Michelle Wright

Early Childhood Lead and Culturally Responsive Lead

I started at Children’s Justice Alliance as an Early Childhood Home Visitor back in 2006, before it became part of The Pathfinder Network. 17 years later, I lead the Early Childhood Home Visiting program, supporting families who have an open DHS case and are involved with the criminal legal system. I’m also a Culturally Responsive Lead for the African American community, so I’m part of a network of African American providers in Portland helping get people connected to culturally responsive services. At TPN, we look past the stigma of systems involvement and validate who people are now instead of their past, even though they still have work to do to have a better outcome.

About 6 years ago, I had to navigate DHS as a participant to support my daughter and her child. Because of all the connections I had made at TPN, I knew exactly who to talk to and how to navigate the situation, and it was still extremely difficult and frustrating to be pushed by the wheels of this big system. The community at TPN was so understanding, and my work here really prepared me to deal with systems and advocate for my grandchild to make sure she was in the best place possible. I never in a million years thought I’d be raising a second set of children, but I have the skills and knowledge and connections to do it because of my experience here.