Melissa spent 8 years in Ohio's foster care system.

Melissa has been in foster care for 8 years; she experienced a kinship placement, two foster homes, a group home, and is currently in a non-relative kinship placement. She is graduating high school in June. Melissa serves as the Vice President of the Overcoming Hurdles in Ohio Youth Advisory Board (OHIO YAB); she is also involved in the National Honors Society. She frequently volunteers for various events in her community such as selling raffle tickets to raise money for Akron Children's Hospital, helping out with various sporting event concessions or filming, tutoring. She volunteers with Link Crew, a program which brings together high school juniors and seniors to mentor incoming freshman during their first year of high school. Melissa plans on attending Cleveland State University to study Urban Affairs.

Quote: My goal when I first began advocating for what I believed to be right was never to be placed on a pedestal. I know where I came from, and I don't want anybody to have to live like that.

Team(s) or Cohort(s)
2017 Outstanding Young Leaders