Meet the Fellows

 
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Currently the Changemaker Fellows are addressing a broad range of social issues in 4 categories: community, school/work, church, and families.

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...a little more in depth with the fellows. 

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Melissa Allison

articulate, big-thinking, genuine, self-critical, charismatic, intuitive, perfectionist

melissa@thechangemakerinitiative.org


Taking Changemaker to Other Churches

The Changemaker Initiative is developing new insights and new tools for the compassion driven Christian to impact the world. I want to build relationships with other churches that are passionate about solving social problems and empower their changemakers with the tools and experience we are gaining.

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CJ Arnesen

compassionate, curious, innovative, stubborn, passionate, MacGyver

cj@nimble-ed.com


Rebooting Higher Education

At NIMBLE we are reimagining what Higher Education looks like in the future and charting new ground on what it looks like to create an education path that continues from student to employee and back again, supporting an education and employment system that pivots as easily as a student pivots majors and an employee pivots careers.  By partnering with existing educators and employers we plan to better serve the next generation of life-long learners.

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Connecting lonely with those in need of housing

In a landscape where communication is often done through a computer and over great distances, building relationships and deep connections has become more difficult.   This is especially true between generations when travel or communication through an electronic device may be an obstacle.  The absence of consistent deep multi-generational relationships negatively impact both the seniors and the young people.  Seniors may feel isolated, lonely, and less connected to the younger generation whereas young people miss out on the wisdom, mentorship and nurturing a senior can provide.  I am interested in creating opportunities for a multi-generational connection.  Many seniors have an empty bedroom in their homes; many young people can’t afford to live in the Bay Area.  The opportunity to live together, relate, share meals and build community could enhance the lives of both seniors and young people.

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Chris Bauman

punny, resourceful, hospitable, fixer, foodie, wonky

chris@churchpivot.com


Church Pivot

Mainline churches that have existed for more than 40 years are shrinking and closing faster than any other group of churches in America.  Growth is only happening by new church plants that start from scratch and by the few legacy churches that choose to change “how we’ve always done it” and re-create a community serving ministry.  Churches that listen to the needs of their community and create programs and ministries to address them will be able to engage in compassion driven dialogue to reveal the loving, compassionate nature of Christ.  The Church Pivot project will guide congregations of legacy churches to reimagine what ministries will serve the practical needs of their local communities. Doing so will make each church a vibrant and essential cornerstone of their community.

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Lauren Berryhill

sensitive, loyal, realistic, perceptive, responsible, empathetic

laurenkberryhill@gmail.com


Cultivating Resilient Classrooms

Why does our mental health system continue to operate under the "Opt-In" model where we seek help only when prompted by loved ones or trained professionals? What would it look like to start normalizing conversations around mental health from an early age?  This project works with K-2nd grade classrooms to educate children on the concepts of resiliency, emotions, and empathy to prepare them with beneficial coping mechanisms they can use throughout their lives. Community members, and mentors will give these children the tools they need to assess their own emotions as well as the emotional needs of others.

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Bill Buchholz

passionate, kind, curious, wise, intense, contemplative

drbill@buchholzmedgroup.com


Creative Aging: Determining your own future

We are all aging but few of us look forward to becoming old. Our learned beliefs about aging limit our ability to find creative solutions to problems. Society’s current way of dealing with an aging population perpetuates  dysfunctional systems. We can learn to do better. The Changemaker project I sponsor is called Creative Aging. With a series of workshops, guest lecturers, small group task forces we will examine the problems affecting Seniors in our community and develop innovative ways to address them.

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Michelle Caudle

contemplative, big-thinking, reserved, resourceful, creative, practical

michellecaudle@laumc.org


2nd Five

Anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses are plaguing adolescents today.  Many are struggling because they feel they have no one to turn to—even when their parents are standing in front of them, waving their hands, screaming “Talk to me!!!”  This disconnect doesn’t start in adolescence; it is a product of lack of authentic, dialectic communication during the first ten years of life. I propose focusing on the “2nd 5” years of life (5-10) as a time to explicitly develop open lines of communication between parents and their children.  I intend to develop a program putting parents and children in the same room, where tools for open dialog are modeled, families are able to practice communicating with support, and they feel confident going home and using those tools on a daily basis.

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Lisa Conover

family oriented, empathetic, energetic, honest, kind, optimistic, good-natured


Building Healthy Communities Through Youth

At a time when the virtual world is alienating students from their peer groups and their community, this project aims to engage junior high students with meaningful opportunities designed to increase their self-confidence and create a sense of belonging to their community.

 

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Caryn Cranston

faithful, compassionate, dedicated, strong, smart, funny, resourceful

info@myseeds.org
visit: www.myseeds.org


Voices Unheard - Stories from the Shadows

Remarkable power comes from the sharing of stories. One of the most compelling steps toward healing, reconciliation, and even long-term systemic change is through the telling of our personal narratives. Voices Unheard aims to empower unhoused LGBTQIA youth to share their experiences of living on the streets. By making the unspeakable - speakable - through giving voice to their stories, a self that was wounded, broken, frightened or lost may now be reclaimed. In addition, as others experience the authenticity and humanness of these young people’s lives, their stories will serve to engage and alter others’ attitudes, as well as heighten understanding and acceptance of LGBTQIA people within our communities.

