By JUDE STRIEBY-RASKA
Staff Writer, The Mail-Journal
For Jenny Douglas of Syracuse, starting as new executive director at the Lakeland Youth Center falls in line with her commitment to children and community.
“Kids have always been my passion,” she noted. Previously a stay-at-home mom and volunteer co-coordinator for North Webster Church of God Mothers of Preschoolers, Douglas finds her new position to be a natural progression of her talents. “Not much surprises me in terms of what kids can throw at you,” she laughed.
The mother of two, she noted that the position integrating well with her family life was a major aspect of her accepting the directorship. She is able to bring daughter Lily to participate in Lakeland programs while her other daughter, Grace, attends school.
“I can still have a family life and my husband can even get involved in events that we have.” Her husband, Gabe, has participated in Lakeland’s father-daughter dances for the last three years. “I felt like it was God saying ‘This is the job for you.’ Everything just fell into place.”
Originally from Barbee Lake, Jenny was a graduate of Wawasee High School. After attending Butler University, she graduated from IPFW with a degree in business marketing. During this time, she met Gabe and moved to Fort Wayne. In 2012, she moved back to the Syracuse area with her family.
As a Syracuse resident, naturally her hobbies are anything to do with the lake. She is also a reader and avid traveller. Although she has been to Mexico, Hawaii and Alaska, she admitted that her favorite place to visit is the Florida Gulf Coast. This is not surprising for the self-described homebody.
“We like to just watch shows together and spend time with our kids and family.” She described her perfect weekend as starting with family brunch on a summer day, packing a lunch for boating with her kids and husband, and ending with a barbecue by the lake.
While her children are her joy, her husband is her reason to laugh. “He is very rarely serious and gives me a hard time, which I love about him because I tend to be more of a serious person,” Jenny said. “He is just awesome.”
She hopes to broaden Lakeland’s community outreach through her new position.“We have a lot of wonderful donors that have helped make this community center run and helped us give scholarships to kids to play soccer and to come to preschool,” she said.
“I would love for everybody to be involved in at least one of our programs. Give it a try. If you don’t feel like financially you can do it, call us. We are here to help our community and we want people to come in and check us out. Whether it be preschool or activities, we want to get those kids involved.”