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Board of Directors

Charlotte Neckoway, Ojibwe – Chair

Charlotte Neckoway is from Eabamet Lake (Fort Hope), known as Eabametoong First Nation. Charlotte now resides in Thunder Bay with her husband Raymond.  They have two adult daughters and their husbands (their sons) along with two grandchildren who live in Thunder Bay, too. Jesus became Charlotte’s friend and Saviour at age ten.  Jesus has healed her, especially from her days at residential school. She is eternally grateful for what her Father God has done for her. Her vision is that many First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people will experience their healing in their own way and receive all that Jesus has to offer them.  Charlotte holds a Masters of Education degree from Lakehead University, and for 22 years she worked in Education at different capacities.  Charlotte has retired from teaching and continues to supply teach for the school board she worked for.  She is still a teacher mentor for two Elementary Teacher Federation of Ontario programs.  In the next two years, her dream is to develop more resources and curriculum for Native Language teachers, especially for those who are starting their careers as Language teachers.


Sarah Beardy – Vice Chair

Sarah Beardy has been serving as a Rising Above board member since July 2021. She brings a breadth of knowledge and experience as a graduate of Trent University in Psychology and Indigenous Studies. She’s a Registered Psychotherapist and a professor of Indigenous Studies at Fleming College. She and her husband live in Peterborough and have five children.



Jamie Jacob, Cree – Secretary

Jamie was born and raised in Waskaganish, Quebec. She learned about God through her parents and the local church and this blossomed into an intimate relationship with God. Her connection with God draws many people to her for care and support—especially youth. She walks alongside people in their healing journeys as a counsellor at the Waskaganish Wiichihiiwewin Centre. Jamie has a strong voice which has made her a leader in the community and the church where she has grown into a worship leader. Jamie works as a Primary Youth Worker for the Cree Nation Government and collaborates with the local school to equip struggling students with counselling and tools to help them succeed in learning. As she completes her BA at Briercrest College and Seminary holding a diploma in Biblical Counselling from Providence Theological Seminary, Jamie brings a young and dynamic voice to the leadership of Rising Above.

Mary Jane Petawabano, Cree

Mary Jane was born in Mistissini, Quebec and is married to Gordon Petawabano. They have 4 married children and grandparents to 6 grandchildren and 1 great-grandson. Mary Jane accepted the Lord Jesus as her personal Saviour in the first year of her marriage at the age of 20. Since then she has been faithful in her walk with the Lord. She attended Heritage Baptist Seminary in 1993-1996 in the counselling program.  In the earlier part of her journey of faith she worked with Wycliffe Bible translators which helped her grow and mature in her faith. She worked on the Cree New Testament until its completion. This opportunity has enriched her life in so many ways. Today she is involved in Translation work into the Cree Language, from English to Cree and vice-versa. She is a member of Mistissini Faith Bible Chapel in Mistissini, Quebec.




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