Staff Spotlight: Jen Schneider

November 1, 2023

Written by Kendell Moats

Sustainable Friendships & Lifestyle

“I couldn’t picture working somewhere else. I love the residents, my co-workers, and everything in between about Garden Spot Village,” says Jen Schneider, cook supervisor in Central Kitchen.

Jen Schneider is a role model to many: her kids, her co-workers, and her goats at home. She started working at Garden Spot Village ten years ago and has built valuable friendships and connections during this time. At first she didn’t see herself succeeding in her position, but Garden Spot ended up being the perfect fit.

Previously, Jen was a district manager for Subway. Although she enjoyed her job, she was looking for a new opportunity that would provide health insurance. She stumbled across Garden Spot Village’s opening for a cook supervisor and took the plunge into a position she had never held before.

“I did lots of crying at first,” Jen states when asked how she felt at the start of the new job. Jen was now tasked with cooking meals on a different scale than she did in her home, and she was taught many different positions in the kitchen. However, with the help of her encouraging husband and co-workers, her position at Garden Spot turned around.

Jen soon realized that her job was much more than being a cook supervisor. “I became someone for the young adults in the kitchen to talk to and connect with,” Jen says.

She has made meaningful friendships and stays connected with 90 percent of the teens who have come through Garden Spot Village. She is known as “Momma Jen” in the kitchen.

Jen and her family moved to a small farmette about an hour away from New Holland a couple of years ago. After moving, she thought about getting a job closer to her new home, but she couldn’t leave the community she has at Garden Spot Village.

The Schneiders have cows, goats and chickens, and try to live an environmentally friendly lifestyle. They collect rainwater, Jen takes food scraps from the Harvest Table to feed to her pigs, and they do their own butchering. Her three kids all help with the farm, and they all enjoy their daily tasks. Jen likes the farm-to-table lifestyle they have created, as well as the calming countryside. 

Meaningful, lasting friendships and a sustainable lifestyle are important for Jen and for Garden Spot Village. Each day Jen is building new relationships and being a listening ear for those in need. With supportive co-workers and family, Jen will continue to thrive as she works with purpose in community. 

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