Our Host

Matt Jones has been telling stories his whole life. One of four boys in a family of talkers, storytelling was a competition and an outlet. As high school history teacher and football coach, he used this ability to bring the events of the past and the present to life for his students and players. Today as a father of four himself, an active Scout leader, PTA president, coach and friend he's still using that power to communicate with wit, humor and an ability tap into those human emotions that connect us all, to keep those around him active and engaged. 

A resident of Naperville for over ten years Matt has never forgotten his Virginia roots, his family, and the places he came from. 

Erin Ambre

Last year, Erin decided that she should replace the word "terrifying" in her vocabulary with the word "exhilarating" and she began to live her life outside her comfort zone. Erin believes that life should be packed full of exciting experiences, creating incredible memories and making friends along the way.  When she steps back into her comfort zone, you can find her at home with her family and four dogs or in her 7th-grade math classroom. 

Nestor Gomez

Nestor "the boss"Gomez was born in Guatemala and moved to Chicago as an Undocumented Immigrant in the mid-80’s. He told his first story at a Chicago Moth Slam as a way to finally get over stuttering. Surprisingly, he won the slam that night and has not stopped sharing stories ever since. He has won close to 40 Moth Slams, and three Chicago Grand Slams. Nestor is also the creator/producer/curator and host of 80 Minutes Around the World an Immigration Storytelling show that features the stories of immigrants and allies. 


Gina Farella-Howley

Gina Farella-Howley taught fifteen years in Illinois public schools.  The past twelve, she’s been freelance writing and tutoring for fun.  Her specialty: managing the crazy produced by and around her husband John and their beautiful boys Martin (12), Joe (10), and Tim (8).  She’s particularly excited to explore a new avenue in her life and share some of the many stories eternally dancing in her head!

Lauren Jernigan

Lauren Jernigan grew up in Naperville and loves that she is now raising her family here. After starting off in youth ministry, she's enjoyed a long career in the nonprofit sector with organizations like the American Cancer Society, Water Mission, and is currently the Assistant Director of Development at Hesed House. She's active with her church, a passionate advocate for adoption, loves to read and write, as well as hiking and cycling. 

Mike Lemons

Mike Lemons is a husband and father of three who lives in Naperville. When he’s not extolling the virtues of corporate income tax software in his day job he can be found coloring, blogging, helping others, being involved with his kids activities, and playing golf - as the weather and his back permits :) Born and raised in Kansas City he approaches life with a hard-working and semi-modest midwest work ethic who believes that challenges are opportunities.

Laurie May

Laurie is a lifetime Chicago area resident whose Naperville roots go back to the 1930s when her great grandparents ran a filling station and diner on Ogden Avenue. Laurie started her career as a research librarian and primitive computer user in the 1970’s. In midlife, she found her true calling as an elementary school teacher and librarian, recently retiring after 20 years in District 204. Laurie and her husband, Les, have raised 4 daughters, and now delight in every minute they have with their grandchildren. Laurie can’t wait to discover more stories in her travels and encounters with people across the globe.

58, Tony decided to make a career change and enroll in cosmetology school. After graduating he 

Bob Nieland

Bob grew up on the South Side of Chicago and has lived in Naperville for the past 32 years. He is married with 4 children and works as a corporate attorney for LSC Communications in Warrenville. His hobbies and interests include singing with the Glen Ellyn-Wheaton Chorale, traveling, genealogy, cooking, gardening, and reading. 

Robyn Whitlock

Robyn Whitlock lives in Naperville and works as a library assistant at an elementary school. She is a devoted wife, mother, and friend. She is currently attending the iSchool at the University of Illinois pursuing a master’s of Library and Information Science. She loves to line things up and develop systems of organization, which her therapist says is fine as long as she doesn’t start barcoding her children. She read 116 books last year, but who's counting?  In her free time, she enjoys reading and surfing social media comparing herself to others. 

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