Kiwanis salute La Jollan Sherry Ahern for years of commmunity service

Sherry Ahern with her award from the La Jolla Kiwanis Club. Courtesy
Sherry Ahern with her award from the La Jolla Kiwanis Club. Courtesy

— Nancy Walters

photo
Sherry Ahern with her award from the La Jolla Kiwanis Club. Courtesy

La Jolla Kiwanis Club recently honored volunter Sherry Ahern, first vice-president of the La Jolla Community Center, with its 2013 Service Award.

“Sherry’s energy and passion for helping others is an inspiration to all of us,” said Ruth Yansick, Community Center Board CEO. “Her enthusiasm is only matched by her incredible energy.”

Chartered in 1925, La Jolla Kiwanis Club raises more than $200,000 annually through the La Jolla Half Marathon and other benefits, which it dispenses to many charities, most youth-oriented. The group meets Fridays for lunch at La Jolla Presbyterian Church.

Ahern was born in Detroit and moved with her family to San Diego in 1960. She attended San Diego State University where she majored in political science. She met her husband, Kevin, in La Jolla in 1985, where they have lived and raised their children, Brianna and Brendan.

Ahern’s credo of community service dates back to age 10, when she said she enlisted her friends to put on shows at the Hebrew Home for the Aged, where her grandmother, Alice, was a resident.

She was a full-time volunteer for the Helen Woodward Animal Center for 10 years. With her foundation she created The Fling, its yearly gala, where she became the head of underwriting. This gala has raised millions of dollars and continues to succeed.

Ahern joined the board of Friends of La Jolla Elementary (the non-profit foundation of the school) 21 years ago. Most notably, she established the La Jolla Open Aire Farmers Market in 1998, which has grown to be the largest in San Diego County, and has raised more than $2 million for programs at the school.

Upon learning her son had diabetes, Ahern joined the development board of the Whittier Institute for Diabetes. For the next 10 years, she was the auction chair for its fundraiser, working to raise money for research toward the cure of type 1 diabetes. She and her husband are on the board of the Pediatric Diabetes Research Center, and the Diabetes Research Center.

In 2001, Ahern was elected a La Jolla Town Council trustee, where she served the community for three years.

In 2008, she joined the founding board of the La Jolla Community Center and helped create the first adult center in the area. Also in 2008, she founded the La Jolla Art & Wine Festival, a juried art show in downtown La Jolla with all proceeds going to La Jolla Elementary, Bird Rock Elementary, Torrey Pines Elementary and Muirlands Middle schools.

In April 2012, she was honored with City of Hope’s Mother of the Year Award. On March 8, Ahern and fellow La Jollan, Kathryn Stephens, received the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary Women of Dedication Award.

Ahern joined the board of Friends of La Jolla Elementary (the non-profit foundation of the school) 21 years ago. Most notably, she established the La Jolla Open Aire Farmers Market in 1998, which has grown to be the largest in San Diego County, and has raised more than $2 million for programs at the school.

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