Each week, the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA highlights a member of its staff, a YMCA member or volunteer as part of the We Are Y Wednesdays series on social media. Today, meet Jadie Pearl, one of the Y's great lifeguards and swim instructors who also sits on their YMCA Event Planning Committee and helps plan events like the Fall Harvest, coming up this Sunday, Oct. 27.

“This is my fourth month working here. I grew up in Scotch Plains and grew up going to the Y when I was younger. I took gymnastics and swim lessons, and my brother played basketball. The Y, to me, was always like the center of the community," Jadie said.

"When I was in high school and looking for a job, I wanted to give back to the community that shaped me. When I was younger, I used to look up to the swim instructors and gymnastics instructors and I want to have the same effect," Jadie said. "I enjoy teaching swim lessons, being with groups of kids of different ages and seeing them grow and develop their skills. And I love lifeguarding. It’s a service to the community, it’s about safety."

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Jadie joined the Event Planning Committee as a way to further give back to the community. She gets this spirit of giving from her mom. Her family members are immigrants from Vietnam and Asia, and when they came here, they were impacted by what their community did for them.

It was very touching how the community helped my mom’s family and this makes me want to give back.  -- Jadie Pearl

"Working at the Y has given me a lot of ways to form relationships with my co-workers, the kids and their families," Jadie said. "It’s helped me become more aware of the diversity of the community and people around me, and how people can come together and be equal in each other’s presence.”

The YMCA's Fall Harvest event will be held on Sunday, Oct. 27 from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. at the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA (1340 Martine Ave., Scotch Plains). The event is free and open to the community and will include: train rides, hay maze, pumpkin patch, pumpkin decorating, arts and crafts, face painting, healthy treats and more. All YMCA guests must present a valid, government-issued photo ID to enter the YMCA building. 

The Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA is dedicated to improving the quality of life of the individuals, families and communities we serve through programs and services that build wholeness of spirit, mind and body. It focuses on youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. The YMCA is a not-for-profit organization founded on Christian principles, serving people of all ages, races, faith, cultures and socio-economic conditions. For further information about the YMCA and its programming, call (908) 889-8880. To find out about volunteer opportunities, click here.