The Story of our Beginning

It was another hot, August day 2005 in Albuquerque, New Mexico as I searched frantically for an air-conditioned building where I could find some solace from the heat and humidity. The week-long Native youth conference at Menaul School had just ended, the students were in their buses and vans heading back to wherever home might be, and I just wanted to find a place where I could lay my head down and cool off. That which I sought came in the form of a library. It would be another day before I left New Mexico, so I figured that I would have plenty of time to rest and recuperate. But as I lay my head down on the only couch in the building, I found that, although my body was weary and longed for rest, my mind and spirit had other ideas. Reluctantly, I dragged my body off of the couch and began to pace the library floor. I was so restless and I didn’t know why. As I passed the same bookshelf for the fifteenth time, Creator’s Spirit began to methodically speak to me. I began to speak out loud that which I heard very quietly inside…

My people were here long before
the others cast their sails to the wind
Before the tears of innocence
like a heartbreak would descend
My people spread like eagles wings
across the mountains and the plains
Now our feathers have been broken,
but the eagle still remains

As this Bill Miller song played over and over in my heart, Creator softly told me that this was what I was to be in the habit of doing—mending wings. Mending the wings of our people so that we can fly again. With that, Mending Wings was born.

Gina and I stand amazed and humbled by the goodness of Creator when we see all that Mending Wings has become, and is becoming, since our humble beginnings in 2006. We are experiencing a move of Creator in our hearts, and in our organization, and we are excited to see where He will take us in the future. We invite you to join us in praying for increased wisdom and spiritual insight as we wait on Creator for His direction and clarity of vision. He is so good, and we are expecting to be overcome by that goodness.

Our Founders

Gina and I are amazed at how Creator has taken a small, Native American youth organization from Toppenish, WA., and turned it into one of the largest Native American youth organizations in the country. We feel so blessed that He has chosen us, the wrong tools in the right hands, to lead such a vibrant, healthy, and impacting organization that we call Mending Wings. We are honored that you would take the time to get to know us, our staff, our students, and our family.

Please feel free to contact us if we can ever be of service to you in any way.

Board of Directors

Omar Gambito

(Chairman, Board of Directors)

Omar was born on the Yakama Reservation, and graduated from Central Washington University with a Bachelors of Science in Biology with an emphasis in microbiology and chemistry. He was actively involved in 4-1 Youth Group, as a youth leader, from its conception until the fall of 2004. It was not until he and his wife, Maria, became youth leaders that they realized the challenges many of our kids are facing are much more profound than one can imagine. Omar and Maria have three boys and currently reside in Wapato, WA. on the Yakama Reservation. Omar is currently on the Board of Directors for Mending Wings.

Lenore Three Stars

(Secretary, Board of Directors)

Lenore Three Stars (Oglala Lakota)

Lenore was born on Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota, where her father was born. Her mother is Minnecoujou Lakota from the Cheyenne River reservation.  She received her BA from Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO and moved to Washington State where she reared her son. Lenore retired from a civil rights career of resolving discrimination complaints with the US Dept of Education in Seattle, and moved to Spokane where she is Unci (grandmother) to her takojas (grandkids).  

Lenore was elected to the Board of Directors for Mending Wings in 2013 where she serves as Secretary. Currently, Lenore is a part-time grad student (Master of Arts Intercultural Studies, North American Institute of Indigenous Theological Studies through George Fox University). She also serves on the board of Three Generations, Ltd, a native nonprofit; as a Commissioner on the Washington State Human Rights Commission; on the Executive Board of the Pacific Northwest Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church (ECC); and on the ECC Christian Action Commission.

Dave Elder

(Board Member)

Dave and Susie Edler have been pastoring Yakima Foursquare Church for twelve years. Dave is a former Seattle Mariner baseball player who played in the Big Leagues for parts of four years. “I gave my life to Christ on the back a of bus in Fresno, California in 1978 and have never been the same!” Dave and Susie were married in 1983 and have been in ministry together since 1985–all of that time in the Yakima Valley. Determined to see the Valley transformed, Dave ran for City Council and won, and served as mayor of the city of Yakima. Jesus said, “If you want to be great you have to be the servant of all.” Dave and Susie believe, “The greatest joy of our lives is serving our church and our community.” They have three grown children of their own and have opened their home to a handful of kids who are out changing the world.

Jon Davenport

(Board Member)

Jon was raised in Wapato, WA on the Yakama Reservation. He graduated from the University Of Washington School Of Medicine and now works as a family physician in Zillah, WA. His wife, Deanna, also grew up in Wapato, and they have two young children. They love to support programs that glorify God and work to bring people to Christ. Jon was introduced to Mending Wings by family members who were active in the organization, and in 2013 he became a board member.

