand working together with Colombian artisans. Tatiana is passionate about collaborating with artisan women to create beautiful modern products that are paid fair wages in the international market. She sees beauty in all the different cultures created by God has and aspires to use her artistic gifts to preserve cultural heritage.
Derek Thompson’s mission’s in life is to build, connect, and empower those around him through business and music. After graduating from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, he has been busy working in after school music programs in Baltimore, volunteering with an ethical garment manufacturer Nepal, and building out his company’s operations team in Colombia. Derek loves bringing his business and technical knowledge to the Wajaro team to improve the internal functions of the foundation.