Advocacy in Action.
Maryland has been a huge contributor to Michelle's success. From assistance with daycare costs to supplying book vouchers, Maryland provided resources that paved the way for Michelle to earn a degree and eventually become a successful entrepreneur. Time and time again, she was saved by programs that provided housing, food and healthcare so she could focus on her education. It wasn't easy, but she knew she was an investment. Today, she is happy to pay it back ten-fold through taxes, and by creating entry-level employment opportunities and helping others. Her struggles as a 20-year-old single mom has shaped her views on homelessness, poverty, hunger, education, healthcare--and the need to invest in people so they can make the most of their lives.
Michelle has built her career around her core love: teaching. She began teaching gymnastics at 14, worked with preschoolers and teens with special needs as a teen, and taught elementary and middle school at the Owl School in D.C. for two years in her early twenties. These early experiences paved the way for Michelle to understand the unique challenges of all children and to develop solutions to help them.
Her first job out of college was working for Jamie Raskin, running a program he developed teaching constitutional and voting rights to high school students in D.C. and Montgomery County, Maryland. Through this experience, Michelle became aware of the gross inequalities in educational opportunities and became determined to knock down the barriers for students who wanted to make something of their lives. In 2002, she realized that most disadvantaged D.C. students could not afford SAT prep, so she launched Urban Synergy, a non-profit that partnered with Kaplan to provide free SAT prep materials. Through working with high schoolers, she quickly realized that financial mismanagement, not academic failure, was the largest barrier for college success. To tackle this issue, while in law school and working full time as a budget analyst at American University, Michelle began working on a solution. Within a few months, she gathered the resources and connections to launch the Financial Literacy Foundation (FLF). Her passion for solving problems quickly turned her into an expert on financial education for urban youth as she developed curricula, obtained grants and forged partnerships to educate the most economically-disenfranchised students in DC about how to manage their money and navigate existing financial system. Through FLF, Michelle taught workshops and elective courses to over 30,000 students across D.C., but focused primarily in Southeast. FLF teachers, including Michelle, taught in dozens of D.C. schools (including public, public charter, night, and second-chance schools), at Covenant House, as part of after-school programs, and in cooperation with other educational non-profits.
She has used her skills to create Dynamite Gymnastics Center, The Agility Center, Bolt Parkour & Freerunning Academy, Dynamite Tumbling & Cheer, and Motion Education, a recreational therapy program for kids with special needs. From non-profits providing services to help lift disadvantaged students out of poverty to instilling self-esteem through sports, Michelle's businesses are created for the purpose of helping the next generation grow into responsible, empowered members of society. As a state senator, Michelle will advocate for policies that equip all residents with the education, skills and resources necessary to reach their potential.
As an educator, lawyer and small business owner with a background in budgeting, economic analysis and civic engagement, Michelle brings a fresh perspective to Maryland politics.
Michelle earned a B.S. in Agricultural & Natural Resource Economics with a concentration in Business from University of Maryland-College Park and graduated cum laude from American University Washington College of Law where she focused on Special Education Law.
As a grassroots candidate, Michelle looks forward to meeting her neighbors and working alongside them to build a better Maryland. Have a question or set up a Meet & Greet? Send an email to email@example.com.
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