Rustan Leino

(Board Member)

Rustan Leino is a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, Redmond, WA and a Visiting Professor at Imperial College London.  He is a world leader in building tools that verify software correctness.  In his spare time, he enjoys playing music, dancing, and cooking.  He is honored to serve on the board of Mending Wings.  For one, he is a first-generation American, not a Native American.  And, since his daily job focuses on computer science research with a long time horizon, he finds appeal Mending Wing’s focus on helping people get through life now.  He shares with Mending Wings a passion for humans and helping them fly again.

Maxine Janis

(Board Member)


Our Staff

Corey Greaves

(President & Founder)

Corey, along with Gina (wife), founded Mending Wings in 2006, and has watched it grow to be one of the largest, spirituality-based youth organizations in the country. They have a family of four children (Steven, Kathleen, Carissa, and Matea), and make their home in Toppenish, WA. on the Yakama Reservation.

Corey has served as Youth Pastor for both the America Indian Evangelism Association/McKinley Indian Mission (where he pastored the largest Native American youth ministry in the Restoration Movement churches—Churches of Christ/Christian Church denominations—and the Central Washington Presbytery where he facilitated the growth of the largest Native American youth ministry in the Presbyterian Church, USA.

Corey is a gifted speaker who holds a passion for his people, and a deep love for Creator. He speaks at colleges, universities, churches, youth groups, and organizations across the U.S. He seeks to bring reconciliation between the Church and Native people by dealing with real issues, both historical and contemporary.

Gina Greaves

(Treasurer, Board Member)

Gina is the co-founder of Mending Wings, the Community Liason and has served on the Mending Wings Board since 2006. She currently works for the Yakama Nation in the Human Resources department as a Training and Development Specialist. Prior to working for the tribe, she was employed at Indian Health Service for 24 years. Gina also volunteers with Mending Wings as a youth leader. She is an enrolled member of the Yakama Nation. She is also a descendent of the Puyallup and Grand Ronde Nations, as well as Filipino and Hawaiian.

Shayla Tomaskin

(Fundraiser Coordinator)


Amanda Shewey

(S.L.A.M. Trips Director)

Amanda spent the first 23 years or her life in Fort Worth, TX. where she grew up around her family of 4. During this time she was very active in her church where she worked extensively with children. When Amanda was in the 7th grade, she had her first opportunity for outreach when she traveled to New Orleans to help in the cleanup of hurricane Katrina. She also had the opportunity to travel to the island of Molokai where she worked with children living at poverty level.

After high school, Amanda attended the University of North Texas, and in the summer between her sophomore and junior year, she traveled to the Yakama Nation where she was introduced to the Yakama children, and saw an opportunity to both learn from them and they from her. The summer before her senior year, Amanda felt led once again to work with the Native American children, and so she took a year sabbatical from school and accepted an internship working with Mending Wings. This opportunity allowed her to live on the Yakama reservation in Washington for 9 months. There she worked alongside and built relationships with many incredible community leaders, and learned more about the Yakama culture and community. Amanda returned to school and received her bachelor of science in education with a focus in early childhood education. She then headed back to Washington were she accepted the position as S.L.A.M Trips Director.

Her journeys in life have led her into experiences and conversations that have sparked a deep excitement and desire in her to learn all that she can about people and how her Creator desires to see them bring glory to Him. She is extremely excited to be a part of Mending Wings through S.L.A.M. Trips and is having a blast living in community with the Yakama Nation! It is her hope to work alongside her Native American brothers and sisters to develop and direct mission trips that will forever change the perspective of herself and of fellow followers of the Jesus way.

Amanda stays involved with Mending wings through helping out at 4-1, hosting girls nights, and attending special events every now and then with our youth. She enjoys baking, exercise, and spending time outside in the sunshine!

Josephine Buck

(Youth Pastor)

Josephine Buck (Yakama, Warm Springs and Nooksak tribes)

Josephine was born in Yakima County in 1982. After 7 years of Young Life, she lost her best friend—her father. This major event taught her to value good life choices.

Josephine grew up in the Washaat religion along the Columbia River in the village known as Priest Rapids. This religion is very discipline-heavy, and the teachings are lifelong.

After graduating from White Swan High School in 2001, Josephine immediately enrolled in higher education at Columbia Basin College. From there, she transferred back to Yakima Valley Community College to finish her A.A degree. A short time later Josephine discovered that her passion at the time was to be an auto mechanic, specializing in electrical systems. At this point, she moved White Swan to finish her training at Fort Simcoe Job Corps. Josephine completed basic automotive training in 2004. It was in the same year that her first love came into her life—her first daugher, Carmen. Her passion in auto mechanics slowly faded as she developed a passion to work with children.

