Who’s your inspiration?

Posted: October 7th, 2016 | Columnists, Featured, Growing Balboa Park | No Comments

By Ann Wilson | Growing Balboa Park

The many institutions and organizations within Balboa Park would not be as successful as they are today without the dedication and support of their volunteers. Friends of Balboa Park was founded by a group of volunteers who wanted to help maintain Balboa Park and all its beauty and leave a legacy for future generations. The Friends were inspired to create our annual Inspiration Awards to recognize and honor some of the outstanding volunteers who contribute so much to our park each year. This year’s Inspiration Award honorees are:

Sonya Dolor

Introduced to San Diego Civic Youth Ballet 10 years ago as a parent, Sonya became enthralled with the organization. The desire to give back motivated her to gracefully step into the role of backstage assistant, a key volunteer position, which she has held for seven years. Up to 150 students can be involved in a single production. Some productions have multiple performances (i.e. 10 for “The Nutcracker”). The group produces four shows per year – each one requiring many rehearsals. Sonya, who has a wonderful rapport with the dancers, donates her time and expertise, managing the dancer’s lineups and appearances for the vast majority of the group’s shows and rehearsals and she continues to do so, even though her daughter completed the program years ago.

Carol Hinrichs

Mingei International Museum became a fascinating destination for Carol and the elementary school students she taught. Frequent visits to the small museum during its early years at the UTC location and later to its larger permanent location in Balboa Park, proved to be most inspiring. As an avid traveler who is inspired by world cultures, Carol incorporated the various “art-of-the-people” exhibitions into her student’s social studies program. After a distinguished 30-year career in education, Caro retired – whereupon she enrolled in the 2001-2002 Mingei docent-training program. She joined the docent staff and ultimately became head of the docents. “Remarkable insights and generous use of talent,” remarked Carol of her docent family. Knowledgeable in every aspect of the Museum, Carol was tapped to be a board member. She currently serves as vice-chair of the Mingei’s board of directors.

Noni and Mort Jorgensen

This determined and energetic duo have devoted thousands of hours, spanning three decades, at two of the park’s venerable organizations: San Diego Air & Space Museum and San Diego Zoo Global. As charter members of zoo’s president’s associates and as chairs of its planning committee, the Jorgensen team can be proud — this group boasts 1,600 members and has raised “beau coup” dollars for the zoo. A retired physician and U.S. Naval officer, Mort became a member of the zoo’s events task force in 1986, and then later, he joined the development committee. Meanwhile, Noni, his wife and volunteer partner, spotted the stripes and donned the purr for the Zoo’s Aardvark group, serving as the reservation chair for the past two decades, along with volunteering as a dependable and congenial member of the R.I.T.Z. Committee — the zoo’s annual premier fundraising extravaganza.

Both Noni and Mort have also been ardently engaged serving the San Diego Air & Space Museum. Mort participated as a board member from 2005–2016 and was the initiator of the planning behind the museum’s volunteer policy. Currently, Mort serves on the museum’s scholarship committee and chairs the volunteer self-governing committee. Noni reliably hops on board for many of the museum’s special events.

Michele Trevino

As a legacy volunteer with the House of Pacific Relations (HPR), France — following in the paths of her mother and grandmother, who were House of France founding members — and ably accompanied by friends and family, including her sister, daughters, and nieces, Trevino has been intricately involved at the House of France since she was a child. Volunteer positions include secretary, treasurer, and vice president. All member houses participate in the HPR’s meetings, along with maintaining the tradition of important events, such as Balboa Park’s annual December Nights. Trevino has been and continues to be, an able ambassador for the group. Her crowning moment? She was the group’s very first Queen.

Judy Tweed

Involved with the Spanish Village Art Center (SVAC) for over three decades, Tweed is credited with a broad range of volunteer initiatives; all which provide invaluable assistance to member artists and delight the visiting public. She participates in many activities, geared toward public awareness of the group’s member artists, who create wonderful and unique art. She volunteers for visitors appreciation breakfasts, receptions for the SVAC shows, and organizes Balboa Park-wide art shows, all while serving in various seats of the SVAC board. Her attention to detail is paramount, not only in her jewelry fabrication, but in all she does volunteer-wise. Her keen organizational and people skills are precious – and valuable – to the art center, along with the park as a whole.

Please join the Friends of Balboa Park as we honor these wonderful volunteers at our 16th annual awards luncheon, Tuesday, Oct. 18, at the Balboa Park Club.

We will also be honoring our Millennium Award Winner, the San Diego Zoo, for its 100 years of horticultural beautification of the zoo grounds. A new award, inaugurated this year, the Betty Peabody Emerging Young Leaders of Balboa Park Award, will also be presented. The reception, including an opportunity to meet Animal Ambassadors from the zoo, will be at 11 a.m., followed by lunch and our awards program at noon.

For more information, and to sign up to attend, please visit You may also call our office at 619-232-2282.

—Submitted by Pamela Hartwell and Ann Wilson. Pamela Hartwell is chair of the Friends of Balboa Park Inspiration Awards committee and a long-time park volunteer. Ann Wilson has been a board member of Friends of Balboa Park since 2009.

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