Born and raised in Amelia, Michelle Ellis first applied to a teaching position at Ohio Valley Voices in 2018. Reminiscing about her initial visit to OVV, Michelle says, “I knew the moment I stepped into a classroom that it was where I was meant to be.” Michelle sets the scene:
“During my first tour of the building after my interview, I will never forget holding Stevie’s hand as he pulled me through the ‘backyard’ room of the Family Center. When I sat down to interact with the children, I felt so many emotions and knew this was my new home.”
Following this life-changing moment, Michelle eagerly accepted the position of Lead Teacher at the Family Center and began her OVV journey.
In the three years that have passed since that day, Michelle has moved throughout the OVV building and worked in a variety of different capacities, including as an Extended Day Provider, Discovery Center Aide, and Extended Day Coordinator. Most recently, she has assumed the title of Program Administrative Coordinator.
Serving in these various roles has given Michelle a holistic perspective on Ohio Valley Voices and its mission. She understands both the granular work that goes into teaching OVV’s children how to listen and speak and the broader, behind-the-scenes administrative effort that keeps OVV’s programs functioning smoothly. In short, she knows that OVV is a team effort requiring an all-hands-on-deck approach.
Despite this, Michelle insists that it’s the children who ultimately make OVV special and keep her inspired, saying, “The most rewarding part of being at Ohio Valley Voices is hearing the children talking in the hallways and seeing their faces as they work so hard to produce sounds, words, and simple sentences.”
When she’s not at OVV, Michelle has her hands full raising three kids with her husband of twelve years. For fun, she takes them hiking, fishing, and swimming. “They keep us busy,” she laughs.
Michelle applies the same can-do philosophy to parenting and her work as Program Administrative Coordinator. “My motto is ‘Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today,’” she says. “I treat each day just as it is—a new beginning and a new chance to do something great.”
It is this spirit of optimism that makes Michelle a valuable member of the OVV staff and tremendous source of inspiration to OVV students.
Just as she predicted during that first tour, Michelle has come to cherish her time at Ohio Valley Voices. “Working at OVV is indescribable, and the impact that this organization has had on my life is something I will be forever grateful for,” she says. For her, Ohio Valley Voices is a family in which all members—students, parents, supporters, and staff members—are bound together by love and a sense of common purpose.
Michelle believes that anyone interested in getting involved with OVV either as a volunteer or supporter will be similarly touched. Her recommendation: “Come tour OVV and take a moment to hear the stories that the staff members, families, and Maria have to share. You’ll see how quickly these kiddos can steal your heart.”