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Difference Maker: Michele Barber

Updated: Dec 1, 2021

Michele Barber uses her platform and her heart, full of love, to advocate for kids. She is remarkably passionate about advocating for youth because of her own experience growing up, not having a trusted adult to go to or someone to listen to her when she was struggling. No one was in her corner, and she knew that she wanted to be that person for others from a young age.

People are drawn to Michele because she unconditionally cares for everyone. They seek refuge in her kindness, compassion, words of wisdom, as well as the safe environment she provides. Michele is always willing to support anyone who needs help. It has been easy for her to genuinely listen to others and authentically care about what they were saying. Not to give answers, but to be someone who cared. She knew her passion was working with kids and supporting them through their needs.

Michele wasn't always sure how she wanted to serve kids. As she gained experience - first in the juvenile justice system, then at an alternative school - she grew more specific and knew she wanted to work in education. Michele decided to get her Master's degree in school counseling. She worked in middle and high schools in St. Louis and Fort Collins until her family moved to Eagle County - where she currently is a guidance counselor at Homestake Peak School.

Michele has impacted thousands of lives throughout the many years she has served youth. She prioritizes genuinely listening, always follows through on her word, and will never stop being an advocate.

Like many of our previous difference-makers, Michele is humble and finds it hard to recognize the impact she makes in others' lives. Luckily some students will not let her work go unrecognized. Previous students email to let her know how much of a difference she made in their lives, how some of the words she told them they never forgot, they made essential life decisions from her advice, and how they will never forget how Michele made them feel. These kind words of acknowledgment make Michele feel like she is in the right place.

Even with praise directed towards Michele, she still boasts about her teammates and how vital the team approach is. Michele says, "Every single person has a role - the teachers, the parent, the counselor, the Hope Center therapist, the coaches; everybody has a piece in order to help kids." She says, "I am in awe and blessed to have phenomenal leadership, an inspiring group of teachers to work with, and a strong counseling department to work side by side with." Michele gives so much recognition and thanks to her teammates who make her step up her work. Not only are we grateful for Michele, but also for those who inspire her.

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