Board of Directors
Karen Jolly, Métis – Chair
Karen grew up in the community of Gift Lake, AB. She currently lives in Niverville, MB with her husband Howard. They have two grown children, Joel and Tobi. She is a pastor’s wife at First Nations Community Church in Winnipeg, MB and has completed her M.A. in Educational studies. She has seen Rising Above first hand since its beginning as Howard has been part of the ministry from its inception. In her words, “I believe in what Rising Above is doing and have also witnessed the powerful move of God at conferences. It is my privilege and honor to be part of this team with great expectations of seeing God’s power moving more mightily and having greater impact.” Currently, Karen works at Inner City Youth Alive as the Director of Programming.
David Cheechoo, Cree – Vice Chair
David grew up in a Christian home in Moose Factory, Ontario. At a young age he gave his heart to Jesus however, in his teen years he turned his back on God and for fifteen years lived a life of sin and shame. It was the sudden passing of a family member that caused him to recommit his life to God. Currently, David and his wife Greta live in Waskaganish, Quebec. David is gifted administratively and brings with him valuable experience. For ten years he worked with the band council in management and for some twenty years he has held the position of Church Administrator for the Waskaganish Cree Gospel Fellowship.
Levi Beardy, Oji-Cree – Secretary
Levi was born in Bearskin Lake. His first personal encounter with the LORD came at 9 years old during Confirmation Classes in an Anglican Church in Red Lake, Ontario. Although it was a strong emotional/spiritual experience it wasn’t until years later that he along with his parents became born again in the Pentecostal church. As a teenager, he experienced a lot of racism and discrimination making him angry and resentful, thereby backsliding from his faith and turning to alcohol and violence. Feeling the need to take his First Nations cause into his own hands, he joined the Army to receive some military experience. One day while in the military Chapel, he encountered God again. This led to him and his wife Viola giving their hearts to the LORD Jesus Christ and they have not turned back since. Feeling the call to ministry he completed 4 years Eastern Pentecostal Bible College and started a congregation at Curve Lake First Nations. Levi and his wife Viola have raised 6 children and currently reside in Peterborough, ON. He is involved in full-time ministry.
Eric Kamenawatamin, Oji-Cree – Treasurer
Eric, along with his wife Leanne and children live in Sioux Lookout, Ontario. He originates from the remote community of Bearskin Lake, in Northwestern Ontario. As a young adult Eric struggled with alcohol even after he first gave his life to the Lord in 1987. After a very difficult time in his life he rededicated his life to God. God miraculously broke his addictions one night after hearing God instruct him to burn all of his possessions connected to his addictions. Since then he has been growing progressively closer to the Lord. Eric began working in child welfare in 1996 and in 2010 graduated with his Masters in Social Work. Since then he has been working as a mental health practitioner/consultant in Northwestern Ontario. Eric brings to Rising Above considerable administrative and clinical experience along with spiritual understanding and gifts.