Meet our new staff member!
ECNV would like welcome Michelle Williams to the Travel Training Team!
From a young age, Michelle Williams has been passionate about advocating for the rights of those living with disabilities. While in her teens, she volunteered with the Special Olympics and at a state run residential institutional facility for those with intellectual disabilities. Michelle graduated Summa Cum Laude from Longwood University with a BS degree in Therapeutic Recreation. Early in her career, Michelle became a board member of the Metro Chapter of ATRA(American Therapeutic Recreation Association) joining the Disability Rights movement.
During her career, Michelle has worked inpatient Psych, Addiction Treatment Services, Adult and Pediatric Rehab, Pediatric Hospitals, the senior industry which encompassed the continuum of senior living facilities, Home Health, Hospice and is an Alzheimer’s Dementia educator. A highlight of her career as a Recreation Therapist was working with a teen that had been the victim of a drive by shooting and as a result was left paralyzed from the T-12 vertebra down; that post injury was severely clinically depressed. He would wrap himself in a cocoon with his bedsheets and refuse to work with therapies. Their first outing was to a Go Kart track, where he would steer and Michelle would work the pedals. Michelle convinced the Go Kart track to donate a car and asked rehab engineers to build hand controls. His first time around the track independently was televised on local news stations and he and Michelle were interviewed. After this, the young man built Soap Box derby cars and competes at the local, state and national level. Michelle feels the other highlight was being asked by CMS to develop a training video for Recreation Therapists/Activity Directors for the CMS website.
Michelle is an Outdoor Wilderness Leader trained through Outward Bound and lived in the Wilderness for five weeks. She is the proud single Mom of two young adults and maintains a lifestyle of volunteerism. She has been the chaplain for the Fairfax County Jail, is a Veterans advocate, leads Combat Trauma Recovery courses and is on her church board. Michelle’s biggest passion is her horse Patton and her favorite pastime is training to compete in Western Dressage. She is on the executive board of Warrior Research Foundation and her life’s dream is to build an Equestrian Facility for Warriors and their families, rescuing horses from the kill pen, bringing both horse and Warrior together in a journey of healing.