The Team

Lisa Gilbert-Walker

Founder - Step Up Foster Youth Mentor Ministry

The idea for the Step Up Foster Youth Mentor Ministry was the vision of Founder, Lisa Gilbert-Walker, who experienced first hand life in foster care. Born to a single mother, born a twin, she was placed in multiple foster homes until she was adopted at the age of three. As so many foster children do, she felt like she was lost and did not belong. It was only at the age of 30 when she accepted Christ and His healing power came into her life that she first experienced His gift of real love and that sense of belonging. 

Due to her personal experiences and her career choice as a social worker, she saw  many youth that experienced the same things she did and she wanted to do more. Lisa felt that with a Foster Youth Mentor by their side, these lost youth would have someone to give them the support and encouragement they need and allow Christ's light to show through them. The Step Up Foster Youth Mentor Ministry is one of the original ministries of the Rock Church.

Tina Thornton

Step Up Foster Youth Mentor Ministry Leader

From the time she was very young, Tina knew that she wanted to foster and adopt. That journey lead her to go through the foster and adoptive process. However, starting a new job that was much more demanding, then she anticipated,  the timing was not right. Nevertheless, her desire to serve foster youth was strong and she looked for other opportunities to iimpact the lives of foster youth. That is how she found mentoring, the one-on-one relationship with a foster youth she was looking for. 

She started with one brother and then over time started to mentor the younger brother and that was a the beginnig of a 9 year mentoring relationship with her boys. She discovered that the Rock Church had a mentoring ministry. Tina became involved and started to take on more and more responsibilities, and was eventually asked by the founder to lead the ministry. After prayerful consideration, decided it what was God wanted for her life and it has turned out to be one of the biggest blessings of her life to serve youth in this capacity. For her work with foster youth, Tina was awarded the Volunteer of the Year Award from the City of San Diego in 2016 for the Foster Youth Mentor Program. She looks forward to continuing to bless more youth with mentors and advocates to walk by their side as they naviagate life and the foster care system.

Diane Van Liefde

Step Up Foster Youth Mentor Ministry Leader - San Marcos 

Diane is a devoted wife and mother. She loved raising her two amazing children, but she knew she had more love to give. When she looked at what a blessing it was for her kids to grow up in a Godly, two-parent household, with all of the love and support her kids could want, she realized that there were thousands of foster kids right here in San Diego, that did not have that at all. She wanted to do more, so she decided to mentor a teenage girl. She was matched with her mentee and soon they had a thriving friendship. Diane was able to pour into her and her mentee loved the time they spent together. 

Diane started to help out more with the mentor ministry at The Rock. She took on the role of  prayer and support and then the role of the San Marcos Campus Leader. Diane's energy and enthusiasm is incredible and we are happy to have her at our North County, San Marcos Campus.

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