Glass Half Full Honoring Christine Yuhasz
GAR Foundation is honored to present Christine Yuhasz, Director of Strategic Engagement at Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority (AMHA) with the 2016 Glass Half Full Award. The annual Glass Half Full award was created to recognize Summit County community leaders for their inspiring and optimistic leadership of nonprofit organizations.
Christine has dedicated her career to provide services that promote stability, education, and economic independence for AMHA residents. In addition to her role as Director of Strategic Engagement, Christine also serves as Director of AMHA’s non-profit subsidiary, Building for Tomorrow. Christine’s passion for early childhood programs led her to create the Early Childhood Initiative program in 2007. She was also instrumental in the planning and implementation of the Reach Opportunity Center, an educational facility serving the residents of the Summit Lake neighborhood in Akron.
In our interview with Christine, we set out to discover the song that best describes her work ethic and why the glass is always half full.
What song best describes your work ethic?
Somewhere over the Rainbow – I’m always looking for possibilities and imagining what can be.
Tell us something about your job that inspires you to keep working there.
Certainly, the impact our work has on our residents keeps me coming back! Whether it’s preparing our youngest residents for kindergarten or helping our families achieve self-sufficiency, every day has its rewards! And my work with the community fuels my passion. It’s such a blessing to work with so many committed and caring partners who have the same dreams and goals. Our Executive Director, Tony O’Leary has also been an inspiration to me and so many. He constantly reminds me and other staff members that as important as our work is to our individual residents, we also need to be mindful of the impact it has on our community.
What is the last book you read?
An Invisible Thread by Laura Schroff
If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?
One of my favorite recipes comes from my sister Gindy Smith. Her chicken in phyllo with tarragon is the best! If you come on Valentine’s Day, you’ll get some of the heart-shaped meatloaf I make for my husband Jeff each year.
What reality show is a perfect match for your talents?
I must say I watch very little TV and no reality shows. But Extreme Makeover seems to make the most sense since our residents often need an extreme makeover in order to put them on a path to self-sufficiency.
Why is your glass always half full?
I was born to wonderful parents who taught me that anything was possible if I put my mind to it. My grandmother lost her husband when she was 44 years old. For many people, that would leave their glass half-empty, but for her she looked for a way to continue living a fulfilling life. She took control of my grandfather’s company (Harwick Chemical Company). What woman did that in the 1940’s? Her courage, her passion and her sense of purpose inspire me to keep my glass half-full. Working in and with the Akron Community also keeps my glass half-full. The optimism, commitment and collaboration that touches me everyday sometimes makes me feel my glass is not only half-full, but that “my cup runneth over!”