Sherwood’s first black Rotary president runs adoption agency

As founding father of An Angel’s Alternative Adoption Company Inc. in Sherwood, Michelle Oglesby educates individuals about non-public adoption and placing an finish to misconceptions about it.

Now, she’ll be educating individuals in regards to the packages of Rotary Worldwide, “whose acknowledged goal is to carry collectively enterprise {and professional} leaders with a view to present humanitarian service and to advance goodwill and peace all over the world” — as the primary black president of the Rotary Membership of Sherwood.

Wow, not unhealthy for somebody who joined Rotary solely three years in the past.

“My aspiration was being a Rotarian — sustaining excessive moral requirements in a single’s enterprise, one’s occupation and in ones’ private life — and never only a member of a membership,” Oglesby says.

Oglesby was launched as president throughout an set up dinner June 23 at Sherwood Forest. She took over from Sherwood Mayor Virginia Younger, the earlier president.

Oglesby’s plans for the membership is to proceed its reference to the Sherwood Chamber of Commerce and be extra seen in the neighborhood.

“Our theme this yr is, ‘Rotary opens alternatives,'” she says. “My plan for our membership is to be instrumental in [utilizing] alternatives that come our method.”

Picture by Cary Jenkins
Serving in workplace within the Rotary Membership of Sherwood is a household affair for Michelle Oglesby, who’s starting her time period as the primary black president of the Rotary Membership of Sherwood. Her husband, Mason Oglesby, is serving his second yr because the membership’s sergeant at arms. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Cary Jenkins)

She rejoices in the truth that Rotary is engaged on variety in all its member golf equipment. The Sherwood membership has welcomed members from varied ethnic backgrounds inside the final two years, she says.

Oglesby credit her spirit of volunteerism to being lively in church. “I imagine in tithing, not solely my funds but additionally my time,” she says. “I really feel you shouldn’t should receives a commission for all the things you do in life.”


A Chicago native, Oglesby moved to Memphis to pursue a modeling profession. Her first cease in Arkansas was Malvern, the place she relocated in 1999 with the corporate she labored for. She moved to Sherwood in 2000.

She turned concerned in Rotary when she and her husband, Mason Oglesby, had been invited to attend an informational assembly in 2017. “What impressed me about Rotary was their three-word motto, ‘Service Above Self,'” she says.

She was additionally impressed with Rotary’s historic function in eradicating polio everywhere in the world: As a founding associate of the International Polio Eradication Initiative, Rotary has diminished polio circumstances worldwide by 99.9%, in response to the Rotary Worldwide web site.

The Oglesbys had been voted into the Sherwood membership in Could 2017. Oglesby went on to serve on varied committees and lend her hand to such actions as working the concession stand at a Sylvan Hills Excessive College soccer sport throughout All-Band evening — “we took over so the band dad and mom may get pleasure from watching their children play” — and going to elementary faculties to offer books to the kids to learn over the summer time. She’s additionally loved the Wholesome Smiles undertaking, by which an area dentist educates schoolchildren in regards to the well being of their enamel. Rotary members cross out stickers and toothbrushes, and “get an opportunity to see the children’ pleasure about taking good care of their enamel.”

It was a couple of yr after becoming a member of that Oglesby’s ideas started to show towards management in Rotary. She was chosen to function membership chairwoman, a board place, and was instrumental in doubling the membership’s membership earlier than being voted president nominee. As a black individual, Oglesby is a member of a small club-within-a-club: Rotary personnel analysis has revealed that presently, there are a number of different black presidents in Arkansas, together with Charles C. Harris with the Little Rock Metro membership.


Additionally a former cosmetologist, Oglesby birthed An Angel’s Alternative from hers and her husband’s need to assist ladies who face unplanned pregnancies. The company presents non-public adoptions, together with semi-open, closed and open adoptions.

Oglesby herself was adopted and tells her story on her web site. For 13 months after her beginning, she and her twin brother stayed in St. Vincent’s Hospital and Toddler Asylum, popularly identified to Chicagoans as St. Vincent’s Orphanage. She ultimately discovered that her beginning mom, who was married and had different youngsters, felt unprepared emotionally and financially to boost her brother and her. She additionally discovered that her mom’s needs had been that Oglesby and her brother wouldn’t be separated; that she select their names; that they’d be positioned in an excellent residence; and they’d not be advised they had been adopted. Oglesby goes on to inform how her adoptive dad and mom had initially been seeking to be foster dad and mom, however her adoptive father “fell in love instantly.”

“On the age of 12, we discovered we had been adopted from a child, being imply, in our neighborhood,” Oglesby shares on the web site. “We did not perceive what this all meant for a lot of issues weren’t mentioned with youngsters in these days. After our dad and mom defined our scenario to us, it actually didn’t have an effect on us. We knew how a lot we had been cherished.”

Not solely was Oglesby adopted, however she additionally underwent trauma after present process an abortion at age 17 — a choice she made with a view to maintain her dad and mom from discovering out about her being pregnant and attempting to stress the kid’s father into marrying her. She believes God took her ordeal and solid it into her future as one who helps younger ladies who’ve chosen to place their infants up for adoption.

“I imagine in adoption for therefore many causes,” she states on the company web site.”It provides hope and options. Nevertheless, it should be a selection and by no means compelled.”

And Oglesby can converse from expertise not simply as an adoptee, however an adopter. Along with the son she and her husband have collectively, Oglesby has adopted her husband’s daughter.

Since 2018, Oglesby has additionally provided non permanent housing by means of Angel’s Alternative Haven to moms who’ve been evicted or face homelessness and select adoption for his or her infants. Oglesby helps them to additional their schooling, search employment and procure everlasting residency.


Oglesby’s function as an adoption company proprietor meshes effectively with Rotary service, which comes below six areas of focus. A kind of focuses is maternal and youngster well being. “I used to be capable of converse to our membership about adoption after I joined,” she says. Through the Christmas season, the membership collected reward playing cards. The Haven acquired half of the reward playing cards to assist present meals for a resident and her youngsters.

Oglesby is also a powerful believer in household and serving in workplace within the Rotary Membership of Sherwood is a household affair. Mason Oglesby is serving his second yr because the membership’s sergeant at arms. “This was his calling,” since he’d served as a sergeant within the Military for practically 30 years, his spouse says. “The Rotary is an enormous a part of our household life.”

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