Yolanda Parker Named GAR's 2023 Glass Half Full Award Recipient

Yolanda Parker

GAR Foundation is proud to announce Yolanda Parker, the Founder and Executive Director of L.I.N.K.S. Community & Family Services, as the recipient of this year's prestigious Glass Half Full Award.

This honor is designed to recognize community leaders in Summit County who exhibit inspiring and optimistic leadership within the nonprofit sector. The award was originally established to honor GAR's former president, Rob Briggs, and expanded to annually spotlight a well-deserved change-maker in the Akron community.

“Yolanda Parker embodies all of the qualities we celebrate through our Glass Half Full Award,” states Christine Mayer, President of GAR Foundation. “Her unwavering dedication to the people of Middlebury and her tireless efforts to improve the neighborhood make a profound impact. Her optimism, warmth, and humor make Akron a better place."

Born in Montreal, Canada in 1961, Yolanda moved to Akron in 1970. After graduating high school, she enrolled at Kent State University and later transferred to the University of Akron. In 1999, Yolanda’s husband Francel became a youth pastor in North Akron, where she worked alongside him. In 2008, they opened the doors of their new church, Open Door Assembly of God Church. With much prayer, Yolanda and her husband knew that there was more that they wanted to do for the community besides providing spiritual guidance. From there, L.I.N.K.S. Community & Family Services was born.

Through L.I.N.K.S., Yolanda found the fulfillment to her heart's desire: to help people that have gone down similar roads that she has been down and to make an impact in Akron’s Middlebury neighborhood, a place that many people had given up on. Her sole mission has been to provide assistance for the disadvantaged and the misunderstood.

“I was told as a young child that I wouldn't be anything. And I strived as a young adult to affirm that I was somebody, but now I realize that I was always somebody,” said Yolanda. “So, just to help others understand the capabilities they have, even if they had a rough start. The journey I'm on is to show people you can become somebody not based on what people say but what you choose to do.”

GAR is celebrating Yolanda Parker's achievements at the upcoming Glass Half Full Award reception, which will take place on Tuesday, October 17, 2023 from 4:30-6:00 pm. This event will provide an opportunity to recognize and honor Yolanda's remarkable contributions to our community, as well as to highlight the importance of nonprofit leadership that embodies the qualities of excellence, optimism, collaboration, engagement, and innovation. 

View Photos from the Reception

Glass Half Full Award

Learn more about GAR's Glass Half Full Award and its list of previous winners by clicking the link below.

Glass Half Full Award