Since that time, work has a been a blessing and Josephine accepted her calling to apply all her energy to upcoming generations. It was in 2010 that Josephine and Carmen ventured forward to join the Church On The Rock, and both were water-baptized. A further blessing came along in the summer of 2012 when Josephine welcomed her second daughter, Kireen, into the world.

Along with two children, a passion for teaching and playing, Josephine found her love for the Lord and serving the people.

Aside from dreams and passions, Josephine enjoys writing freestyle poetry and singing with her two girls. To this day, Josephine works with all ages of kids in such things as: team-building, social skills, leadership, mentor-ship, and Sunday school lessons.

Josephine is co-Youth Pastor, alongside Corey Greaves, at Mending Wings and with the 4-1 Youth Group program.

Robert Vasquez

(Youth Leader)


Mollie George

(Meal Coordinator & Youth Leader)

Mollie George is a graduate of Wapato High School in Wapato, WA., and has been a part of Mending Wings since 2006—first as a student and now as a youth leader. She is currently looking to continue in her education as she pursues a degree in Youth Psychology. Her bright hope is to make a difference in the lives of young people.

Justin Shewey

(Youth Leader)


Jeremy Vargas

(Youth Leader)

Jeremy Vargas was born in Yakima, Washington and raised in the Yakima valley all his life. He graduated from Wapato High School in 2008. He is currently on Volunteer Staff with Mending Wings. Jeremy was a student in several of Mending Wings programs since it’s conception in 2006. As a high school student he felt as though God was calling him to be a youth leader. In order to do this he became involved with many of the youth programs such as: Young Adult Fellowship (YAF), Rez bible Study (R.B.S.), Footprints of our Elders classes (drumming), Guys Night, and Community Healers. Jeremy says, “My involvement in these programs have allowed me to become not only closer to the Lord, but closer to the Native youth in our valley, and allowed me to lead some to Christ. I continue to grow daily in my walk and in turn help others become closer in their walk.”

Our Mission

Mending Wings exists to EMPOWER Native American youth and families to WALK TOGETHER in wholeness and beauty, HONOR Creator through our cultures and lives, HEAL with the help of programs that facilitate wholeness, and SHARE with others the life-changing hope we find as followers of the Jesus way, in a culturally relevant way.

Our Vision

Facilitate trips for youth groups and college-age groups to come to our reservation to learn about Native people, our lives and worldviews, and to deconstruct missiological paradigms that have historically been destructive to Native people.

Facilitate the passing of Yakama culture through elders to youth—teaching and encouraging language, bead-work, drumming, traditional Yakama songs, tule mat making, basket making, root digging, gathering, hunting and fishing.

To provide high school graduates with college opportunities through scholarships and leadership development.

To hold weekly youth group meetings, providing a safe, healthy environment where spirituality is taught and social issues for Native youth are discussed.

To empower Native youth culturally, economically, spiritually and socially through various programs that speak to each of these areas.

To provide leadership development through a Youth Council and training.

Our Spiritual Values

We believe there is one Creator.

We believe that creator speaks to humankind through his Love Letter (i.e. the Bible), through creation and through others.

We believe that two-leggeds were made in the image of Creator, but ended up rejecting the path of beauty, thus wandering in darkness and alienation from Creator. Only through faith in Yeshua can that alienation be removed and the two-leggeds restored to the path of beauty once more. Yeshua performed the once-for-all ceremony through his death and resurrection. He broke the power death held over us and made a way for all tribes, nations and all creation to be whole again.

501c3 Information

Mending Wings is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. The funds you entrust to us are prayerfully and responsibly managed.

When did Mending Wings receive its IRS Certification?

In May of 2006 the IRS issued a determination letter recognizing Mending Wings as a 501c3 organization.

What does a 501c3, tax-exempt organization mean?

The term “tax-exempt,” when used in reference to nonprofit organizations, generally refers to the net profits (proceeds over and above expenses) of an organization being exempt from federal and/or state income tax. While a nonprofit organization can be established by incorporating, the entity is not automatically tax-exempt upon creation with the state. Tax-exemption can usually be achieved only through applying for and receiving Internal Revenue Service (IRS) approval.

Are my donations tax deductible?

Yes! Because we are a 501c3 tax-exempt organization, your donation is fully deductible to the full amount allowed by law. Please check with you tax preparer for specifics.