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Debra VanderBand - EAD Founder & Executive Director

Debra VanderBand, PEC ES, is an EAGALA Certified Equine Specialist. Deb lives in Kentwood, MI with her husband and youngest daughter. She has four grown children and ten grand children. In 2000, she embarked on a journey of not just owning her own horse (her childhood dream), but rescuing horses from compromising situations. VanderBand became certified as an Equine Specialist in 2006 from the nationally acclaimed EAGALA organization (to learn more visit: www.EAGALA.org).

 

She graduated from a Professional Empowerment Coaching program from Grace Bible University shortly thereafter. In 2010, VanderBand combined her passions - horses and serving people - and co-founded Equine Assisted Development, which gained non-profit status in 2017. Through life experience, training and education, she has built EAD from the ground, up. With tenacious spirit and unwavering love, she works to restore hope in the life of each person that comes to the farm.

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Scott Shaw - EAD Board Chair

 

Dr. Scott Shaw is a Professor of Human Services at Grace Christian University. He has extensive experience as a clinical supervisor, therapist, and serving adults with chronic mental illness. Scott is a graduate of the 38th Police Academy at Grand Valley State University, having served in both local and county units. He is nationally board-certified in counseling (NCC), a Fellow of the American Psychotherapy Association, and a Certified Professional Empowerment Coach (CPEC) through the Grace Center for Empowerment Coaching.

Scott is a 4th degree black belt and certified Taekwondo instructor who leads the Grace Christian University Taekwondo Club. Scott also holds a 1st-degree black belt in Shinsei Arnis jitsu and has trained previously in Pukang Tang Soo Do, Aikido, Shorin Ryu Karate, Krav Maga, and Pressure Point Control Tactics. He is a certified Instructor of PPCT’s “SHARP” (Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention) women’s self-defense curriculum, offered at Grace Christian University every semester.

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Ashley Chrysler - EAD Board Member

 

Ashley is an attorney at Warner Norcross + Judd LLP. She has owned and ridden horses her entire life and has volunteered for several equine therapy programs throughout Michigan. Through these experiences, Ashley has seen and experienced firsthand how life-changing equine therapy can be. She joined the EAD Board in 2022 and is excited to bring her passion for horses and equine therapy to the Board and to help advance EAD’s vision and presence in the West Michigan community.
 
Ashley grew up in Midland, Michigan, and obtained her bachelor’s degree from Saginaw Valley State University and her juris doctorate from Michigan State University College of Law. She currently resides in Ada, Michigan, with her husband, Joe, their two horses, and their dog.​

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Darrin Door - EAD Board Member

Darrin is a proud Michigander from Wayland who served on active duty in the U.S. Navy from 2009 to 2019. He was a nuclear machinist mate on the USS Abraham Lincoln and worked for the Navy’s Recruiting Command as a Nuclear Field Recruiter in Michigan and Indiana. While in the Navy, he met and married a pretty little lady from Texas, Katlyn. Together, they have two young boys and the best dog, Ike. After active duty, Darrin moved his family back to his roots to make their home in Wayland.

 

Darrin is currently pursuing his goal of becoming an educator. He is a current student at Grand Valley State University and works part-time at Wayland Union Schools. Darrin’s heart is for others, and he strongly believes in serving the community around him. He coaches youth football and basketball and volunteers at New Life Church in Wayland. As EAD’s veteran board member, Darrin strengthens our team with his military experience and desire to serve his veteran brothers and sisters.

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Craig Koetsier - EAD Board Member

Craig Koetsier is a husband, a father of four, and a grandparent. He grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he graduated from Reform Bible College (Kuyper College) and obtained his bachelor's in Religious Education. He worked in a boy's home and is now one of the co-owners of Koetsier's Greenhouse, a multi-generational, family business that has been operating for over one hundred years. He was also a missionary in Chichicastenango, Guatemala, from 2016 to 2020. After returning to Grand Rapids, he was introduced to the good work done at EAD and joined the board. 

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Mikala Vanderband - EAD Board Member

 

Mikala was voted onto the Board of Directors in 2020. She is the daughter of the founder of EAD and has had the privilege of watching a dream and vision become a reality and impact the lives of thousands. Through her experience volunteering in different programs and riding horses her entire life, she brings a unique skill set to the Board in a fundamental way. Her youth also speaks to the generation EAD is most often in contact with and gives insight and intuitive observations for growth in our vision.

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Nancy Bykerk - EAD Board Member

 

Nancy grew up a country girl with a strong love for animals, especially horses. She strongly believes in the bond between humans and animals and the healing that can occur there. She is a wife and mother of 13 children, 11 of whom are adopted. Her adoption journeys have taken her to Guatemala, China, and the Philippines. Nancy is incredibly in tune with those with special needs, having raised four children with special needs, including cerebral palsy, a brain tumor, and heart defect. In practicing her faith, missionary work, and traveling, Nancy fosters diversity and nurtures spiritual growth. Through all the hills and valleys of life, she has experienced God's faithfulness and looks forward to sharing that, along with encouragement, healing, and love with others through EAD's ministry. 

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Carolyn Kaiser - EAD Board Member

 

Carolyn recently retired as an actuary for over 40 years, specializing in retirement plans. She continues to work part-time for the United Nations, assisting with various projects related to the United Nations Pension Fund. Carolyn lives in the Grand Rapids area and has three horses, two dogs, and a very old cat. Carolyn has been riding since she was seven and understands the emotional and physical confidence gained by working with these large, stately animals. She grew up in Chicago, has a
Bachelors from the University of Illinois in actuarial science and has lived in Connecticut, New York, and Michigan. 

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