Meet our CHAngemakers - everyday people who make a difference in their community, impact the lives of those around them and strive for a brighter future. We invite you to read their inspiring stories here and we encourage you to check back often for new stories. CHA is honored to highlight the uplifting work of these individuals as they make themselves, their families and their local communities stronger.
CHAngemaker: Reggie Hatley
Reggie Hatley never dreamed he’d be advising CEO’s at age 16, or making policy recommendations for the city of Chicago as a high schooler. But this past summer, the high school junior found himself doing exactly that when he joined the inaugural CHA Youth Council sponsored by Mikva Challenge.
“This is not like any other job in the world! We get our work done and have fun at the same time. I feel like I’m a part of something special and I’ve met people like me that want to make Chicago a better place.”
– Reggie Hatley, CHA Youth Council Member
CHAngemaker: Susan Tovar
Susan Tovar, a mother of three, is among the recent CHA residents who purchased a new home as the agency’s “Choose to Own” (CTO) program celebrates its 500th closing. When Tovar found about the CTO program she worked on her credit, saved up money, and then finally joined the program. When she landed a job with Easter Seals as a case manager, she was ready.
“My little one gets home from school, and goes right out to the backyard and play. I watch him through the window. That means so much to me.”
– Susan Tovar, Home Owner
CHAngemaker: Christine Magee
CHA resident Christine Magee, a participant in the CHA Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS), program was highlighted in the New York Times for building $7,765 in escrow and improving her credit score from 540 to 720 in just two years. Originally, Magee joined the Family Self Sufficiency program simply to improve her credit score after racking up $22,000 in debt, but soon she discovered she could do so much more.
“I could have stayed on for another three years and continued to build escrow, but I thought, ‘You’ve accomplished your goal. Give someone else a chance. Anybody would be crazy not to take advantage of this program.” - Christine Magee, FSS Graduate
CHAngemaker: Kenya Robertson
Kenya Robertson’s dream is becoming a reality.
The South Side resident and CHA voucher holder will open the FAM Entertainment Theater Company performing arts space on Oct. 22, a collaborative with a mission to inspire women, artists and youth.
“I am very excited! This has been a dream of mine for over 10 years. I have been doing this as a hobby. But after receiving the grant from CHA and taking classes at the Urban League, it helped my dream move out of ‘hobby mode’ and establish a business.” – Kenya Robertson
CHAngemaker: Armeker Wright
A new grocery store coming to your neighborhood is always good news, but for Armeker Wright, it means so much more. The Oakwood Shores resident is one of 97 CHA residents who is working at the new Mariano’s in Bronzeville, and her road to success started with her own great attitude, big smile and determination to land a job at the store that’s just one block from her home.
CHA sold the land to developers Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives and WBS Equities, LLC and as part of the land sale, Mariano’s agreed to hire CHA residents. CHA’s role in the project underscores how its investments in people and community assets are making an impact on
people’s lives and Chicago neighborhoods.