Who We Are
Rising Above is operated by people who genuinely care about the clients we serve. From the staff body to the board of directors, we are people who all have personal experiences, stories and passions that enable us to keep doing the good work God has called us to do. And that's to see people break free from bondage, discover who they truly are, experience God's truth in their life and the abundant freedom that is found in Jesus Christ. We are fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, husbands, wives, grandfathers, grandmothers, and friends who have come together for one purpose...to see people break free from their cycle of defeat.
mel siggelkow - executive director
In 2007 Mel began Rising Above as a ministry through the Church he was pastoring in Grande Prairie, Alberta. This ministry grew quickly, and after 20 years of pastoral ministry Mel realized that his passion for helping people “break cycles of defeat” was pulling him more towards the ministry of Rising Above. Mel transitioned out of the Church leadership role to devote his energy towards Rising Above. Mel says, “seeing people break free from destructive patterns is the most rewarding and fulfilling work I have ever been involved with.” Mel enjoys opportunities to share about Rising Above with various groups and speaking at different churches.
Mel and his wife Liz have been married for over 30 years and have raised three amazing kids who are now young adults. They are thrilled to see the hearts of compassion and outreach in each of their children.
Both Mel and Liz were raised in strong Christian families and were modeled a lifestyle of compassion. Those seeds have grown and the passion to help people is what keeps them so engaged with a ministry like Rising Above.
Rick zimmerman - Operations MANAGER
My wife, Brenda, and I moved to the Peace country in 1990 after having been raised in the Edmonton area. We moved primarily to have a better life for our growing family. At that time, I was working in the private home and hospital health industry. After leaving patient care I worked in the farm equipment industry for 25-years in a variety of roles, including a shareholder, retiring in November of 2019. Youth ministry was always our passion. Brenda and I were both youth leaders for 15 years in our local church. Seeing people come to know God and experience his transformational love and grace upon their lives has always been our heart. My hope in joining the Rising Above family is that I can play a small part in helping to change the lives of its’ participants. Brenda and I have three grown children, Joshua and his wife Courtney, Jarrett and Joel, along with two beautiful grandchildren who all live in GP. I had the privilege of coaching hockey for 15-years as my boys grew up. Brenda and I enjoy gardening, home renovations, cooking and our happy place - time with family and friends.
Kimberly cairns - intake manager
Kimberly moved to the Peace Country in 1993 to pursue schooling at Peace River Bible Institute. After receiving a Certificate of Christian Studies, she was hired on as an Associate Dean of Women and then moved into various administrative roles over the next decade. Following her time at PRBI she held a couple short-term jobs and then joined the Grande Prairie Council for Lifelong Learning as a program manager for the next nine years.
Kimberly is passionate about working with people where they’re at and providing the necessary tools to help them get to where they want to be. She especially has a heart for supporting them to find freedom through Christ and succeed in their faith journey. “God’s hand has been evident in my faith journey, and I want to pass that long to others. Even though I was born into a non-Christian home I came to know the Lord because of a praying grandmother and the faithful obedience of a Kindergarten teacher who took me to Sunday School every weekend! And years later, the encouragement of a church secretary began my post-secondary education at PRBI.”
Kimberly is thrilled to be part of the Rising Above team as the Intake Manager. This role fuels her passion for education, building meaningful relationships, and encouraging individuals through Christ, while using her administrative gifts. “Rising Above has been a ministry close to my heart. When the opportunity came up to take on the role of Intake Manager, I felt God’s prompting and peace and knew it was time for me to join the team. As I engage with staff and participants, my desire is to exemplify Galatians 2:20, ‘I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.’”
Outside of work, Kimberly and Kim (husband) value every moment with their children and grandchildren. They also enjoy reading, working on house projects, spending time with friends, and camping/hiking in the summer.
RHONDA SHORT - ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCE
Rhonda Short is our Finance/Administrator at Rising Above. Rhonda, her husband Darren and two children, moved to the beautiful Grande Prairie area in 2005. Rhonda's education includes administration and business. She has also completed her first-year bible school training with Victory Bible Training Center in Grande Prairie.
Rhonda comes from a background that allows her to understand and have compassion for those who struggle with addictions. She feels that working here at Rising Above was God's gift to her so she could do more of what she loves.... to serve, love and help others.
