Neighborhood Leader - Kathy Riegelmann

“When you’re physically strong, you’re mentally and emotionally strong. Being a strong female, you just feel so empowered.”

Kathy Riegelmann at a CrossFit workout. Contributed photo.

Kathy Riegelmann, Owner of Katalina’s Bakery

2021 Program Cohort

Project: CrossFit to College mentoring program for teenage girls in grades 9-12

Kathy Riegelmann started Katalina’s Bakery in New Haven and grew it into a successful business all while raising her son as a single parent. How did she manage it all? By staying physically strong.

An avid CrossFit enthusiast, Riegelmann sees many lessons that can be applied from the fitness discipline to life, lessons that she will incorporate into the program she is creating for local high school girls.

“I’m going to use the CrossFit model to build confidence, competence, and resilience through fitness,” she says. “In CrossFit, you’re in a community that is cheering you on when you are struggling with a movement. You have a support system cheering you on even when you are failing. We all need to learn how to fail.”

As the child of Hungarian immigrants who did not speak English, Riegelmann identifies with young people who are the first in their family applying to college. Her mentoring program is designed to help the girls manage and overcome fears of fitting in, while also learning valuable time management skills and about nutrition.

“I would love to impart what I’ve learned over the past 45 years, and hope they can get there a little bit quicker,” she says.