Physical wellness is an important element of our overall health and well-being. There are long-lasting benefits to living an active lifestyle, from team sports to individual workouts to something as simple as doing yard work. Hope For The Warriors Director of Physical Wellness, Sports & Recreation Jenna McDonald knows an active lifestyle well; it is a staple of who she is and what drew her to our organization.
From the early age of five, Jenna began playing youth sports. Finding it hard to pick one, she became a three-sport athlete in high school, playing soccer, basketball, and softball. As she started college, she decided to focus her skills solely on soccer and played at Springfield College in Massachusetts. Upon graduating, Jenna continued to love the game and began her coaching career, which allowed her to instill the same dedication and enjoyment of being active into children and teens and act as a positive influence in their lives.
Married to an active-duty United States Marine, Jenna became familiar with HOPE while stationed at Camp Lejeune. After seeing first-hand what our organization was all about, she knew it was a place where she could combine her experience with the military community and her passion for physical fitness to make a difference.
“Having been stationed in Jacksonville, NC, multiple times, I knew of Hope For The Warriors and their mission,” said Jenna. “My first half marathon was actually a HOPE Run For The Warriors. My first spouse friend was our current Strategic Alliance Director, Jordan Huffman, as our husbands deployed together in 2010. I knew their mission, I knew their passion and when I had the opportunity, I knew that HOPE was my kind of place where I could help every day.”
In April 2017, Jenna joined the HOPE team as an intern as part of her graduate degree program in Athletic Management. Just a few months later, after graduating, she was hired full-time as the Sports & Recreation Coordinator, a role she truly thrived in.
The Sports and Recreation program offers many ways for our warrior community to meet athletic goals. Jenna coordinates several events throughout the year, such as our 30×30 Virtual Fitness Challenge and our annual Run For The Warriors race in Jacksonville, NC, both of which are available for registration right now! She also works closely with our Team HOPE athletes and the Outdoor Adventures program to help our wounded heroes stay in touch with their love of sports. Jenna has truly helped HOPE touch the lives of so many members of the military community, as well as those who support our mission!
“Sports and Recreation programming is so important to restoring HOPE to our clients,” said Jenna. “It can remind them of their childhood, college playing years, or high school athletic and bring them back to that place and feeling. It can be a new release and outlet that they now, as an adult, find a connection with. It can be a sport or activity that brings their families together. Sports and Recreation programming encompasses many aspects of healing to our warrior community.”
Just as Jenna inspires all of us here at HOPE every day to show up and serve our nation’s heroes and their families, we hope to always act as a source of inspiration for her in return. Thank you for your dedication to transforming lives, Jenna! We are honored and grateful to have you on our team and taking charge of this amazing program!
Understanding that physical fitness is a staple in the military community, HOPE Sports and Recreation programs aim to reintroduce a beloved sport or hobby to our warrior athletes. Through Team HOPE, we also work to provide severely injured service members with the opportunity to gain new skills using adaptative equipment. If you are interested in learning more and desire to meet your athletic goals, click here to connect to services.