Meet the Team
Read about the individuals behind Blue Star of Hope and the Power of One Program.
“I love watching someone wake up to their purpose and their place. I also love helping a young person see their strengths and potentials!”
Juelle and Donovan dreamed that one day they would be able to use their extensive experience as “travel guides” and their love of cultures to bring people from around the world together in peace and understanding. From this vision came the creation of Blue Star of Hope, which fosters the idea that “one person can make a difference in the world.” The Power of One is the program that launched this mission.
Juelle started her career in Special Education, as a teacher and later a principle for a cutting edge school designed to assist developmentally disabled youth of all abilities. She single handedly started the Special Olympics program in Southern Michigan and saw it become a successful program.
Always a believer in sustainability and conservation, she bought a farm to raise her little girl, train horses, keep goats and grow an enormous garden. She always wanted to travel, and saw herself out in the world doing the service work that she seemed so destined to do.
She met Donovan on Thanksgiving Day and knew that she had found her partner, soul mate, fellow traveler and service worker and the man who would be her daughter’s father. Juelle and Donovan have always been entrepreneurs, starting several businesses over the years. J & D continue to take adult groups on cross-cultural adventures, but their true calling is the work of the Power of One Program. They are constantly growing and developing new sites, bringing on inspiring staff members and constantly being ambassadors in this ever-changing world.
“I like to see the look in the students’ eyes as they are the explorers of today’s world, gaining an expanded world view and seeing how wonderful the people of other countries can be.”
Donovan and Juelle have been married for over 30 years and during that time they have traveled the world to places few have seen and experienced cultures as few had the opportunity. Donovan is instrumental in the planning and execution of these intensive journeys. It was during one of these many trips that Donovan and Juelle began to dream about the Power of One Program.
As the Director of Operations for the Blue Star of Hope he is absolutely invaluable in ensuring the safety and security of the participants, communicating constantly with tour operators and continually problem solving to make the Power of One Program a safe, exciting and seamless adventure.
“One day our students may be in leadership roles helping our country and our world shine.”
Christian grew up in the US and in Costa Rica. She traveled the world with her parents, Donovan and Juelle, who inspired a spirit of adventure. After completing a degree in Psychology, Christian began a career in Human Services, working as a Program Manager for developmentally disabled adults and teens and later with the geriatric community in nursing facilities. These experiences all combined to instill a desire to“give back” whenever possible. Christian left Human Services to start an Event Planning Company for nearly a decade, spending a large portion of her professional time donating services to nonprofit fundraising events. She has since “retired” and joined the Power of One Program in a full time capacity to help grow the mission of helping young adults. “I love to watch the transformation in our kids from the day they step off the plane to the day they leave us. Seeing young people come alive and be inspired is what inspires me.”
Christian and her husband live in Austin, Texas with their family of rescued animals. She enjoys gardening, visiting the ocean, boat life, fishing and any activity that involves her dog.
Samantha first became involved with Power of One Program in 2015 as a student. She returned to the program in 2017 as a mentor and found herself completely enamored by the program. We were so impressed by Sam and her passion that we asked her to join our staff. Samantha is now the Program Manager and has been involved in helping facilitate programs ever since.
Throughout Samantha’s time with the Power of One program, she realized a drive to help less privileged and vulnerable populations. It was within this calling that Samantha decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Social Work. She now works with children and families providing therapeutic services as she continues to pursue a Master’s of Social Work. Samantha is an advocate for social justice, animal equality, and mental health.
Sam is a Colorado native who enjoys film photography, and finds unmatched joy in her animals. She hopes to dedicate her life to the helping profession while traveling the world.
“To honor another person’s journey, while leaving them with a part of yourself; the part of you that makes this world a better place. That’s the most fulfilling gift you can give”
Kru Lek has been teaching at Thapsakae Wittaya school for nearly 30 years. Her dedication to her students goes beyond her duties at school. She does everything within her power to help each of her students to a better future for themselves and their families. She loves the Power of One Program and appreciates the benefits of the program for her students. She helps everyone in the program by explaining in perfect English the Thai culture and the Thai way. She an invaluable asset to this program and has been involved since the beginning giving her an intimate knowing of the inner workings of the Power of One.