Michele Meleen is a Staff Writer based in Westfield, NY specializing in lifestyle, counseling, and family topics. She has an M.S.Ed. in School Counseling. Her work has been published on local and international blogs, websites such as the Chautauqua County Visitor's Bureau, print publications, and you can find her answering questions on Quora.
Baby, Kids, Teens, and Family
As the Director of Summer Programs for Westfield Recreation Department Michele coordinated daily activities and swimming programs for kids from infancy through age 18 and their families. She has completed certified courses in SIDS training, Infant/Child/Adult CPR and First Aid, and day care regulations for all ages. Michele has worked in children's programming for 15 years including educational program planning, lesson planning, and leading lessons for kids of all ages from baby to teen.
Michele is mom to a 7-year-old boy, sister to 6, aunt to 20, has helped numerous others through child-rearing, and published resource articles on sites like Babygaga. She stays up-to-date and informed on parenting research and trends by attending local mom support groups and volunteering for children's programs at her local library whenever time allows.
Michele was President of WACS Parent Connection, a 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to enhancing the teacher, parent, and student experience at Westfield Academy and Central School, for three years. In past years she served as Fundraising Chairperson for a local preschool and worked for nearly ten years in the nonprofit sector including supervisory roles where she sourced funds, community resources, and volunteers for daily programming and special events like a 5K Walk/Run, children's bike-a-thon, and spaghetti dinner.
As a creative mind, Michele has been crafting for as long as she can remember. In her positions as a YWCA Child Services Director and Director of Summer programs she created arts and crafts programs for children in grades K-12 including detailed lesson plans for projects. When crafting Michele loves brainstorming new and innovative techniques and finished products people can use in multiple ways over a long time. She prefers to reuse or recycle items in creative ways for craft projects that are unique and environmentally friendly.
Michele earned an M.S.Ed. in School Counseling from Saint Bonaventure University in 2008 and holds provisional certification as a School Counselor in New York State. While her expertise lies with children, she has counseled families in a clinical setting.
Toys, Games, and Children's Books
Michele grew up playing games every Sunday at Grandma's family dinner. Family favorites still include classics like Spoons, Nerts, Balderdash, and Pictionary - all of which Grandma is allowed to cheat at. As the Director of Summer Programs, Michele infused her love of games and competitive spirit into daily activities with kids as a means to relate and teach. As mom to a second-grader, Michele now plays more ROBLOX and Pokemon and reads more picture books than she cares to admit.
Michele wrote and hosted a bi-weekly podcast, One Book Two Book Read Book New Book, for families in partnership with Patterson Library in Westfield, NY featuring children's book recommendations and fun interactive activities families can do while they listen. You can listen for free and find more book and activity suggestion on the Patterson Library website.
Hobbies and Interests
Michele is and always has been an avid reader and creative soul. Her library is now overrun with children’s books, which are read daily, and she is an aspiring children’s author. In 2016 Michele authored six stories for an anthology published by the writing group she belongs to titled Here: In This Time or Place and in 2018 two stories for the follow-up anthology title Here Again. Michele also enjoys the great outdoors, especially camping and hunting for beach glass. Three things Michele is addicted to are board/card games, reality TV, and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups! You can find Michele on Linkedin.