Committed to Colombia

Meet Our Board of Directors

Dan and Berit Wick
“We came to help and serve others, but over the years we have been exceedingly blessed by the people of Colombia.”

After successful business careers in Silicon Valley, California high tech companies, Dan and Berit Wick felt called to serve others. For the past twelve years they have been volunteers and lived in Colombia, South America. Initially, Dan served as administrator in a Christian school of 900 students for low income families while Berit worked in administration and taught English. They helped restore this school which was close to closing due to management and financial issues. During their time in Cartagena they have helped out in many nonprofit organizations in the city. They have organized and lead many humanitarian and medical teams that have come to Colombia to volunteer. They have also welcomed visitors from the U.S. and other countries to help them experience and participate in the great works being done by the Colombian nonprofit organizations. In addition, they have raised and distributed financial support to many local nonprofits and monitored its use to achieve successful results in various projects and programs. On an ongoing basis, Dan and Berit make presentations to groups in the United States about Friends for Colombia, the reality of the social situation in Colombia and the great works underway by the Colombian nonprofits. Their daughter, Kristina, grew up and graduated from high school in Cartagena and Gonzaga University in Washington State. She currently lives in San Diego and works for PriceSmart.

John and Dorothy Terrill
“While we’ve had the opportunity to share and help many people in Colombia, we have also made so many great friendships. What a gift it has been to learn about the lives and culture of these wonderful people.”

A dream come true for John and Dorothy Terrill – combining their love for nutrition and photography with their passion for travel. For the past 9 years they have made numerous trips to Colombia and gotten to know the people and culture along with helping many Colombian foundations.

Dorothy’s extensive background and experience in nutrition and diet have been put to great use in Colombia. As a Registered Dietitian, she has worked in universities, hospitals and with many large companies and taught at community colleges. She has written weekly newspaper columns, was President of the California Dietetic Association and for the past 20 years has had a nutrition spot on a national radio broadcast. Her practical approach to diet and nutrition has helped to educate people to eat healthier for an enhanced quality of life and to prevent diseases. During visits to Colombia, she has literally taught thousands of Colombians about good nutrition at many of the foundations in the city, in the poorest barrios, at schools, hospitals, clinics, churches, and medical schools. By visiting markets and grocery stores, she has adapted good nutrition to the foods available and traditional methods of preparation.

John is an ardent photographer and especially likes to take photos of people. Contrary to many places in the world, Colombians enjoy having their photo taken and are always ready with a winning smile. John chronicles the many people and places throughout the country and shares his photos with them. The children are thrilled to see themselves on his digital camera and, for many, it’s the first time to have their picture taken. His photos have an amazing way of capturing the personality and culture of the Colombian people.

Steve and Cindy Howard
“In Colombia, there is a certain gentleness, a certain warmth and tenderness found there, an openness and love of life that the Colombians have that is endearing. That has really touched us and is the reason we love the Colombian people.”

As the son of a missionary, Steve had the opportunity to grow up in Colombia. To this day, as locals hear him speak “Costeño” (a Spanish accent of the northern Colombian coast) they think he is a resident of the area. That upbringing gave him a great appreciation for the people and culture and why he feels he still has Colombia in his blood. As a commercial airline pilot, he has flown Latin American routes for many years and always has fond memories as he flies over Colombia. Recently, Steve and Cindy had the opportunity to bring their family of 3 boys back to Colombia to live for a time. As an artist, Cindy dug into the culture and studied Spanish. They and their three sons immersed themselves into daily life making friends and enjoying the city, the heat, the music, the food and walking around the old neighborhoods where Steve grew up as a boy. “What’s not to like about Colombia and Cartagena? The sun is hot, the music is great, the water is warm, the city is beautiful, the coffee’s the best and, most importantly, the people are the warmest and friendliest in the world!”

Alejandro and Maria Amalia Contreras
“As Colombians living in the States for many years, our hearts’ desires came true: coming back to Colombia not with empty hands but instead with American friends who share and are filled with a passion to serve our dear people in need.”

Both Alejandro and Maria Amalia were born and grew up in Bogota. Their lives of service soon began after finishing their schooling, Alejandro as a medical doctor and Maria Amalia as a psychologist. Alejandro lived and served in the jungles where medical services were not available. There he was touched by the hard work, generosity and warmth of the peasants, despite their difficult conditions of life. Maria Amalia worked in the poor barrios of Bogota in community development where the people always had a smile and hope.

Even in the midst of suffering and such poor conditions, she was touched by their perseverance and trust in God.

Their sons, Alejandro and Nicholas, were born in the States while Alejandro and Maria Amalia were there on a sabbatical. They fell in love with Oregon and have lived there since. As a practicing doctor, Alejandro has had the privilege to apply the most modern treatments of environmental medicine for Autism cases and serves Americans and Hispanic communities in need of these treatments.

However, they have continued to be drawn back to their homeland of Colombia to serve the people. They make frequent trips back to participate in missions to show compassion to and serve those who don´t have the minimum conditions for a decent human life. Colombians making a difference in Colombia!