Looking to a Brighter Future in 2021

Co chairs andrea naversen kathryn stephens and maggie watkins

The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary (SAWA) is “Looking to a Brighter Future in 2021,” the theme of its annual Women of Dedication (WOD) presentation and fundraiser scheduled for April 23, 2021. The event honors a dozen extraordinary women – a dynamic and diverse group from throughout San Diego County – for their dedication to our community through volunteerism and service.

The honorees include: Jamie Carr, Lynne Doyle, Jackie Helm, Denise Jackson, Ursula Kuster, Deborah Marengo, Ellen Moxham, Julie Cowan Novak, Esther Rodriguez, Roberta Tidmore, Wendy Urushima-Conn, and Giving Back Magazine’s Danitza Villanueva

Event co-chairs are Maggie Watkins, Kathryn Stephens and Andrea Naversen. Honorary chairs are Jessie Knight Jr. and Joye Blount, a power couple known for their business achievements and philanthropic commitments to The Salvation Army and many other organizations. Joyce Glazer, the philanthropist and longtime publisher, will receive the Peggy Matthews Legacy Award for her decades of community service to The Salvation Army. Sandra Maas serves as emcee and Clint Bell, as auctioneer.

Women of Dedication, initially scheduled for 2020, was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and regulations that prohibited large, in-person gatherings. Once those restrictions are eased this spring, SAWA will proceed with an in-person event at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina. If not, the auxiliary will present an exciting and inspiring virtual event to pay tribute to the honorees and raise funds for The Salvation Army.

Philanthropists Ernest and Evelyn Rady will match donations during a “raise the paddle” at the event to help fund the proposed Rady Center, a mix of housing that will serve 200 homeless men and women and provide a variety of services. Thanks to the Rady’s generosity, another facility recently opened its doors to homeless families. The Rady Residence, located at The Salvation Army’s Door of Hope Rady Campus in Kearny Mesa, provides families with food, shelter, and support services. The brand-new building has 32 apartment homes with one-to-three bedrooms, an activity room, playroom, pantry and offices. The Radys provided a $15 million gift outright and will match every dollar The Salvation Army raises up to $35 million to fund both facilities.

Aiding in this effort is The Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary (SAWA), now headed by President Judy Burer with Past President Rosalie Gerevas serving as an advisor for Women of Dedication. Founded in the 1950s, SAWA supports Salvation Army programs through fundraising, donations, and hands-on volunteer efforts, helping those in crisis to heal, to develop emotionally and spiritually and to learn new skills which promote self-sufficiency and transform lives for the better

That challenge has grown ever greater during the pandemic as The Salvation Army stepped up to provide emergency food and shelter while finding ways to continue traditional services in compliance with government prevention practices. From mid-March to mid-November, the organization provided more than 156,000 meals to seniors, distributed more than 400,000 prepared meals and food boxes, and offered more than 73,000 nights of shelter to the homeless. It has also provided daycare at the Kroc Family Resource Center for hundreds of children whose parents are first responders on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. The Salvation Army’s programs are primarily supported through contributions from individuals, businesses, and family foundations, with 81% of every dollar raised going directly to local programs.

Please join the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary on April 23, 2021 as it looks to a brighter future, honoring twelve dynamic women while raising funds to support our most vulnerable citizens. For more information, contact Pamela Lennen at (619) 881-7353.


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Esteban Villanueva