Board of Directors

Michael Wolsh Bio

BOARD VICE PRESIDENT

Michael spent thirty years as an attorney in Michigan. His career spanned both private practice and public service. As a private practice attorney he primarily did family and criminal law. Eventually he became a prosecutor for over twenty years then the last five years as a juvenile court referee/magistrate. He became a lawyer for the simple reason he wanted to help people. Michael is confident he has helped many people as an attorney. However, it also was important to help in other ways and to that end he has spent much time involved in community endeavors.

In the early nineties Michael was Chief Assistant Prosecutor in Clare County Michigan. While there he was Vice-President of the Clare Youth Council, Board Member of Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Coordinator, Clare County Multi-Disciplinary Team, and was co-founder of a Child Abuse Task Force.

After leaving Clare County and upon his arrival in Midland County he continued his community involvement in a number of ways. He was a frequent speaker at schools and organizations on topics related to the law---victim rights, criminal sexual conduct (He assisted in the development of a program that was required to be presented to all 8th graders in Midland County schools), and Law Day presentations. Michael was actively involved in mock trial for high school and the local college. He was on a state-wide task force that resulted in a major overhaul of laws regarding juveniles in Michigan that focused on rehabilitation rather than just punishment.

He was an instructor at a junior college, a police academy and at training for prosecutors on a statewide and national level.

Throughout his career he has seen the negative impact a lack of education, or literacy has upon individuals and our society as a whole. That is what led him to apply for membership on the Midland County Literacy Council. He was a Board member for twelve years and chair half that time. During his time there, the Council grew from a part time coordinator with very few tutors and learners to a program involving not just the one on one tutoring of adult learners, but an English as Second Language program and a Dyslexia program. The coordinator became a full time Director and two part time staff were recruited to assist the Director. Michael is proud of how the program expanded. Much of the success was because of a very active Board and the chair— and Michael working closely with the Director. At one point the program was close to losing funding from the major source (United Way) because of a lack of evidence based metrics to show exactly what was being accomplished with the learners. The program was able to comply with that requirement – finding and implementing valid measuring tools so that we continued to receive our funding. In turn the program was able to use those verifiable measurements to obtain various grants which now is a routine requirement to obtain most any grant.

Project Light is a bit different than what Michael is used to. However he sees one major similarity—this program is helping at a very basic level but has the impact of opening whole new worlds and options to the participants.

E-mail: michael.wolsh@projectlightofmanatee.org

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