Capistrano unified school district

alumni michelle benham large

Michelle Wrenn Benham's first experience with Y&G was at Tri-Counties, a precedent of our current Training & Elections I conference, where she was part of the media program. During her time in Youth & Government she was also named Sgt.-at-Arms and Senate Committee Chair, and in her senior year, Michelle served on the Youth Governor’s Cabinet. She says, “Y&G opened my eyes beyond my community. It got me thinking and talking about local, national and international issues. I gained the confidence to speak in front of large groups, where I learned to think before I spoke. I still use that tool to this day.”

After graduating and starting college at UCLA, Michelle was recruited to back to Y&G to volunteer. Soon after, she began advising a delegation first at the South Pasadena-San Marino YMCA, and then the Beverly Hills YMCA. She later started a new delegation at the South Coast YMCA.

While advising, Michelle also starting helped with the press program and then served as a committee advisor, eventually running that program. She credits that program with helping her get a job in the school district where she still works today. During an interview with the selection committee, one of the interviewer noted Michelle’s involvement in Y&G. The woman shared that her son had been in Y&G and it had completely changed his life. It turned out that Michelle had been her son’s committee advisor.

Michelle joined the Youth & Government Board of Directors in 2002 and served on the Internal Affairs committee. She was actively involved in the creation of our organization's new strategic plan.

“To stand and give a speech in the Senate chambers is not something that most people will ever have the opportunity to do. The memory and confidence gained will never go away. It made me realize I can do more every day. If you see something that needs to be changed, you can find a way to change it.” Michelle continued, “When you do something that you know really matters, there’s nothing better than that. Y&G gave me that opportunity.”

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