People join the Y for many reasons – for Jen Reinhart it was first a place to exercise and meet new people after moving to Lancaster some twenty years ago. Since then, it’s become a place where connections, personal and professional, have had a powerful impact on her life.
A shared love of swimming first brought Jen and physician Nancy Brenton together in the Master Swimmers group at the City Center Y. There’s a special camaraderie among its participants, and the women soon struck up a friendship. Jen shared with Nancy that she had been adopted and the doctor soon realized that her friend strongly resembled a patient of hers, Kathy Mummert, who had given up a child for adoption decades earlier. Wondering if these two women might be mother and daughter, Dr. Brenton decided to broach the subject with Kathy during her annual visit and soon concluded that Jen was very likely Kathy’s daughter.
Since Jen had recently decided she should learn more about her biological family’s medical history, when Nancy shared her discovery, she was open to meeting Kathy. Jen’s fulfilling reunion with her biological family owes much to its fortunate timing, since tragically, six weeks after meeting her daughter, Kathy had a heart attack and passed away. Jen and Nancy’s connection at the Y may have begun as a coincidental meeting of two swimmers, but it became so much more – a life-altering chain of events and an enduring bond.
In the years since, Jen has also connected with the Y in her professional life. After many years as an elementary school educator for the School District of Lancaster, she took on an administrative role and sought out new community partnerships. Jen collaborated with the Y to implement its first session of STRIDE – a running and character development program for boys – at Buchanan Elementary School. As in the community she’s part of at the Y, Jen values the opportunity for the boys to learn life lessons alongside kids whose experiences may be different from their own.
Jen can’t always make her weekly swims coincide with the Master Swimmers’, but when she can, she finds that the connections are still there and she receives a warm welcome back. Jen also now serves on the Board of Managers for the City Center Y and recently volunteered during its first Member Annual Community Support Campaign. During this time she fully realized how much she doesn’t just “use the Y,” but is part of a supportive, sometimes surprising community where her own Y story continues to take shape. The Y is interwoven with Jen’s life in many ways, with a membership becoming a partnership, full of possibilities for personal discovery and giving back.