Michele Hays is an Evanston community advocate best known for founding Back on Their Feet, Evanston IL: a community working to connect underserved people with resources. In that capacity, she has done everything from crowdsourcing and emergency housing for homeless families, to helping social workers find a Farsi translator, or advocating for social services in the City of Evanston’s budget - whatever the community needs, she and her supporters work to find. 

Michele’s talents lie in connecting the dots: she knows traditional solutions to problems, but also finds innovative work-arounds when those solutions aren’t enough. She has advocated in Evanston for over fifteen years, including working with Evanston Cradle to Career, serving on the boards of Puerta Abierta Preschool, Brummel Park Neighbors and the Bermuda Court Condo Association. She has been active in PTA leadership and is especially interested in advocating for special-needs students and their families. The Evanston Police Department has honored Michele for her work in neighborhood safety, and the Rogers Park Business Association recognized her Hands Across Howard Evanston/Chicago partnership initiative.

Michele is lucky to have the support of her family: her husband, Jason Hays, is an Evanston firefighter; her son, Scott Hays, is a tenacious ETHS senior. She grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, where her mother, a professor at Xavier University, inspired Michele with stories of political action in her native country Argentina. Her father was a professor at Thomas More College, from which she graduated with a Bachelor of Science and two Associates degrees.

I’ve had the distinct honor of having Michele as my neighbor and friend for several years. She’s unfailingly kind and generous with her resources, be it material or her time and concern. Her solutions are pragmatic- locate the problem you can fix and fix it. I will be casting my vote for Michele, not because she’s my friend, but because her ultimate goal is simply to make the world a more fair place to be, one practical solution at a time.
— Jennifer Wilson
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I met Michele about 3 years ago when she chaired a team as part of a new community initiative, Evanston Cradle to Career. I saw Michele lead a team of community members who did not know one another through a process of identifying measurable activities from the perspective of our group and also reflected the initiative’s overall goals. Although Michele has moved on to address other community priorities, our team is still relying on and augmenting our initial work under her leadership. I continue to be impressed by Michele’s community work on behalf of parents whose children have special needs and other residents who need a boost to get “back on their feet.”

Michele has a special relationship with higher education in general and a special relationship with Oakton Community College in particular. Her expertise with forming and serving on public boards and her experience with a variety of community groups certainly recommend her as an OCC Board of Trurstees member. Michele is a keen observer, excellent listener, problem solver, leader, and networker who brings disparate groups together for the common good.
— Missy Fleming
If you care about our community and appreciate efforts to help people in crisis get back on their feet, then you should know Michele Hays, candidate for Oakton Community College Trustee, who also founded Back On Their Feet Evanston. I’ve known Michele since we served on the Puerta Abierta Preschool Board over a decade agowhen our children were in preschool. Michele was the board member who did not have a child currently at the school when I was President, and that’s because she cared so deeply for the school community, she wanted to help it continue to grow and thrive, even after her child moved on to elementary school and middle school. Michele has deep connections to marginalized members of our community, as well as the to the Spanish-speaking community and works harder than anyone to guide them towards resources to help them find housing, jobs, transportation, child care and other supports. I am thrilled at the thought of what Michele could do to help continue making those connections via our community college. For all these reasons, I ask for you to vote for Michele Hays in the April 2 election, and then see what great contributions she will make in our community and at OCC.
— Rina Campbell

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Supporter List


Honorable Daniel Biss
Alderwoman Cicely Fleming
Evanston City Clerk Devon Reid

Abigail Petroshus
Alexander Kintner
Alyce Barry
Amie Scott
Anamaria Acosta
Anya Tanyavutti
Ben Schapiro
Beth Lindley
Beth Perez
Betsy Wilson
Carolyn Myszkowski
Dalal Fihakhir
Dara Ury
Denise Beaudoin
Elizabeth Rolewicz
Ellen Urquiaga
Elyse Fineman
George Dzikunoo
Grace Reczek
Harry La Rock
Heather Sweeney
Jennifer Dougherty
Jennifer Wilson
Jenny Blickenstaff
Jes Scheinpflug
Jodi Fox
Judith Hays
Katey Berg
Kathryn Hays


Kelliann McArthur
Kelly Baldrate
Kelly Kuethe
Latrice Mason
Laura Dundas
Lesley Williams
Linda Del Bosque
Marc Edelstein
Marian Hale
Mary Shuminas
Meagan Novara
Melba Graffius
Melissa Arkin
Misty Witenberg
Nancy Bedford
October Gunawan
Patrick Keenan-Devlin
Peter Spies
Raul Gonzalez
Rina Campbell
Roberta Holzmueller
Ruth Kulmala
Sandra Sullivan-Dunbar
Sarah Price
Silvia Rodriguez
Suzanne Daley
Tibaire Suarez
Tom Couch
Tracy Larock
Vickie Jacobsen

updated 3/31/19, 8:00pm