50 S. Main Street, Ste. LL 100
Akron, Ohio 44308
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that changed her life
The first time she stepped foot into a YMCA, she was accompanied by a princess, a fairy and a bear. This wasn’t the start of a bad joke, but a good journey, leading to a 17-year service record with the Akron Area YMCA.
The star of the story, Heidi Cucuzza, was once a single Mom. She was putting herself through college, with an 18 – 21 credit load and working two part-time jobs while juggling bills and babies . She missed out on a lot. After four years of this exhausting routine, she met a wonderful man and got married, and decided to try her hand a being a stay-at-home Mom. It was okay, but she was bored.
Then, a little magic entered the scene: An invitation from a friend to attend a Halloween party at the Riverfront YMCA.
“We had such a great time that none of us wanted to leave,” said Heidi.
“I knew this was a place I wanted to be – I just didn’t know how much that one night would change my life – my family’s life.”
Heidi applied for and got a job in Child Watch, a perfect fit for her to earn a paycheck and bring her children for socialization and learning. She later moved to work at the Membership Desk before being promoted to Child Watch Coordinator, while also processing scholarships, and being the Arts & Humanities and Togetherhood liaisons.
With encouragement from Jill Kolesar, then Executive Director at Riverfront and now CEO of the Akron Area YMCA, Heidi decided to go back to school. Her degree earned her kudos and a promotion to Business Manager, where she currently does a lot of the things she was doing before, but now with a fancy title and a little more in her paycheck.
Heidi says the best thing about her job is being involved in the community outreach opportunities with Togetherhood. “I have run several different outreaches for a lot of community programs including Hattie Larlham, Haven of Rest, United Way, International Institute, Access, and Cuyahoga Falls Schools.”
After 17 years, Heidi is still passionate about the Y. Her advice to those who may be considering a career here is this: “Do it! It will be the best thing you have ever done!”