#NADHandwave: September 2015

Hailing from Chicago, Illinois, Michelle “Elle” Mendiola is a person that the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) is excited to showcase as our #NADhandwave of September 2015. She has shown courage and leadership in her work as an advocate and counselor with the Chicago Hearing Society (CHS) as she provides one-on-one support to many individuals with compassion, empathy and support. Elle is well respected in the deaf Community, as she goes above and beyond her job duties at CHS, and is always ready and willing to challenge herself with new goals. 

With a Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology, Elle began her career at CHS as a Domestic Violence Counselor providing support, counseling and advocacy to victims who are deaf or hard of hearing.  She continues in this capacity and provides workshops and education throughout the Chicago-area on the rights of people who are deaf and/or hard of hearing. Elle has undergone the Deaf Self Advocacy Training Program where she in-turn provides training to the deaf Community on self advocacy.

Elle has expanded her role at CHS to include Manager of the Youth Program where she also serves as a leader and mentor to children who are deaf/hard of hearing throughout the Chicago-area. The goal of this program is to provide deaf and hard of hearing youth with improved self-awareness, self-esteem and self-worth while encouraging independence and readiness for life in a hearing world.  She also manages the “Adult Role Models in Education of the Deaf” (ARMED) program, which is a unique program where deaf and hard of hearing adults from all kinds of jobs and careers travel to schools with deaf and hard of hearing children. Through this program, the children are able to see deaf and hard of hearing adult role models in all kinds of jobs and envision all kinds of job possibilities for themselves.

As if that is not enough, Elle is also a founding member of the CHS Emerging Leaders Roundtable. This is a group that focuses on fostering leadership within the deaf and hard of hearing community, and to encourage these emerging leaders to take on positions within important committees and boards.

Elle is a parent to three beautiful girls, two of whom are hard of hearing.

Elle, the NAD thanks you for your extraordinary commitment and steadfast loyalty to the deaf and hard of hearing community! Your service does not go unnoticed!

The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) gives monthly #NADhandwaves to people in our community. This is great opportunity for the NAD to recognize exemplary people for the work they do. With such great people, the world continues to progress. If you know someone who deserves a #NADHandwave, submit your suggestion online!


The NAD was established in 1880 by deaf leaders who believed in the right of the American deaf community to use sign language, to congregate on issues important to them, and to have its interests represented at the national level. As a nonprofit federation, the mission of the NAD is to preserve, protect, and promote the civil, human, and linguistic rights of deaf and hard of hearing people in the United States. The advocacy scope of the NAD is broad, covering the breadth of a lifetime and impacting future generations in the areas of early intervention, education, employment, health care, technology, telecommunications, youth leadership, and more.