OUR FOUNDERS AND BOARD
CO-FOUNDER & DIRECTOR
Hey Ya'll, My name is Ariel, I am a Jersey girl, born and raised. I am passionate about many things; my family, friends, my beloved dog Guapo, food, backpacking, gardening, adventure and most importantly my relationship with Christ. I am excited about serving the Lord and remaining in His will. Human Trafficking and sexual exploitation is something that has grieved my heart for many years. I had the privilege of spending some time in Thailand back in 2012, working with children who were at risk of being sold into human trafficking. I know God has called me to help in the healing process of the women who have fallen victim into ever growing sexual exploitation. With massage therapy, sustainable and holistic living in my background, I knew that these women would benefit with this approach. About 3 years ago, God gave me a vision to help provide a safe dwelling where women could come and experience the tender love, hope and grace of our heavenly father, while living holistically and sustainably. I heard the Lord very clearly say, "I will give you beauty for ashes" right then and there I knew that the home for healing would be based out of Isaiah 61. I then was introduced to Katie who shared the same vision. We got together to pray about what God would have us do. Within that first meeting we knew it was clear that the Lord brought us together for a very specific reason. With that, Zera House was born. Zera means seed in Hebrew. Please Join us in prayer as we hope to see this vision come to fruition. To plant seeds, watch them grow and produce fruit in the lives of these women.
CO-FOUNDER & BOARD MEMBER
Katie Van Gorp
Hello there, my name is Katie. I love to read, run, hike, knit/crochet, and spend time with loved ones. Basically a modern grandma here. Since I was a young girl the Lord has broken my heart for those who have been oppressed. He gave me the opportunity to intern at a long-term program in college and work for a safe house for fifteen months recently, both working with women/girls involved in sexual exploitation. Now, the Lord has brought me to a place of discipling young girls to know the Lord more intimately and the beauty and liberty that comes from relationship with Him. I am most passionate about Jesus and making His Name known so He may be worshiped and glorified...and through that, that people may know true love and freedom. Ariel and I met and realized God had given us similar visions for a long-term house for women coming out of sexual exploitation, and thus Zera House was born. So here we are, starting this new adventure with Jesus as our faithful Captain, and we invite you to be apart of this in any way possible. We look forward to watching Jesus make this dream a reality and are so humbled to be apart of the ride.
Marisa has a corporate finance and marketing background that she now uses to help raise funds and bring aid to various non profit organizations. She feels if there's a need, then we need to all come together with our different gifts and talents and meet it. She has established and organized several outreach programs to answer the immediate needs of the community. After her career in finance, she received her masters in Counseling and is a member of the National Christian Counselors Association. She is focused on helping to erradicate sex trafficking from this earth. Her philanthropic heart resides in New Jersey with her very supportive husband and two lovely boys.
“I have been working on Zera House for 4 years just that part of my calling had not yet been revealed to me.”
Judge J. Robert Leslie is a Senior Deputy Attorney General of the West Virginia Attorney General’s Office and serves as the Division Director for the office’s Civil Rights Division. In 2012, Judge Leslie was appointed by West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin to serve as Judge of the Circuit Court of the Twenty-Ninth Judicial Circuit following a judicial vacancy. Previously, as a private-sector attorney, Leslie maintained a litigation-based practice in which he represented commercial entities and insurance companies, as well as private individuals, in state and federal courts throughout West Virginia.
As Senior Deputy, Judge Leslie has implemented Attorney General Morrisey’s policy to combat Human Trafficking throughout West Virginia. He has trained hundreds of law enforcement officers, corrections officials, educators, social workers, child protective services workers, and other stake holders to accurately recognize and respond to incidents of human trafficking.
Judge Leslie is a member of the West Virginia Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force where he serves on the training committee. He has served as a guest lecturer the University President’s Lecture Series at Shepherd University, taught for the National FBI Academy at its yearly session at Camp Dawson, and delivered the opening remarks to the International Law Enforcement Symposium to Combat Human Trafficking.
Judge Leslie graduated from Ohio Northern University College of Law in 1993 and from Marshall University in 1988
My Wife is Amy. I have 3 dogs, Ricky (Dane mix) Loki ( Husky mix) and Brogan (Corgi pomeranian mix with Napoleon complex). All are rescues.
PRAISE THE LORD EVERYBODY!! I am Marcelena Howard. My friends call me Marcie. I was born in the mountains of West Virginia and then at a young age moved to Clevand, Ohio. I lived a fast paced life. I now realize I was just trying to get home to where I belong. In my travels, I was always drawn to the “fast crowd’. The majority of the women I surrounded myself with were abused addicts and sadly victim to pimps. I couldn't understand then but now see very clearly that these women needed to make a quota for he night and bring home money. Fear, lack of education, events from your past, can and will put a grip of guilt and shame on your life. Escape is the ONLY way out! After my third overdose… I was able to escape with the help of others. After I moved back to WV and gave my heart to God great things started happening. I became the Sunday school teacher for the women who were incarcerated. Given my history, I have always been drawn to those on the streets and continue to do ministry there. Along with “MINISTRY OF HELPS”, I realized my purpose and developed my potential. Through the Holy Spirit, I learned to play the Piano, saxophone and drums. I have been sent to help other churches and ministries. The Zera House is a great place for healing, learning of your potential and understanding freedom. IT’S AN HONOR TO BE A PART THE ZERA HOUSE!