Michelle entered care at the age of five for one year and was then reunified with her mother. While in foster care Michelle experienced 6 different placements, which included a kinship/relative placement with her older sister, a group home, 3 foster homes, and an independent living placement. When Michelle was 12 years old she re-entered foster care until the age of 18 at which she was given the option to opt into extended foster care. She aged out of extended foster care at the age of 21.
During her undergraduate career, she realized the importance of embracing her foster care experience and owning her story. She spent time advocating for current and former foster youth throughout California by being a member of California Youth Connection, a member of the Oakland Unified School District Foster Youth Advisory Group, a Community Outreach Coordinator for Berkeley Hope Scholars, and a Policy Intern for the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.
Michelle graduated from the University of California Berkeley in May 2019 with a B.A. in Public Health. Upon graduation, she worked for a non-profit that supports foster youth who experience placement instability. Michelle now attends California State University Fullerton (CSUF) and will graduate with a Master’s of Social Work (MSW) in May 2022. Currently, she serves as a MSW Intern with Orange County Children and Family Services and a Expert Constituent Consultant with Casey Family Programs. She is a CSUF Title IV-E Stipend Recipient and will be working as a county social worker upon graduating. Michelle believes that education saved her life and wants to ensure foster youth have access to higher education.
Michelle is dedicated to working with communities to ensure they are provided with the resources to invest in their lives, futures, and education. Michelle aspires to become the person she needed while growing up in foster care.