Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A man with heart: Louis Yuhasz

We are lucky. People in the Lowcountry amaze me by their response to everyday life, to struggles, to happiness and celebration. People here have heart. They care about neighbors and friends and community, about kids or the elderly or folks simply scraping to make ends meet. I met someone – Louis Yuhasz – a while back who definitely has heart, but, more impressive, is what he does with that heart...

Those who know Louis Yuhasz are nodding their heads “YES!!” and agreeing that he is an impressive guy. He founded a nonprofit, named after his dad, called Louie’s Kids whose mission is “fighting obesity one child at a time.” When I first met him, I admit that I wondered, “why kids struggling with weight?!” – it’s not a “popular” issue or one makes the hair on the back of the neck stand on end. As with so many nonprofit people, his passion was ignited by personal experience or higher calling. In Louis’ case, it was both of these: You see, his dad Louie Yuhasz, died in 2001 from complications of obesity, so Louis (the son) saw first-hand the effects of excessive weight on the individual and the family. In the wake of his dad’s passing, Louis started to find meaning in the loss and began working with kids to find a solution for their obesity. I don’t know Louis well (and it’s a safe bet that he doesn’t remember meeting me), but my guess is that he struggled some with how hard his dad’s life was. I’d also venture to say that rather than forget about his dad’s struggle weight, about how hard it was to find proper care, or about how hard and mean people can be, his heart told him to do something positive. If you happen upon Louis Yuhasz, you’ll recognize that his passion to early intervention and long-term healthy living is no pie-in-the sky idea. He’s on to something, and he’s thrown himself entirely into it. Check out the website (http://www.louieskids.org/) and you’ll see how impressive his heart is and, thankfully, how smart he is at this work. I was lucky to meet Louis Yuhasz. The kids he works with are lucky. And if you want to know why his work is so important, click here (if you’re not into research-speak, just look at the graphs). And click here if you want to find out if you eat enough fruits and veggies.

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