Torie Bolster — Staff member since June 2015
Torie may have been born and raised on the Southside of Chicago, but her heart has always yearned for the country roads of West Virginia to take her home. Having sojourned in the summer of 2014, she came to the realization that the staff life was the life for her… and the rest is history! After graduating from Saint Xavier University, Torie traded in her fancy pants and city shoes for work boots, overalls, and a simpler life. Here at the farm, you can find Tor Tor snuggling with Oscar and Ava, being the number-one hype gurl, and hiking/running through the hollow. If you can’t find her in any of those places, she is probably up on a roof, in the garden, or keeping things fun in the kitchen. Wait, no… she’s more than likely still hanging out with the shmushy-faced pups.
COURTNEY SMOLA — STAFF MEMBER SINCE OCTOBER 2017
Courtney comes to us from the northwest suburbs of Chicago. After high school, she became a city girl and attended Loyola University Chicago to study Health Systems Management. When she couldn’t get enough of school, Courtney decided to stay another year at Loyola to earn her Master of Business Administration. Upon graduating, she felt God calling her to the mountains to serve. She may have been disappointed when her high school entrance exam suggested she become a farmer, but after first visiting the farm in 2014, she fell in love with the farm life. You can find Courtney talking about sustainability, promoting compost, chilling in a hammock, and whistling while she works. Courtney is also in the process of overcoming her deep-seeded fear of germs. We’ll get back to you on that in a year!
Matt Kosydar — Project Coordinator since December 2017
Matt Kosydar is the Project Coordinator for Nazareth Farm. He is a kind and helpful man. In fact, he used to have a job at a hotel as a front desk agent. Can you imagine having a job like that?!! Having people come up and say, “Your hotel’s room service didn’t clean my room, so we want a refund!” That proves that he’s patient. So if you have a job that needs doing, my Dad’s on the case!! – Jonah (9)
Allyson Hoch — Executive Director since April 2018
Allyson made the move back to the holler after a few years away. During that time, she ventured to Morgantown to complete a Masters in Social Work, work at a free healthcare clinic, and become a real mountaineer. Her dog Jasper also works diligently at the Farm, protecting the front yard from pests (aka cats) and soaking up the sun. She’s enjoying walks down the holler, watching the gardens, porch sitting with neighbors, and working for social justice in the best part of WV!
Mike Black — Staff Member Since May 2018
If you ever have some time to lazily meander down the hollow some sunny summer afternoon at the farm, be sure to gaze up at the sky. In the highest branches of the tallest trees, you might just be lucky enough to catch a rare spotting of the wild Mike Black in his natural habitat. Once spotted, he’ll likely dart down from the treetops and take off running down the hollow, as he is apt to do. Known for his speed, agility, and skills working on the trucks, the wild Mike Black is a great addition to the Nazareth Farm staff. With his habitat now established in the woodland forest of Appalachia, Mike joins us from the concrete jungle of Long Island, having also spent some time in the frozen tundra of South Bend, Indiana. When he’s not scampering through the woods foraging for nuts, the wild Mike Black can often be found playing soccer, praying in the chapel, working in the wood shop, or leading the hike!
Christopher Ceresa — Staff Member since June 2018
Christopher was born and raised in Peru… Illinois and recently graduated from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska where he studied Chemistry. He first came to the farm as a volunteer in October of 2016 with his fraternity and again in October of 2017. It wasn’t until his second volunteer week that he thought there might be more to the farm than just a volunteer week once a year. Christopher is now the farm’s personal Italian pasta chef and sewing expert. All the beautiful lawn work is taken care of by the one and only Christopher Ceresa. If he isn’t out on the lawns, sewing, or making pasta, you can find him on the front porch playing his ukulele. An avid Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, AND Harry Potter fan, Christopher lives his life by his favorite quote, “Always.” Take a look at the picture that hangs near the bandsaws in the wood shop and ask him about the story behind it!
remy Shaffer Gomes, M.S. —Director of Development Since July 2015
I joined the Nazareth Farm team as the Director of Development in the summer of 2015. This position enables me to ensure Nazareth Farm’s worthwhile mission continues to transform lives and hearts for many years to come. My first visit to Naz Farm created an auspicious start: I had a ‘birthday match” on my actual birthday! I fell in love with Nazareth Farm, the mission, the setting, and the people while learning to install a tin roof. I feel privileged to support our great work and believe this role beautifully combines my personal beliefs and professional skills. I graduated with a degree in communication from the University of Maryland and a M.S. from Miami University in young adult development and leadership. I also bring several years professional experience in development and external relations to my role at Nazareth Farm. I reside in Owings Mills, Maryland, with my husband Casey and our son Bailey and our daughter Eliana.