Caleb is a Canadian complete with the cute accent and ‘eh’s that delight all people around him, as well as a having a passion for chemistry, folk music and ethically sourced coffee. He first got a taste of social justice at Gull Lake Centre, where he was a part of the LTD program. He also became connected with Loveworks and as a result, went to Burundi on a Loveworks trip. What he saw there inspired him to come up with the idea for Push for Burundi, and together with Jordan and Richard, he formed the movement that is growing and creating change in a tangible manner. Caleb spent 6 months after graduating from high school in Burundi, working with organizations focused on justice there, and growing into the man we know and love. Caleb is not only an insane pusher, with steely determination on his face as he battles 80 plus kilometers in a day, but a strong decision maker, where he brings mature perspective far beyond his years. His solid leadership, adventurous spirit and joy filled spirit add an incredible dimension to the team dynamic.
Hailing from Calgary is the great Richard Charter, lovingly referred to by us as Lana, and is also our resident Sasquatch expert. Currently in school studying music at Ambrose University, Richard’s master craft is the piano and composition, but he’s also pursuing a musical shoe-gaze project with guitar as the featured instrument. Richard developed a sense of passion regarding justice at Gull Lake Centre’s Leadership Training and Discipleship (LTD) program, and it was at Gull Lake where he first met Dan, Caleb and Andrew, as well as where he was first involved with Loveworks and their Burundian partnerships. Richard’s heart and drive for justice and awareness is the same type of drive he uses to push 80 plus kilometers in a day – it’s relentless, and inspiring. Richard’s calm and cool personality also contributes immensely to the stability of the team. But he also isn’t afraid to get cray every once and a while and put us all into (metaphorical) stitches.
Edmonton native Jordan Smith has been a pusher for the team since the very beginning. Not only pushing a hunk of wood hundreds of kilometres up mountains and across prairie plains, but also pushing his team mates along with his never-ending provision of positivity, energy and support. Jordan and Caleb went to high school together, where mutual friendships were the source of their initial support for the Push. Jordan is a car salesman for Sherwood Park Chevrolet (a great supporter for PFB 14), where he graces the business with his sharp looks, responsibility, professionalism, and great people skills. Jordan wishes to spend more time in the future learning about event planning, with a focus on involving the community in local initiatives. His passion for the PFB project and ability to get people hyped is leading youth and adults alike to be inspired to affect change locally and abroad.
Andrew Ipe stakes his home in Edmonton, where studying engineering at the University of Alberta consumes 8 months of his year. Andrew’s main passions include music and videography, the latter of the two being an inspiration for an Ipe-envisioned creative firm, The Broken Culture. His mad film and visual skills make PFB look the way it does. First coming along side the Push Team for the trek across BC, Ipe immediately became an integral part of the team with his visuals, but, more importantly, for his great teamwork, skills and creative vision, as well as that push for justice evident in all that he does. Andrew was able to visit Burundi with Loveworks in May 2014, where he saw first-hand the levels of injustice, as well as the projects that are addressing the issues, and the amount of hope apparent in the people of Burundi. Andrew’s heart for truth and justice is a driving force on the team, and PFB wouldn’t be the same without him and his leather adventure shoes.
Laura Remley is the cat's pajamas. The Edmonton dweller works as Assistant Director for The Broken Culture, where she uses her organizational skills to make sure those creative visions translate into reality. Not only will her creative organizational skills be invaluable to the creative arm of PFB, but her perspective-driven opinions and thoughtful inputs will be key in decision-making processes both before, and during the Push. Aside from these great leadership qualities, her wildness and energy will bring life and laughs to the team. Laura met Andrew at Gull Lake in 2012, where they both felt compelled to respond to injustice through visual communication.
Hip hip hooray! Luke Jansen will be joining the PFB team for 2015! Currently studying political science at the U of A, Luke knows what it takes to get people involved and how to logistically follow through with ideas. He could also tell you all about the joy of Alberta politics. Also knowing Caleb and Jordan from high school, Luke was a crucial part of the high school leadership initiative, which partnered with Loveworks. He was involved with event planning for campaigns aimed at raising funds for a coffee washing station in Burundi. Luke’s keen planning and logistical skills, paired with his experience, responsibility and well-formed decision making skills place him as key part of the logistical and event planning wing of PFB.
Rounding out the other half of the Calgary squad, Dan Zepick will be joining PFB for 2015. Wowza. His very developed and creative visual skills will be used to help tell the story of the Push. He met Richard, Caleb and Andrew at Gull Lake Centre, where he has had a long standing history. Recently, he has been involved in coordinating the LTD program, and has a heart for empowering and equipping youth with leadership skills to effect change locally and globally. Dan has roots firmly established in areas of justice in Africa as well, and has been working to make a difference in the lives of street children in Mwanza, Tanzania where he helped in the process of building an orphanage. Dan’s contrasting wild and chill character will be very important in keeping all team members grounded and energized.
Meet our resident wordsmith, Karla Mallach. While most of us scrapped by our English classes, Karla took to heart the delicate skill of formulating proper prose. The Push for Burundi team is blessed to have Karla’s language know-how when editing written material. And with this University English major writing blogs for PFB while the push is underway, it will be a treat for you all to see her utilizing her passion and skill to tell the story of the Push. Karla’s passion also extends into the pursuit and awareness for empowerment of people, where she was able to be a part of the story of awareness for Burundi on her trip to the country in 2014.