Family: Married to Chris McHarge. Children are a son, James McHarge, 10; daughter, Kailey, 5; and they are now expecting their first child together.
Occupation: Executive director, Pregnancy Resource Center.
Kristin McHarge was recently named executive director of the Pregnancy Resource Center. The message she wants people to know is that having a baby alone, regardless of age, doesn’t have to spell disaster. McHarge became a mom at 17.
“A lot of people, because they’re young, assume their life is over. It is a matter of attitude. You have to have a strong desire and drive. It is not going to be as easy, but success is doable,” she says. “We’ve had clients ages 13 to 44. It seems it would be stereotypical of young girls, but it can happen to anybody.”
McHarge was born in New York, but her family moved to Blount County when she was 8. “I went to William Blount High School and graduated Tusculum College with a bachelor’s degree in organizational management. Honestly when I started college, I had no idea what I wanted to do, so I wanted to get something general. I decided I liked it,” she said. “A year later, I ended up getting into management at Denso. I was there 9 years and was one of the youngest group leaders.”
After getting married, McHarge said she wanted to spend more time at home with her family, so she left Denso. Then the job opened up at the Pregnancy Resource Center, and McHarge saw an opportunity.
“I got into the Pregnancy Resource Center not because of my management skills but because of my personal life skills,” she said. “I was one of the youngest managers at Denso and did it all as a young, single parent. The board wanted me to bring that (story) and educate the young women we serve that they should be hopeful and know they can still be successful.”
The McHarges are expecting their first child together, but initially Kristin didn’t think she and Chris would even make it to a second date.
“My sister introduced us, and I didn’t like him at all. It was a bad night for him, and he bugged me, but fate brought us together because I kept running into him,” she says. “After that he ended up being wonderful, and I’m glad I gave him a chance.”
Here is Kristin McHarge:
What is your favorite quote from television or a movie?
“It is from ‘The Notebook,’ and it says, ‘If you’re a bird, I’m a bird.’ Basically, the two characters were a couple in love. It is sappy, but he was just going to be where she was, wherever that was.”
What are you guilty of?
“I am guilty of drinking chocolate syrup straight out of the bottle. If you need a quick something sweet, that will do it.”
What is your favorite material possession?
“My husband. I just love being married. I was single for forever so I’m glad I waited to find right one because having a good marriage is amazing.”
What are you reading currently?
“What to Expect When You Are Expecting.’ All moms will know what book that is.”
What was your most embarrassing moment?
“When I was 18, I was out to dinner with a girlfriend at a Chinese restaurant. We were talking, and the waiter came up, and we hadn’t bothered looking at the menu. He was good-looking, so I picked the menu up. He asked if I knew what I wanted, and I said, ‘I can’t read this. I don’t speak Chinese.’ He looked at me and said, ‘Ma’am, the menu is upside down.’”
What are the top three things on your bucket list?
“To go hang-gliding, to visit Australia, and ride a horse on the beach.”
What is one word others often use to describe you and why?
“Assertive. I am described this way because I do not know how to ‘beat around the bush.’ I am abrupt and just say what I am thinking.”
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
“I would like to be more of a girly girl. I lack the thoughtfulness, pretty handwriting, compassion and Southern charm that most women have around here. I’ve lived here all this time and still don’t have it.”
What is your passion?
“I think I’m really excited about my new job, and I really hope to make a big difference.”
If you could go back in time for a week, what time period or year would you visit?
“I might like to go back to the disco era. It sounds fun and exciting and energetic.”
What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?
“I don’t think that there was ever any magical phrase that my mother told me that really stuck, but my mother always enforced the value of family. She has adopted several children after doing years of foster care. I had lots of siblings growing up, and they always drove me crazy. Now, I don’t see how I could live without any of them. My sister is my best friend, and I love having a huge family.”
Other than your parents, who has had the biggest influence on your life and why?
“My husband. He is the smartest person I have ever met. He is rational and level-headed.”
Do you Myspace, Facebook or Twitter?
“I have a Myspace account, but I rarely check it. I have a Facebook page also, and I am a pretty regular visitor of that page.”
What’s the worst job you have ever had?
“One of the worst jobs was cleaning a sealer coat machine when I was at Denso. The sealer coat was about the consistency of old, tough syrup. It was a terrible smell, and about impossible to get the chemicals off your skin.”
What was your favorite Saturday morning cartoon and why?
“I really like the penguins of Madagascar. I just think it is clever and cute.”
What irritates you?
“Bad drivers get under my skin. Some people do not seem to understand the concept of signal, slow down and then turn. Four-way stops seem to confuse a lot of people, too.”
What’s one place in Blount County everyone should visit?
“Their neighbors. I think that we are starting to lose the feel of community, and you never know who is living right beside you. It might be someone who needs help, or someone who can help you. We should try to reach out more.”
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself at 18?
“I believe that things happen in life for a reason. I don’t think that I would change anything. I think that I would have just told myself to relax.”
What is your greatest fear?
“That my children will not be happy when they grow up.”
I still can’t quite get the hang of…
“How to put a lid on a jar straight. I don’t know what’s up with that.”
If you could do one impulsive thing, what would it be?
“I would like to let all the animals free at the shelter.”