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Just Gather appoints Michelle Highberg as local executive director

Just Gather has appointed longtime resident Michelle Highberg as its executive director. Highberg was raised in New York and graduated from the University of Wisconsin, majoring in French and Art History. After a prolific (25-year) career in fashion, Highberg shifted to the nonprofit sector in 2015 and obtained her CFRE in 2017. She is currently working towards her Master’s in Elementary Education. Highberg is married to musician/entertainer Erin Highberg and mom to Melanie, Morgan and Zachary Falkowski, recent Laguna Beach High School graduates (all currently in college).

According to Advisory Board Chair Sara Garske, “Michelle is a consummate professional who lives the mission. The role is a natural fit after witnessing her enthusiasm as chief of philanthropy and gratitude practices. It is a joy to work with her fearless leadership.”

Just Gather Michelle

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Michelle Highberg assumes role of executive director for Just Gather

“I feel humbled to serve during this historic time where many feel challenged and alone – even in their families. Just Gather provides holistic solutions to address socio-emotional and academic deficits,” said Highberg. “Some core issues leading to depression, substance abuse and confusion in our children include lack of purpose, screen dependency, broken families and isolation. We encourage connection to nature, neuroscience for brain health, intergenerational mentorship and the power of community as family.”

The team has been working with schools and partners over the past year as well as providing free offerings in Laguna Beach including Heisler Sound Baths, Monday Morning Meditations, Gratitude Hikes, DAA/Dig-Anon and fentanyl education – all with a focus on mental wellness for youth and families.

Laguna Beach advisory board members include: Carrie Click, Milena Imhof, PsyD, Joness Jones, Michelle Kimball, LMFT, Quentin V Kunaka and Kris Spitaleri.  As a collaborative organization, the team invites all like-minded nonprofits and businesses to join for their first You Deserve Self Care wellness fair on Sunday, Oct. 22, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m., and to save the date for their first official fundraiser Just Gather Art, on November 11.

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