Meet Michele Aylward, Client Services Coordinator who supervises the nine Support Coordinators working with young children. Michele has been with BCFR for 25 years and is proud to work for an agency that can “do so much and can do it so well for the individuals we serve.” After graduating with a degree in psychology, Michele worked for two years in a sheltered workshop. She had no experience working with individuals with developmental disabilities, yet she says, “within three minutes, I knew,” the field was the right fit. Michele continued working as she earned her master’s in Special Education and got a job at BCFR thereafter. BCFR had only recently started providing service coordination and Michele found it “innovative and exciting” that the agency was creative and had resources to support individuals with developmental disabilities.
In addition to supervising staff and maintaining a caseload, Michele represents BCFR at various community groups. She is the co-chair of the Early Childhood Advisory Council – an interagency council of local agencies providing services to young children, the Regional Interagency Coordinating Council to promote First Steps services for children ages 3 and under, and an interagency committee providing outreach and services to area refugees and immigrants. Michele appreciates BCFR’s good reputation in the community, dedication of the staff and the variety and type of services provided to individuals and families. Her future plans include continued employment with BCFR. She is excited about what the future holds, noting that when she started, BCFR was providing support coordination to around 200 individuals; and now the agency serves nearly 2,000 people.
In her free time, Michele enjoys reading, spending time with family including her two dogs, and exploring restaurants around Columbia especially her current favorite Big Mama Chims Noodle House. In the Spring Michele can be found observing and photographing a family of barred owls who have taken up residence in a nearby cottonwood tree.