Jennifer Fill-Crooks: Founder and Executive Director
Jennifer has seen and lived in many countries and cultures, and now calls north Idaho home.
Through all the professional and personal success Jennifer has experienced, it is her work in the international adoption and orphanage arena that she finds most significant. She has learned to navigate the complicated challenges which are inevitable when dealing with underdeveloped countries and international adoptions. Through her tenacious will, determination, and expedient knowledge of "the system," she has been able to successfully adopt her children in a rare display of shortened process, and from much more critical situations than is typical. This hard-won ability literally saved the lives of some of her new family. These experiences dealing with developing nation's governments and processes has uniquely qualified Jennifer to be our village leader.
Jennifer is a veteran rider in the international equestrian world. For 20 years, she and her husband Mike have owned and operated a highly successful show jumping corporation. They have gained world-wide recognition for superior performance as well as the unparalleled integrity that guides their treatment of their horses. Jennifer's ability to run a complex business in this high performance, high stakes arena has proven to be an effective training ground for work in the non profit world. The skills she has honed competing atthe grand prix level have uniquely prepared her for working with people in diverse, high pressure situations where communication, decisiveness, and wisdom are critical abilities.
Jennifer completed a Permaculture Design Course for International Development & Social Entrepreneurship, consisting of over 72 hours of university level course and field work and has now received full certification in this area.
Ato Henok Desta: In Country Facilitator
Ato Henok has been the program director for multiple orphan care projects during the last 15 years, after giving up a successful career in business to follow his heart and care for the orphaned children of Soddo, Ethiopia. He has been an invaluable resource to Uryadi's Village in navigating the politics in our area, building connections, and managing our care center and staff to the highest standards. He brings a unique perspective and presence to our team that we are so grateful to have. Ato Henok is also involved in multiple public service projects that serve the local population in Soddo, Ethiopia.
Sister Amarech: Program Director
Sister Amarech is a registered nurse in Ethiopia, and also holds a degree in Non-Profit Management. Outside of these credentials, she's basically a superhero. She supervises and trains our team of outstanding nannies, monitors the day to day activities and management of our care center, which is nothing short of a miracle. Sister Amarech makes sure that each and every baby and child who comes into our care receives the medical care they need, food, clothing, and most importantly, love. She is a tough, smart, and formidable woman, and we absolutely could not function without her. We're thinking of adding a cape to her outfit!
Atiso Atumo Tesisa: Director of Agriculture
Atiso comes to us with a long history of work in the agriculture sector of Ethiopia. He has spent many years learning what grows and how it grows best in the unique climate of Ethiopia. He is a wise and patient man who works quietly and steadily, and is turning Wolayta Village in a fertile, productive place that will soon be providing more and more food for our children as well as the local community. Atiso brings wisdom, hard work, and a kind heart to our team, and we are so grateful to have him with us.
Terefe Dagne: Permaculture Operations and Training Manager
Terefe is one of those people who can make anything grow, and his green thumb is much appreciated at Wolayta Village. As the Permaculture Operations and Training Manager, he is the one making sure that our agricultural practices are executed with sustainable and regenerative methods. He brings with him a wealth of experience and a cheerful, willing spirit that makes him a pleasure to work with and around.
Nichole Grimm: Medical Advisor
Exposure to living and traveling overseas in diverse cultures throughout most of her childhood ignited a spark in Nichole Grimm’s heart for direct service to humanity. This spark grew throughout her college years and after spending a summer in rural Alaska, she found herself passionate about working with under served populations, volunteering on her days off in native villages loving those who were largely unseen. This passion for serving others soon transitioned into a graduate degree at Gonzaga University and she is honored to partner with many on their journey towards health as a board certified family nurse practitioner. Nichole has a deep compassion and desire to serve, love, and give dignity to those the world often overlooks. Along with caring for patients in her busy family practice in Idaho, Nichole works diligently to expand access to health care and promote health equity in her local community as the medical director of a local free health care clinic and is honored to partner with Uryadi’s Village to serve some of the world’s most vulnerable pediatric populations. In her free time, she and her husband are joyfully raising two children on a small farm in northern Idaho.
Warren Brush: Site Planner and Resilience Designer
Warren Brush is a global permaculture design consultant, educator, lecturer and storyteller. He has worked for over 25 years in sustainable systems design for communities, private and public organizations, households, small holder farms, and conservation properties worldwide. He is co-founder of Quail Springs Permaculture, Regenerative Earth Enterprises, Sustainable Vocations, Wilderness Youth Project, Casitas Valley Farm and Creamery, and his Permaculture design company, True Nature Design. He is a consultant for USAID’s TOPS (Technical Operations Performance Support) program where he trains technical field staff, for their African Food for Peace programs, in a Resilience Design Framework. He works extensively in North America, Africa, Middle East, Europe, and Australia. He teaches a vast array of courses focused on increased resilience around food production and the interconnectedness of all life.
Sarah Klintworth: Community Outreach Coordinator and Administrative Assistant
Sarah's personal and professional life have spanned a wide variety of experiences and learning opportunities. She spent 8 years living off the grid and learning to appreciate things like hot showers and being able to flip a switch and have bright electric light, as well as five years working in banking, a year teaching English in South Korea, and many years now as a self employed outdoor activity enthusiast. The permaculture approach to life resonates strongly with the way she lives her life. Through her travels and life experiences, she developed a strong desire to help others in a significant way. The opportunity to work with Uryadi’s Village has been nothing short of a gift, and an amazing chance to utilize her strengths in communication, collaboration, creative problem solving, and commitment to hard work to make a tangible difference in the world. Sarah currently works and lives in beautiful Sandpoint, Idaho and feels very fortunate to do so.
Scott Rulander: Videographer and Community Outreach
Scott lives in a small off the grid home nestled in the mountains of North Idaho. His life has been focused on outdoor adventure and he has traveled to some of the world's most beautiful places to explore their rivers and climb into the mountains. His passion for videography developed out of a desire to capture beautiful landscapes and share people's unique stories. He worked for 9 years as a videographer and editor for a television production company before starting his current creative adventure... Gem Vision Productions. Scott loves the mixture of music, images, and thoughts and their ability to evoke emotions. His motto is live simply, travel light, and share the stories.
Erik Keller: Building and On Site Manager
Erik Keller is an artist, designer, and builder who spent many years doing construction and building custom homes all around the Northwest. He owned and operated Minglewood Construction in Sandpoint, Idaho before going back to school to study architecture and design. He has experience with alternative, environmentally friendly, and energy efficient building systems. Whether he's playing the role of designer, mechanic, builder, or manager, he loves combining artistic and cultural sensitivities with creativity, knowledge, and pragmatism to find solutions that work. Erik has traveled extensively, and spent a lot of time in Ethiopia. He loves the culture and the people, and finds that his jack-of-all-trades approach to problem solving gives him certain advantages in the often confusing and sometimes chaotic situations he encounters while trying to build houses in Africa.
Dennis Fill: Adviser to the Board
Mr. Fill was born and educated in London, England where he served three years in the Royal Air Force . Following his distinguished service, he began his forty year career in senior management positions in the global health care industry. Dennis has led many U. S. companies to positions of worldwide leadership in the pharmaceutical and medical technology industries, as Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, and President and has served on the Board of Directors of five Fortune 500 Companies. With the reinstatement of open trade with China, Mr. Fill founded a highly successful business serving US corporate needs. His time in the Asian markets also includes residing in Hong Kong and Japan for a total of twelve years.
Uryadi's Village Board Members
Gail Greenough, Board Chair
Genevieve Meyer, Young Rider's Representative to the Board