Five years ago, Stacey Schoneman was lonely and down on her luck.
She had just moved back to Lexington from Omaha as a single mom with a sweet baby boy, and she was seeking friendship, healing and connection. She had survived two rounds of cervical cancer and was trying her best to be a good mom to her newborn son.
Someone suggested she go to the Orthman Community YMCA. So, she did. She started by attending Melanie Shubert’s Core Fit class, her first group exercise experience. At the end of class, Melanie greeted Stacey by name and encouraged her to return.
“I thought, Holy Crap!” Stacey said. “Somebody knows my name.”
That’s all it took. From then on, Stacey faithfully attended Melanie’s class twice a week for two years. She also started exercising at the Y outside of class, working on cardio and strength building.
Over the span of two years, Stacey lost 70 pounds and went from a size 12 to a size 2. She lost most of the 100 pounds that she gained during her high-risk pregnancy.
She formed a close relationship with Melanie and the other regulars in the class. At the Y, she found the connection she was longing for in staff and members.
“Pretty much everyone at the Y, they all demonstrate that true care and compassion that I looked for,” Stacey said. “I love the Y because of the good friends and the real friends that you actually make there.”
Stacey has learned so much about exercise that she is now sharing her passion with others through teaching classes. She started with teaching Kickboxing, which she leads at the Y every Tuesday and Thursday.
Her next class was born out of her unique automotive skill set. Stacey works in her family business, C & S Truck and Salvage, and has understood the basics of taking care of trucks and vehicles since she was a young girl participating in racing. And, since she also knows the challenges of being a single mom, she decided to share her automotive knowledge by creating and teaching the Let’s Get Greasy, beginning hands-on automotive class for ladies at the Y.
“I wanted to give them the knowledge to do the things that I knew they can do,” Stacey said. “Being a single mom and knowing other single moms, it’s hard to do things on your own. If you take your vehicle to a shop, you want to know what’s fair and if they are pulling your leg and charging you for something you don’t need.”
In the class, Stacey teaches participants how to change the oil in their vehicle, educates them on labor rates and what things should cost and the basics of automotive maintenance.
And, this summer, Stacey created another new class — the Superhero Workout for kids ages 2-6. Her son, Peyton, helped design the class, which included fun activities like Thor’s Hammer, the Spiderman Crawl and the Captain American Shield Block. She even provided capes and masks for the children to keep.
Stacey said she glad to be part of the Y and for the friendship, belonging and connection she has found there.
“I love it so much,” Stacey said. “I love the people. It makes a big difference.”