This year we have four outstanding nominees for Mira Mesa Volunteer of the Year: John Grondona, Jennifer Kvalvik, Richie Ludwick and Susan Sragovicz. The Volunteer of the Year will be selected by a vote of the membership at the December 2 MMTC meeting.
John Grondona – John Grondona has been an active volunteer in Mira Mesa Park and Recreation leagues for over 35 years. In the 1980’s he volunteered to perform maintenance on the 4 fields, including painting and rebuilding the backstops at Mira Mesa. At one time his adult softball program (Softball San Diego) was active at Mira Mesa Recreation Center, Rancho Penasquitos Recreation Center and Hourglass Community Park servicing over 125 teams. He volunteered on the Friends of the Park and Recreation Foundation for many years and helped Mira Mesa sports organizations with a matching funds program that allowed Mira Mesa to enhance many sports fields locations with better facilities. Additionally, he brought the “plant a tree” planting program to our area with the support of the Friends of Park and Recreation Foundation. He helped establish and eventually became Voluntary President of the Bob Barlow Memorial Adult softball tournament which benefited San Diego Parks and Recreation and the San Diego County Softball Umpires Association with at least 10 years of fund raising in the Mira Mesa area. Teams came from Colorado and Nevada and throughout all of California to play in the Labor Day Tournament. He has been a long time active member of the Mira Mesa Recreation Council and he also served as President of the Mira Mesa Sports Council. For several years he worked with the 3 Center Directors helping to bring an annual budget together for the Area. John contributed as a major player in the launching of Hourglass Community Park, a joint use facility with Miramar College which opened in 1998. John brought adult and youth users of the Park together and raised money to maintain the infields of the 4 fields. He also has served on the Hourglass Committee that oversees the joint use of the Park with San Diego Park and Recreation for several years. He is currently on the Mira Mesa Recreation Council 501C3 Board, as their Voluntary Treasurer, which is actively raising funds for Mira Mesa Recreation projects in our Community.
Jennifer Kvalvik – Jennifer Kvalvik is proud to call Mira Mesa her home, where she lives, works and volunteers. Jennifer and her husband, Mark, have lived in Mira Mesa for 33 years. They have 3 grown daughters and 3 grandchildren with 1 on the way. The Kvalvik home has volunteered as a polling site for over 20 years. Jennifer’s early volunteer days focused on education and youth activities: room mom for all 3 daughters every year until high school, then as MMHS parent booster president for 10 years; Girl Scout troop leader for 4 years; and Vice Chair of the Mira Mesa Cluster Schools Council since its inception in 2010 until 2016. She has been involved with the “Taste of Mira Mesa” fundraiser for Mira Mesa schools since its start in 2004, volunteering on planning, set-up, public relations, and coordination of up to 120 silent auction items. Jennifer used to say, “When my kids are older, I’ll get more involved with Mira Mesa Town Council.” She did. Jennifer served on the MMTC Board from 2011 – 2013. During that time she initiated MMTC’s Banner District Committee and continues to serve as its chair and grant writer. Jennifer is also an active member of the Mira Mesa Street Fair Committee. Jennifer served on the San Diego Northeastern Communities Pageant committee working with venue design, promotions and support for the director. For the past 10 years, Jennifer has served as a Guest Relations Technician at San Diego Comic Con, assisting special celebrity guests with their appearances and breakout sessions. Jennifer has worked for 21 years at Mira Mesa High School, where she currently teaches Hospitality and Tourism, as well as Foods and Nutrition. She is the 2020 Senior Class advisor. Jennifer advises the FAN (Food and Nutrition) club, which enables many students as well as herself to volunteer at community and citywide events on a monthly basis, earning students up to 300 hours of community service and always receiving positive feedback for their volunteer efforts. “I can’t imagine my home being anywhere else but Mira Mesa,” says Jennifer.
Richie Ludwick – James Richard Ludwick, is known in the community as “Coach Richie”. A longtime resident of Mira Mesa, Richie moved here with the Ludwick family in 1978 and attended Mira Mesa schools. As an adult, Richie moved away to various places, but always returned home to Mira Mesa. It is here in this community where his passion to volunteer manifested and grew. His volunteer calling began with Mira Mesa Youth Football in 1991, and again in 2005, coaching along with his uncles. During the years 2000-2001 he coached youth basketball at Clairemont Recreation Center alongside his brother, Joey Ludwick. Richie raised his family in Mira Mesa, and when his firstborn son, James, played baseball, 2001 to 2004, at Mira Mesa West Little League, he became a baseball coach. When Richie’s youngest, Jakota, played baseball with the Mira Mesa Youth Baseball League (MMYB) at Camino Ruiz Neighborhood Park, 2008 to 2014, Richie not only participated by coaching his son, but volunteered to coach other teams as well. On more than one occasion, he coached multiple teams at the same time. “He’s so great with the kids” was frequently heard in the stands. In his efforts to help even more, he joined the MMYB Board of Directors. During the years 2010 to 2015, Richie held the position of Field Director for the PONY Baseball organization acting as Tournament Game Director and liaison between PONY Baseball and our community’s youth baseball organization. The MMYB Board position led to the involvement in the Mira Mesa Recreation Council (MMRC), as a general member. Richie rejoined Mira Mesa Little League (MMLL) as a coach in 2015 and is currently the MMLL liaison to the MMRC. Richie joined the Mira Mesa Community Planning Group from 2010 to 2014. Richie joined in 2014 and currently volunteers with the Mira Mesa Town Council – Street Fair Committee by assisting with the street closure and vendors. Most recently, Richie has joined the Mira Mesa Town Council Board of Directors as a Member at Large for 2020. Richie’s volunteer spirit has reached many, many kids, parents, families and the community of Mira Mesa, and will continue for many more years to come!
Susan Sragovicz – For the past seven years Susan Sragovicz has been a Professional Volunteer. She wanted to be part of an active and impactful organization; and found that in Mira Mesa Women’s Club (MMWC). The first project she brought to MMWC was to raise $5000 for a Gift Ark for Heifer International. The Ark includes two water buffalos, two cows, two sheep and two goats, along with bees, chicks, rabbits and more. These animals provide food to families, income, improved health and the ability to send their children to school. They raised $6500 and were able to also purchase water pumps and biogas stoves. With a lifelong commitment to education, Susan has chaired the Mira Mesa Women’s Club Scholarship Committee for five years. They have awarded eleven scholarships to amazing young women graduating from Mira Mesa High School totaling $10,500. They held buncos, bingos and fashion show fundraisers and are very grateful for businesses and individuals who have supported them. For three years, she was a volunteer tutor for Laubach Literacy at the Poway Library tutoring adult ESL students. One was a 70-year old woman who spoke almost no English. Her goal was to become a citizen. It was so exciting for Susan to attend her citizenship ceremony. Currently, she volunteers as an ESL tutor in Mira Mesa. Being editor of MMWC newsletter and doing their Social Media is very rewarding to her. They are used not only to inform members about projects and events; they also serve to build community awareness, attract new members and businesses who become supporters. Through the years, she has been an active member of several MMWC committees including Chalk the Walk, Holiday Showcase, Stand Down for Homeless Vets, Holiday Food Drive, Teacher of the Year, and D6 Night Market. The past seven years have been some of the most meaningful in the life of Susan Sragovicz.