 

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Carol Damonte

creative, inquisitive, global adventurer, inclusive, dependable, big-hearted, God-infused

caroldamonte@laumc.org


The Lens:  Seeing the World Through New Eyes

I am the possibility you crave.  The emerging view, so within reach, it makes you feel hope again.  I’m the dream that says redirect, reimagine, redefine. I am THE LENS, and I’ll show you a new way to see the world.  What would it be like to envision a global community through eyes of greater empathy and compassion…to see a synthesis of creation and culture, race and religion, passion and politics, intersecting in one spectacular splash of texture and color spanning a single canvas?  Through the arts we are setting out on a journey to do just that. Join us as we lean into the lens to see just how beautiful and profound life and love were created to be on this fragile, yet sacred planet of ours.

 

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Margie Gong

loyal, present, faithful, sentimental, take-charge, perceptive, connector


From a Foster Care System to a Faithful Foster Solution

The multi-level fragmented system many foster children endure puts them at a societal disadvantage which many do not overcome, adversely impacting them their entire lives. My project will create homes for faith leaders with a covenant commitment to be the “parents/family” for the foster child/ren until they turn 18 or graduate from high school, whichever is later.

 

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Kim Jones

balanced, dedicated, enthusiastic, faithful, organized, practical, determined

kim@thechangemakerinitiative.org


Upstream:  Empowering Teens to Thrive with Purpose

Did you know our teens are struggling with unprecedented levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and lack of meaning?   As a pediatrician I was exhausted pulling these drowning kids out of the river of life. I am going upstream to mobilize parents and faith communities to focus on developing resiliency and a sense of purpose in our youth.  We will empower teens to swim and thrive in all of life's currents.

 

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Karen Kehlet

compassionate, helpful, insecure, open, optimistic

kkehlet@gmail.com


Mentoring in the Middle

After years of teaching, I am concerned about the small groups of middle schoolers who do not qualify for any special programs, yet struggle academically and socially. These students feel disconnected from the school community and are largely overlooked. I worry that they will lose faith in their potential, and I want to inspire them to enter high school with an expectation for success. These students each need a caring mentor to offer the gift of time and attention. Mentoring in the Middle will match students with mentors who will provide attention and accountability, as well as help them develop a passion for the future and a sense of purpose and community.

 

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Reed Knight

calm, considerate, flexible, observant, kind, sociable, sensitive

rrk.red.knight15@gmail.com


Life Skills with Reed

I noticed one day that most of my friends did not know how to make a simple meal, and that made me notice the amount of life skills that are being lost. I would like to use the internet to continue the oral tradition of teaching simple life skills.  I would like to make this accessible to all. I’m sure that there are many causes for this, but I’d like to focus on finding a solution.

 

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Sam Lewis

energetic, enthusiastic, driven, adventurous

samlewis@laumc.org


Bread and Butter, Broken and Shared

I’m gathering folx in Downtown Mountain View who are looking for more intentional community. A place where we take the time to share a meal with one another, to ask about the beautiful and the broken in one another’s lives, and to hear the stories of Jesus and think together how they might apply to our own real, messy, busy, and broken lives. You don’t need to be a Christian to come, you don’t even have to know anything about church.

We believe it’s better together—our eating, our story sharing, our living.

 

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Duncan MacVicar

analytical, capable, compassionate, energetic, friendly, helpful, optimistic


Helping Veterans in Prison

I aim to improve the lives of imprisoned veterans by creating programs that allow them to feel better about themselves. Starting with one prison, I hope to proliferate these programs throughout California’s 35 state prisons.

 

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Angela McConnell

generous, grateful, exuberant, creative, empathetic, determined

angela.mcconnell@mac.com


Generosity Cures Loneliness

LONELY NO MORE! The US Surgeon General has designated loneliness as the most significant epidemic facing our nation.  I want to assess the level of loneliness among our congregation, form small groups, and create compelling and fun opportunities to engage in and CURE LONELINESS TOGETHER!  

 

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Moorea Mitchell

thoughtful, determined, radiant, humble, down-to-earth, compassionate, optimistic

moorea.mitchell@gmail.com


Deepening Emotional Connections With Technological Balance

More time with screens than real people?  The average person spends five hours on technology daily. Like many others, I have been deprived of maintaining an emotional connection with those I wish to be close to and love. Importantly, some members of my own family have been distanced to me for quite some time due to this shockingly high use of technology. The time and energy they invest in computers, TV, and video games is time taken away from our kindling close relationships. Just as I have experienced, as a society, we have lost cohesiveness in communities, transparency with one another in our interpersonal relationships, and have even lost the determined mindset of solving problems together. These are recurring issues I aim to address. Through service projects and activities my hope is to lead people of all ages to recognize the need of balance between technology and other activities to promote well roundedness, authentic relationships, and fundamental core values.