STEPHANIE HUDSON - communications and DEVELOPMENT MANAGER
Stephanie has a background in advertising and marketing and applies these skills to her role at Rising Above. Stephanie wears many hats, but her main roles are to manage large projects that will advance the ministry, pursue grant opportunities, and connect people with Rising Above through events, tours, social media, and meeting one-on-one with members of the community. "I love meeting new people and sharing the heart of our ministry with others. What we do here is saving lives and I want others to catch the wave with us." Stephanie has a deep compassion and understanding for those who are caught in a cycle of defeat and believes the biggest thing we can do to impact the lives of others is to love them the way Christ would.
Stephanie grew up in Fairview and has made the Grande Prairie area home since 2013. Stephanie just celebrated 10 years of marriage to the love of her life, Jaydon, and is a a proud aunty to two little ones. She enjoys singing, advancing her culinary skills, getting out in nature, and soaking up time with friends and family.
MARK VAN DER RAADT - EMPLOYMENT READINESS FACILITATOR
Prior to Rising Above, Mark dedicated 15 years in sales at Prairie Coast Equipment in Grande Prairie. Throughout the years, Mark has helped to lead 16 Alpha courses through the Grande Prairie Alliance Church which fed into his passion of helping others find a relationship in Christ. When the opportunity presented itself to start a new career as Employment Readiness Facilitator at Rising Above, Mark knew the time was right to take it. Mark's role at Rising Above is to help program participants re-enter into the workforce by matching them with suitable employers. Making the transition into the workplace after a life of addiction is difficult, so Mark ensures participants have the proper coaching and support to be successful in their jobs. Mark says one of the things that he loves about this job is seeing people break from their cycle of defeat and having the opportunity to witness them confidently step into their second chance in life. When Mark isn't at work, he is spending time with Lynne, his wife, of 43 years and his grandchildren. Mark and Lynne love taking their grandchildren camping and hiking during the summer and anything else that involves spending time together.
Manuel Ronquillo - CASE MANAGER
Manuel joined the Rising Above team on September 18th 2023, and has taken on the role of the Men’s Case Manager. “I feel like I am somewhat of a house dad. It is my role to ensure the men are being cared for throughout their program. That could look like ensuring individuals are tackling their chores, providing direction, staying committed to program components and exploring their goals.” Manuel has encountered the consequences of addiction throughout his life and has also seen the other side of it. Manuel enjoys providing the resources and tools to allow people to learn and grow in various areas of their lives.
Manuel grew up in Ecuador where he met his wife, Kristin, who was born and raised in Canada. He and his wife were married in 2009 and spent several years in Ecuador before moving to Canada in 2016. Since 2016, Manuel pastored a church in Stettler, Alberta and made the move to Grande Prairie in 2023 to be closer to family.
When Manuel isn’t at work, he is spending time with his wife, 2 children and nearby family and is currently pursuing his PhD in philosophy.
Kim peters - INNER HEALINg Facilitator
I began my journey with Rising Above in 2012 in the admin and finance position. Rising Above looked a lot different back then. We were transitioning from Government funding to being fully community supported. Its been so amazing being part of such an amazing ministry and watching how much growth has happened in the last 8 years. My background was in Child and Youth Care working with at risk youth. With drastic changes to my life I went back to school for business admin. For as long as I can remember I had a passion for the vulnerable people of our world and my life experiences have prepared my heart and deepened my passion for people.
I worked in the admin position for 3 years. In 2015 I felt God calling me in a different direction. To my surprise and grateful heart, I was able to stay with Rising Above and began working in case management and as an inner healing facilitator. In 2017, I was expecting my youngest son Logan and left Rising Above for an extended maternity/parental leave. I have enjoyed my time with my children so much. After nearly 3 years at home, I am back at Rising Above as an Inner facilitator. I once again feel so incredibly grateful for an opportunity to be a part of such an amazing organization. I’m so excited to be back, and see the healing God has for so many people.
I am married to the love of my life Carey, together we have 4 beautiful children. We love spending time outdoors, camping and hiking. I have recently found a new love for tending to my chickens and other pets around my acreage.
Burdeen starkey - volunteer coordinator
Burdeen joined the Rising Above team in December 2021 as the new Volunteer Coordinator. Burdeen will connect community members who are looking for volunteer opportunities with participants within the Rising Above Program and other areas within the ministry. Burdeen is from the TeePee Creek area and is well-rooted in the community. She obtained her bachelor’s in religious studies at Peace River Bible Institute and has used her heart for ministry to help her local community as well as overseas. She expresses her passion for equipping volunteers and helping them gain confidence in their roles. “I love seeing people’s hearts to help and love on people. Volunteering isn’t just beneficial to the volunteer, but the community and the lives that volunteer impacts.”
Aside from work, Burdeen enjoys writing and photography, football, and spending time with family and her husband Simon.
Board of Directors