[heading]Photos by Zeena Gregg Photography[/heading]

Who said you can’t go home again?

Matthew and Trisha Jankowski – high school sweethearts at Scripps Ranch High School – first moved to Poway as newlyweds eight years ago, but were forced to move due to career changes. “But we always hoped we would be able to return and raise our family here in Poway,” Trisha said.

And return they did, in May this year when Matthew took over as general manager of the local Kahoots Pet Supply store.

“Our previous experience in Poway before we had children was awesome,” Trisha said. “We greatly desired having our children someday enrolled in the Poway Unified School District. The time arrived, and we couldn’t be happier.”

Matthew and Trisha Jankowski

The family settled into a new home near Old Poway Park, and finally feels truly at home. “We love the rustic feel of the park and the small town atmosphere surrounding us,” Trisha said. “Our neighbors are so friendly and have been so welcoming of us. We feel this is a safe neighborhood where our children will enjoy growing up.”

The couple married in 2002 and have never spent a night apart since their wedding day. They have two children: Tanner , age 7, a 2nd grader at Midland Elementary School; and Mykenzi, age 4.

Quite athletic, Tanner enjoys baseball and participates in the Mira Mesa youth league. “He was selected to the Shetland Division all star team this year,” said Matthew, who managed the team. “We are very proud of him.”

Mykenzi attends preschool at Scripps Ranch Swim and Racquet Club, where her mother is a pre-school teacher – participating in dance class and planning to be a cheerleader next year. An energetic little girl with a passion for life, Mykenzi was born with congenital heart defects and had to undergo heart surgery when she was only two weeks old. As a result, Mykenzi has a bicuspid aortic valve and a dilated aorta, which are monitored by routine cardiac checks at Rady’s Childrens Hospital.

Current research under way could provide Mykenzi with a living heart valve while she is still a child, vastly improving the quality of her life. Without this research, children in Mykenzi’s situation must sometimes wait until they are at least age 30 before receiving a mechanical or pig valve (both of which also require ongoing medication for the patient). As a result, the Jankowskis are looking into ways to organize a 5K run/walk to assist this type of research. “We will keep everyone posted on the fundraiser for Mykenzi’s heart,” Matthew said. “We know how close-knit the community is and we know everyone will want to help a great cause for an awesome, strong, little girl!”

In spite of Mykenzi’s condition, the family stays active and loves outdoor activities. “We love camping in Julian, fishing at Poway Lake, surfing at Torrey Pines, snowboarding in Big Bear and participating in youth baseball,” Matthew said. “Every Wednesday evening, we ride bikes to the farmers market and then head to Aubrey Park to have a picnic.”