 

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Yvonne Murray

compassionate, caring, optimistic, problem-solver, advocate, team-builder

 y_murray@yahoo.com


Partnership for a Safe Community

My idea is to unite congregations across our conference in reframing the current conversation about Gun Violence from “the right to bear arms” to “the safety of our community”.   We can use this connectional network as John Wesley intended to accomplish far more together than any one local church or person could alone. The specific projects are a community workshop and co-mentoring program for congregations.  The community workshop will bring together gun owners and gun control advocates to listen to each other’s perspectives, align on a shared goal and plan next steps to create safe community together. If both sides can come together and discover our shared goals, we can work effectively to solve the underlying problems.  The co-mentoring program would provide mentoring and support for congregations to learn from each other.

 

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Corinne Oestreich

generous, caring, selfless, compassionate, resilient

corinne@buffaloproject.org


The BUFFALO Project

Brothers United For Feeling And Leading Openness, seeks to work in communities where men struggle in communication and balance in themselves. In a new way to combat Human Trafficking, The B.U.F.F.A.L.O Project aims to reduce a demand for trafficking by treating a deeper issue in some men with traditional Indigenous ideals and carefully crafted workshops tailored to individual industries and communities.

 

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Karen Pandula

caring, energetic, organized, focused

kpandula@comcast.net


Unifying Firearm Safety Organizations

The majority of Americans support sensible firearm safety laws such as universal background checks, but the US Congress has not taken action in large part due to the influence of the NRA. There are dozens of national organizations working towards gun violence prevention, but they do not have the recognition and influence of the NRA. If the gun violence prevention organizations were to unite as a coalition, their collective membership and resources would be able to more effectively lobby Congress to pass laws that will reduce gun violence and ultimately save lives. I am looking for people to join my team that have skills in data collection, surveying/polling, video creation, mergers, presenters. I am also seeking donations to support the survey and travel costs.

 

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Truly Pompei

beloved by God, wife & mother, organized, aware, flashy

trulypompei@gmail.com


The Moses Project

Starting through our church, establishing a repeatable model within faith communities that meets the short term and long term needs an expectant motherhood has, when debating between parenting, adoption, or abortion, so that continuing her pregnancy is celebrated and supported, from prenatal care and far far beyond.

 

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Lori Sapigao

resilient, dedicated, gracious, thoughtful, leader, resourceful, devoted


Balance and Thrive

While technology opens doors for creativity and advancement, when should children actually be introduced to handheld devices, and how much time should children be encouraged or allowed to spend on devices? This question is important to ponder and act on for a few great early childhood milestone reasons: educators are seeing a decrease in fine motor skills and abilities, a decline in creativity and ideas to be generated for writing, a spike in loneliness, depression and anxiety, and a sharp rise in childhood obesity and diabetes. Would you consider joining or investing in my team of changemakers to influence a shift in how we advise parents to nurture our children and get children back to the basics of balancing options and choices for a healthier whole child?

 

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Claire Spence

kind, thoughtful, intelligent, difference maker

cespence1@icloud.com


Saving Food for a Sustainable Solution

Every year, 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted while millions live in food insecure households. And with the world’s population on the rise, things are just getting worse, especially in the Bay Area where housing is so expensive and good food so difficult to afford after paying for housing. My project is to tackle the saving food aspect of this problem by following in France’s footsteps.

The French government has made it mandatory by law for grocery stores to throw away food past its sell-by date (food that is still good to eat, but illegal to sell in stores) and donate this food to local food banks. In so many grocery stores today, all this food is just thrown away. My project is to contact stores like Safeway, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s for example and ask them to donate their food past its sell-by date to local food banks or nearby homeless shelters like Hope’s Corner. I hope to be able to give people struggling a way to get food for little to no cost.


 

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John Swan

innovated, farsighted, resourceful, adventurous, blunt, creative, daring

john.swan@sbcglobal.net


Building Stronger Communities by Faith

I believe in getting private and public sectors working together with issues that no one sector can solve alone. If that’s done, and faith-based organizations are perceived as the catalyst, that work will revitalize churches and help people realize that within faith circles community strength and individual purpose can be found.

 

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Bobby Jo Valentine

adventurous, romantic, forgetful, optimistic, genuine, self-critical, insightful

bobbyjovalentine@gmail.com


Spirit Arts

Cultivating the art of the spirit with the spirit of the arts. The world is changing, and we need community more than ever, so why is there a growing gap between churches and the communities outside their walls? I think art can help. Spirit Arts is building a creative curriculum for churches to partner with artists inside and outside their church, made up of sustainable art-creating and art-sharing events that grow communities based on beauty, intrigue,  and divine play.