Michelle McClendon (she/her) started her PDA journey seven years ago.
Michelle worked part-time as a community organizer, advocate, and lead facilitator for the Civil Survival Project (CSP) which is an organization led by formerly justice involved folx. CSP teaches civic engagement and how to make an ask through storytelling. Michelle organized and facilitated community game changer meetings for those who were impacted by the criminal legal system.
Prior to joining PDA Michelle worked full-time at Highline College for eight years as the director of the Reentry Transitions Pathways and While In School Housing (WISH) programs which she created. Michelle received employee of the year based on the success of the reentry and student housing program which led to receiving additional state funding for other higher ed institutions to pilot the program. Reentry services are now available in a lot of Washington State colleges and universities.
In 2020, Michelle transitioned into a full-time role in the CoLEAD program. She started out as an Outreach Responder, promoted to Shift Lead, then promoted to Site Manager overseeing two sites. Michelle is now a LEAD Project Manager serving the Southwest precinct. She also provides project management support for the South precinct and White Center.
Michelle has over twenty years of experience working in human and social services, healthcare, and the criminal legal system. She is a certified financial literacy coach as well as a certified peer counselor. Through higher education and lived experience, Michelle found her voice and purpose by making a difference in community organizing, telling her story to elected officials, asking them to partner with her in changing laws and policies around criminal justice reform, behavioral health, housing and food insecurities, and public safety. She approaches these issues from a non-judgmental, holistic trauma-informed approach.
Michelle wears many hats. She was appointed to the Department of Corrections Lived Experience Advisory team by former Sen. Jeannie Darnielle. Michelle is a volunteer at the NW Furniture Bank, an active member of the Seattle/ King County Coalition on Homelessness, United Way Emerging Leader, as well as a member of Formerly Incarcerated College Graduate Network (FCGIN). Michelle is now an independent contractor as the lead workshop facilitator at the Civil Survival Project.
Michelle believes that connections, public safety, and community building is paramount during these uncertain times. She is passionate about creating liberating pathways via racial equity and equality, social justice, workforce, education, and housing stability.
In her spare time, Michelle loves to read, enjoys being outdoors exploring the Pacific Northwest, and traveling abroad. She enjoys trying foods from different cultures and spending time with her family, friends, and three grandchildren