Michelle "Shelly" Runte
Shelly brings a refreshing perspective on happiness, letting go and believing in all abilities. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Microbiology at UW-Oshkosh and started her career at the Medical College of Wisconsin in the Human and Molecular Genetics Center as a project manager. Little did Shelly know that her biggest research project would come to her in August of 2004 when her daughter Kayla was born and later diagnosed with cerebral palsy. With the odds against them, Shelly, her husband (John) and her daughter (Brooklyn) have a remarkable story of teamwork, love and belief. Shelly was the Founder and Executive Director of Kayla’s Krew who, with the help of over 2000 volunteers, built Kayla’s Playground which is a 12,000 sq. ft. playground for children of all abilities at Franklin Woods Nature Center in Franklin, WI. Living by the quote, “It is what it is, but it becomes what you make it”, Shelly shares Kayla’s life story which is abundant with life lessons to live by personally and professionally.
Business and Health Professionals
Perspective of A Lifetime
Special Needs Advocacy
Benefits of Inclusion
Necessity of Accessibility
As a mother of two beautiful daughters, Shelly enjoys sharing her experience of motherhood and how she once viewed it as a singular plane of being. After her second daughter, Kayla, was born new roles were introduced which simply did not "fit" the motherhood model which Shelly knew. Some of her roles included caregiver, healthcare coordinator, advocate and instrumental griever which later landed her in the position of Founder and Executive Director of Kayla's Krew whose mission was to build Kayla's Playground.
Within each of these new roles, Shelly realized an abundance of lessons. She is currently working on writing her experiences on paper to share. Shelly's experiences resonate well beyond the foundation of Kayla's playground and are wrapped sweetly in play and even stronger in faith!
Shelly shares her insight in Perspective of a Lifetime, Chapter 5 in:
With the core belief that every community have at least one fully accessible and inclusive playground, Shelly is happy to meet with school districts, organizations and communities. She offers not only an experience-based perspective as a caregiver, but also highlights the overall benefits of inclusion to spark discussion in communities. For example, wheelchairs and strollers both have wheels!
Based on availability, Shelly is open to answering any questions to help groups embark on their journey to build a playground for all abilities in their city.
Contact Shelly for any of the above speaking and advising opportunities: