La Jolla Movers And Shakers
Continuing this feature from last month into La Jolla, here are a few individuals who give of their time and talents to help ensure that this jewel by the sea continues to flourish as a wonderful place in which to live or visit.
Nearly 12 years ago, Sherry Ahern was rooting around for a way to fund a library at La Jolla Elementary, her children’s school. Why not start a farmers’ market, she thought, as a way to raise money, provide fresh produce, and bring the community together? “Little did I know it would be such an undertaking,” she recalls, referring to the red tape and politics she had to cut through. But her seed of an idea took hold. The Open Aire Market, held at the school every Sunday from 9am-1pm, has grown from 14 farmers to more than 150 farmers, artisans, and vendors, with a food court, live music, even valet parking. The market raises about $200,000, paying for art and music programs, part-time teachers, computers, and field trips. Even though her own kids left the school long ago, Ahern and her team are still involved because of the shortfall in state funding. She has since founded the La Jolla Art and Wine Festival to raise money for all three La Jolla elementary schools. This year’s juried show on October 9-10 also features a beer and wine garden and live music. ANDREA NAVERSEN
Jon Sundt is founder and CEO of La Jolla-based Altegris Investments and leads a team of more than 60 professionals dedicated to providing investors access to some of the world’s leading alternative investment managers. He is an active member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO), currently serving as treasurer, and is also a member of Vistage. As a husband, father, and avid surfer, Sundt also supports the UCSD Recreation Department and is an “unofficial caretaker” of Black’s Beach and the crew that surfs there. Whenever possible, he makes time to speak directly to local youth, most recently connecting with young surfers at the La Jolla Shores Surfing Association’s Annual Menehune Contest and later to students at the Gillispie School in La Jolla. Sundt is also founder and president of the La Jolla-based Sundt Memorial Foundation. The national nonprofit’s mission is to “influence the hearts and minds of kids by inspiring them to live their natural high and reject drugs.” The Sundt Memorial Foundation’s 2010 Sunset Splash Annual Gala takes place Friday, October 22, at the Scripps Seaside Forum. MIA STEFANKO
A 30-year La Jolla resident and business owner, Deborah Marengo of Marengo Morton Architects has been a community volunteer for more than 16 years with the La Jolla Business Improvement District (of which she was also president for six years). Marengo stepped in to save the La Jolla Cove fireworks two years ago when George Hauer from George’s at the Cove could not fund the event. She began a grassroots effort to raise money to sponsor the event, and contributions came in from many local La Jolla families and business owners. The overwhelming support from the community soon led to the La Jolla Community Fireworks Foundation (LJCFF), which was formed to promote patriotism and community spirit by preserving the annual Fourth of July observance for the community of La Jolla and the citizens of San Diego County through the presentation of the fireworks display and concert. Marengo is currently the director of the volunteer-driven organization. In its second year of sponsoring the event, a lawsuit was filed against LJCFF and the City of San Diego due to environmental concerns in an attempt to stop the patriotic display from continuing at La Jolla. In the end, the show went on with nearly 20,000 people in attendance. JANE SHIOMI