Our US Leadership Team
Founder & Executive Director
Member of Board of Directors
Bismarck, North Dakota-native Patrick Atkinson attended Minnesota State University – Moorhead where he earned a BA in Criminal Justice (pre-law) and a BSW in Social Work (chemical dependency counseling). After graduation in 1981, he turned down several lucrative corporate job offers to work with runaways, prostitutes, and gang members in New York City Hell’s Kitchen. In 1983, Patrick moved to Central America where he began a life-long international career in war-zone reconciliation and post-war reconstruction. He earned a Masters of Nonprofit Management from Regis University and has studied post-graduate studies at Harvard University and the University of Oxford.
A popular university guest lecturer on issues related to human trafficking, international nonprofit management, and street gang issues, he has been knighted, is the recipient of numerous human rights awards (including the Guatemalan Congressional Medal) and is the subject of author Monica Hannan’s biography, The Dream Maker. He is author of several award-winning books, including the international selling Message for My Child and The Powerful You, as well as the founder and executive director of The GOD’S CHILD Project, the Institute for Trafficked, Exploited & Missing Persons, The Atkinson Center, and several Central American charities.
When not being shot at, knifed, caught in car bombings, or traveling worldwide advocating on behalf of abused, abandoned, or human-trafficking victims, Patrick resides with his family in Central America, in Bismarck, ND, and at Hippo Wallow Pond, his family home outside of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Bismarck, ND Office Assistant and Community Donations Manager
After working in State and Federal Government for 20 years, Kathy Bird decided, upon retirement, to spend her time and energy in charitable ways – helping people in need.
Kathy helps GCP’s incredible donor and community support base from GCP’s Bismarck, North Dakota office, and helps them to best serve underprivileged children and families locally and internationally. Kathy also coordinates the collection and redistribution of tens of thousands of lbs. of donated clothing, school supplies, and medical equipment from North Dakota families and organizations, to GCP’s charities worldwide in addition to needy regional charitable efforts.
Over the years, Kathy has taught English to refugees from Thailand, and served in the “Big Sister” program. She loves spending time with children and families, and helping others who may need a little extra care during difficult moments in life.
Amy C. Brueckner
HUMAN TRAFFICKING SPECIALIST
Director of Community Engagement – Philadelphia, PA
Member of Board of Directors
Philadelphia-native Brendan Dwyer first worked with The GOD’S CHILD Project and La Asociación Nuestros Ahijados (ANA) in 2009, when he was 16 and joined his first ServiceTeam Experience trip to Guatemala. He immediately fell in love with GCP and the work and would later lead several more trips while recruiting new volunteers to join him.
Brendan graduated with a degree in Finance and a Spanish minor from Villanova University in 2014 and worked for five years at a Philadelphia brokerage firm before moving to Guatemala to work as the ANA’s National Director for two years (2020-2021).
Brendan is now back in the Philadelphia area where he works as a financial advisor, in addition to his role as GCP’s Director of Community Engagement for the East Coast.
As Director of Community Engagement, Brendan leads speaking engagements to support fundraising efforts, generates volunteer and ServiceTeam Experience interest, and raises awareness. He continues to lead ServiceTeam Experiences to Guatemala to build homes, care for baby-patients at Casa Jackson for Malnourished Children, and distribute food and clothing to ANA’s children and families.
Brendan considers Guatemala to be his second home and holds the Project close to his heart. He believes visits to GCP and ANA are crucial for people to witness true poverty first-hand so they can better understand the tools people need to break out of poverty forever.
Edward P. Hickey
MEMBER OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Edward P. Hickey was a Senior Leader at Vanguard managing a team of Investment Advisors who helped their nonprofit clients achieve their missions. Edward was also responsible for helping to grow and manage Vanguard’s Nonprofit Institutional Services’ $65 billion Outsourced Chief Investment Officer services.
Edward very recently retired from the financial services industry to live in Guatemala where he is learning Spanish and volunteering with The GOD’S CHILD Project-affiliated Nuestros Ahijados program in different leadership projects.
Patrick Martin has lived a life filled with diverse experiences and achievements.
Born and raised in picturesque Michigan, Patrick developed a deep connection to nature’s beauty at an early age, which eventually led him to earn a Bachelor of Science in Geology degree from Albion College.
After graduation, Patrick dedicated the next 21 years to serving his community in a professional career with the Michigan Department of Transportation. He played an integral role in ensuring the quality of the materials used in the development and maintenance of Michigan’s roadways
Going beyond his professional endeavors, Patrick’s commitment to community service and leadership is evident. As a youth, he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout, demonstrating his dedication, leadership, and resourcefulness. He continues to possess a diverse range of interests and hobbies.
He is an avid reader and sports enthusiast, with a particular passion for golf. Whether he’s on the golf course, wielding a racket on the tennis court, or exploring the great outdoors through hiking, Patrick’s active lifestyle reflects his zest for life and his appreciation for the natural world.
Kimberly graduated from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota Twin Cities with a BS in Marketing. She has always had a love for travel, particularly Mexico, and is passionate about helping others and learning about different cultures. Kimberly began her career in the travel industry and quickly determined that her niche was planning events and creating unforgettable experiences for people to share. Through her career she was able to work with a wide array of clients, but working with non-profits always held a special place in her heart. Helping others comes second nature to Kimberly and she has volunteered with numerous local animal rescues and People Serving People in Minneapolis.
After many successful years in event planning, Kimberly decided that it was time to shift career paths to something more meaningful where she could truly make a difference. Kimberly oversees the daily operations in Minneapolis and truly enjoys working with our team who are dedicated to being of service to others. The best part of her job is hearing the children’s success stories and connecting with donors and volunteers.
Amelia, a native of central Illinois, is a dedicated advocate for education, holding a degree in Elementary Education from Butler University. With a background spanning 15 years, she has passionately pursued her love for education as both a public-school educator and a teacher leader, also contributing to various instructional companies. Driven by her firm belief that everyone deserves access to a quality education, Amelia has found her purpose with The GOD’S CHILD Project.
She is committed to making a positive impact and derives joy from the opportunity to continue creating a difference in our world and building meaningful relationships along the way. Beyond her professional endeavors, Amelia cherishes moments spent with her family, friends, and beloved dogs. In her spare time, Amelia and her husband enjoy traveling, cooking, and playing golf together. As a die-hard Chicago sports fan (Go Cubs Go!), she loves cheering on her favorite teams!
Dan Morgan, MSW, DCSW
Member of the Board of Directors
Sponsorship and Program Coordinator
Alyza took her first international trip to Guatemala in the Spring of 2021 where she helped build a house, cared for kids at Casa Jackson Hospital for Malnourished Children, collaborated with volunteers and staff, and distributed food to families in need. In her role as Program Coordinator Alyza helps volunteers, sponsors, and donors have a positive experience. She especially enjoys working with GCP because she believes it is important to help children who lack access to the basic tools to succeed, such as healthcare and education.
Alyza began her career working for large corporations, but after a few years switched to non-profit employment as she wanted to do work that is more personally fulfilling. Her first foray into charity work promoted fair trade artists in developing countries using sustainable resources. Working to improve the lives of families around the world is a cause close to her heart.