The Volunteer of the Year for 1988 is Dawn Gutierrez. Moving from LA County to Mira Mesa in 1979, Dawn immersed herself in the community almost immediately. As a single mother, she began her career as a volunteer while going through a divorce. Dawn wanted the support and friendship of her community and became a diversified volunteer, spreading herself out, through her work with a variety of activities including many that involved her children.
As a member of the Mira Mesa Junior Women’s Club throughout the 80’s, Dawn credits the non-profit community service club for teaching her leadership, public speaking and the gift of giving back. She served as team mom for several years for her son’s Pee Wee League and was secretary for the League. Dawn was VP/Membership chair for Walker Elementary PTA and served as President of the Walker Day School Parent Association for five years.
Dawn was also volunteering on the MM Clean & Green Committee, MM Loves Kids Day and was her Neighborhood Watch Program’s chairperson for her block.
In 1984, Dawn was awarded the Mira Mesa/Scripps Ranch Woman of Achievement Award and soon found herself becoming involved in two additional committees that changed her life. She became an active volunteer for the Mira Mesa 4th of July Committee and the Mira Mesa Town Council. She went on to work with the 4th of July Committee for over 10 years, serving as President for three of those years. Fundraising was her main responsibility and worked tirelessly with dozens of other volunteers hosting Casino Nights, pancake breakfasts, canister drives and so much more. It was under Dawn’s leadership that the first ever $10,000 firework show was done as it was synchronized with music from one of San Diego’s popular radio stations! “This was a pretty big deal in little ole’ Mira Mesa….and those of you on that committee know who you are and I’m sure you cherish those days as much as I do!”
The MMTC opened Dawn’s eyes to politics and all that that entails. She served as secretary, VP and a two year term as President. She lobbied for the community, helped raise the council’s membership roster, worked with her Councilman, Mayor and Assemblyman to help make Mira Mesa a better place to live. In 1988, when her children were 8 and 10 years old, Dawn was selected as the Mira Mesa Town Council Volunteer of the Year. She went on to volunteer another eight years and to this day feels like the 20 years she spent volunteering and living and loving in Mira Mesa were the best years of her life.
After the amazing Town Council dinner in her honor, she is quoted as saying, “It’s the friendship that I have gained. Mira Mesa is unlike any other community in San Diego, it is a circle of people who really care about each other. Every time I join a new committee I meet a new friend. It’s like a big family, my extended family; it’s so supportive and encouraging. I’ve received so much more than I’ve ever given, volunteering brings me joy”!